As a new mother, I had a knack for giving the impression that I didn’t need help.
My village lives on the other side of the globe, so it was borne out of necessity, but I wonder if it was more than that. As new (or not so new) mothers, I wonder if we feel as though we’re letting ourselves down if we show that we’re vulnerable. Are we falling short if we admit that we simply can’t do this alone?
That we have one hairy leg because our survival strategies have devolved into shaving one leg one day, and the other the next. And we forgot the second leg…for a week. That we eat breakfast for dinner on a semi-regular basis. And that if one more well-meaning person tells us (as if we’ve forgotten) that we really need to take care of ourselves, we’ll scream.
Because, before becoming mothers we were used to feeling productive. To meeting deadlines. To getting the job done and feeling like a valued team member.
But motherhood shatters that reality. And although it’s bittersweet, thank goodness it does. It softens us. Slows us down. Stops the treadmill of a results driven society, forcing us to reassess what we truly value in this one short life of ours. As parents, we need to redefine success in the context of a journey, with a destination we will never see.
Hospitals are taking premature infants out of isolated incubators and into rooms where they can have close contact with their parents.
Hospitals are rethinking the way they care for premature babies.
The traditional neonatal intensive-care unit puts preterm babies—those born before 37 weeks—into incubators in a room with six to eight other infants. But hospitals are starting to realize that premature infants benefit from close physical contact with their parents.
One of the latest NICUs, in Beacon Children’s Hospital of South Bend, Ind., was designed around this idea. There, families can stay together for weeks or months in private rooms that facilitate skin-to-skin contact—also known as kangaroo care—between parent and baby.
(click to read the entire article on mothering.com)
If we spend time thinking about it (which we often don’t), most of us believe we’ll transition into motherhood easily. I’m sure lots of women have no problems in those early heady days of being a first time mom. But I’d also be willing to bet that even the moms who look like they were born to smile at their babies (and manage to find time to take a shower) have ups and downs at the beginning.
With the vantage of hindsight, a lot of parents confess that the early days of life with a new baby were hard. Many moms I’ve talked to over the years have had trouble bonding with their babies, a process they assumed would be natural and easy. (I’ve written about my difficulties bonding with my second born here.)
(click link above to see some amazing photos of ALL types of labors and births…)
Oh, my heart…
No matter how a baby’s birth unfolds ― whether it’s a first-time mom having a C-section, or a third-time mother fighting through a labor that lasts two full days ― childbirth is hard and it is messy.
But in between all the, well, laboring are moments of love. Love between partners, love between families and doctors, doulas and midwives, an)d that very special love when parents and babies lock eyes for the very first time.
Here, talented birth photographers share photos they’ve captured that celebrate those moments of pure joy and connection in childbirth.
A few of my friends had new babies this spring, and while looking into their wide, shell-shocked eyes, I remember what it’s like to have a wriggly tiny life in your arms. Everything seems chaotic and hazy and wonderful and exhausting. Here’s what I’d tell those new mothers…
First off, the first thing I would say — which is 10,000% true — is, IT GETS EASIER.
A reader left the loveliest comment years ago: “Bless you, new moms. If you’re trying, you’re doing a great job.”
Here are a few posts that may help during the first year:
7. 8 questions to ask a new babysitter. Friends have sometimes lamented that they can’t leave their baby with a stranger. But this person is only a stranger until you meet them. At least in our experience, a nanny will soon feel like a beloved new member of the family.
Pregnancy can be a confusing and even tough time for expectant dads. There’s so much mixed emotion – they’re a melting pot of excitement, nerves, love, hopes, dreams and fears. Yet most often, there are too few opportunities for dads to channel this energy into meaningful action that helps them feel involved during pregnancy. Many report being on the fringe of their experience, feeling unimportant, lost and left to figure it all out in isolation.
In my professional experience as an expectant and new dad specialist, expectant dads are hungry for more opportunities to be more involved during pregnancy. They want it to feel more ‘real’, to feel more connected to their pregnant partner and her experience, to their baby and to their becoming dad journey and themselves as a dad.
Dads know it’s an important time – for them, their partner, their relationship and family – and have a sense that there is more to it than they are aware. They just don’t know what they can or should do to change their experience – and it’s not their fault. We should be doing MUCH more to prepare dads for fatherhood and birth than we are!