Last night, as I lay in bed eating gummi bears while watching Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, exhausted beyond belief and wondering when Tiny Boss #2 would wake up next for a feed, I had to remind myself: this, too, shall pass.
There are a lot of things I forgot about having a newborn.
Those first few weeks can truly be the most exhausting, the most challenging, the most painful and the most terrifying as you think to yourself how your world has been turned on its head and will never be the same again.
Repeat after me, mama: this, too, shall pass.
Last night, I spent two hours solely dedicated to trying to settle my fussy 20-day-old, while her father got her almost two-year-old sister ready for bed. I envied his task a little; its predictability, its dependable routine, its lack of screams and cries, and lack of moments of self-doubt and desperation. Those moments of “what do you want me to do?!” as you try and figure out what this little person needs from you.
I had to put my newborn down in her Moses basket and take a quick shower (also known between my mama friends and I as “Mommy Time-Out”) because I started to feel a little too overwhelmed. Her father swooped in while I was in the shower, picked her up and patted her for two minutes, and she was fast asleep.
I had to take a deep breath and remind myself: this, too, shall pass.
Those endless nights of wake-ups you lose count of, marathon nursing sessions, endless diaper changes and outfit changes, spit-up, bedsheet overhauls, patting, shushing, settling: they will pass.
That tiny baby that only wants to be held, bounced or rocked in order to fall asleep; that searing pain between your shoulder blades from bouncing on the Swiss ball in the hope that those alert little eyes will start to close drowsily; it will pass.
That excruciating pain you felt shortly after delivery, just when you thought your recovery was going swimmingly, that debilitating pain that made you think that something was seriously wrong, made you question whether you were ever going to feel like yourself again: it, too, shall pass.
I’ve forgotten how you really do have to drop everything sometimes when you have a newborn.
Like dishes, mid-rinse.
Your shower, mid-shampoo.
Getting dressed, eating a meal (I swear all kids have a sixth sense that tells them when their mother is about to eat anything), writing a blog post (ha-ha), you name it.
You start to wonder whether you will ever have any time to yourself, or whether you’ll ever be able to complete a task from start to finish.
This, too, shall pass.
And then there is that 5.30am nursing session. Everyone is still asleep except you and your new baby. There’s a small crack in the curtains and the faintest of dawn lights filters through. It dances across those soft, perfect cheeks. It flickers across those open, eager eyes. In that moment, the world stops and it’s just you and your baby. You somehow fall in love with each other even more. You stare at her and wonder whether this is going to be the moment she’ll give you her first real smile.
These moments, too, shall pass.
There’s that nursing session which you genuinely think will never end. You finally put your baby up on your shoulder to burp her and feel her tiny body melt into your arms. You feel every part of that delicate little body collapse peacefully onto yours, and you feel her short, quick, warm breaths on your neck. She’s asleep. She’s content. All she wants is to lay on your chest, and be close to the heartbeat that guided her through those nine months.
This, too, shall pass.
Your ability to be the person that can provide that baby with everything they need – whether they’re hungry, tired, scared, lonely; it will pass. There will come a point where you won’t be their everything, the centre of their universe.
It will pass.
I can smugly say this because I’ve done it once before, mama. The difficult parts of new motherhood, the incomprehensible emotions, the sleep deprivation, the physical pain, the lack of freedom and independence – I promise you, they will pass.
But I also know that those fleeting moments – those irreplaceable, perfect moments when you truly feel like this baby has made you a mother, to the point that you feel like your souls are perfectly in sync, and you are everything your baby needs – they will also pass. They don’t disappear, but they will change. There is something special in the way a mother and her baby fall in love with each other, whether it’s from that first moment you meet or later down the track.
Just a few weeks ago, my toddler fell asleep as she lay her head on my chest while we were sitting in the living room. I realised in that moment that she hadn’t done that in so long, and that I missed it. There was a time when I desperately wished she would stop needing to fall asleep on me, and you know what? It happened.
It passes. It changes. And you will miss it.
So I’m telling myself to bask in these moments with a little more patience, a little more appreciation, because history has shown me how something you once think is the impossible, becomes something you wish never went away.
This post originally appeared on The Tuna Chronicles.
Rasha is a lawyer-turned-writer and mother of two toddlers who hasn’t slept since 2014. She has been featured on the Huffington Post, Love What Matters, Scary Mommy, Motherly, Parent.co and Her View From Home. Rasha writes about all things motherhood on her blog The Tuna Chronicles. You can also find her on Facebook.