It has been over 3 years since I brought home my last newborn and I have had the experience of doing this little rite of passage 5 times. Every baby was different and every baby taught me a little bit about parenting and motherhood. Looking back there are things that I wished I knew when I bought my newborn home.
Bringing home your newborn should be the most exciting and best remembered events. With a few of my babies it truly was amazing! However, with some of my babies it was painful, stressful and I looked back wishing I had known a few extra pieces of advice.
The announcement that you are heading home often is a signal for every family member and friend to pop by! The first day I was so excited to show my new baby off because he was perfect! I wanted everyone to see the miracle we had brought to the world! By day 4 the flood of well wishers had not slowed down and exhaustion had hit full force. I didn’t want to tell anyone no but all I wanted was a nap, uninterrupted.
My mother gave me the best advice, hide. Lock the door, go to your room or go to someone else house, where you can rest and sleep when needed. Turn the phone off. I didn’t want to be rude but I wished I had known my limits before.
With the arrival of every new baby I wished I had asked for the help that was being offered. I didn’t want anyone to see the unwashed dishes or the laundry. Trying to give attention to the big siblings and care for a newborn and greet company was overwhelming. With my last baby, I did reach out and asked people to take the toddler out for a couple of hours and I was ready when someone said, ‘Can I help you with something?’ Why yes! The dishes, laundry or cooking! Please pick one! Those were the greatest gifts! I stopped being embarrassed that I wasn’t this Superwoman who could care for a new baby, deal with the injured post-partum body, run on 2 hours of broken sleep while keeping my house in perfect order. No, I was human, tired, sore and overwhelmed. Accepting the offers of housework and prepped meals felt amazing. I also learned people felt good being able to help and do something.
With my first baby I planned the going home outfits for him and I (still in maternity clothes) and I was thrilled about the blue balloons tied to the front door to announce to the neighborhood that he had arrived (pre-Facebook days!). What I didn’t plan well was the self care. Healing took weeks longer then it should have and if I had only taken the time for me, I know I would have felt better, sooner.
When my 5th baby came home, I was ready. I had a plan for self care for a c-section and a natural delivery. Pain meds, sprays, Tuck pads and creams. I made time for sitz baths and forced myself to nap (I am not a napper). I made sure that we had good meals pre-made and frozen, groceries were bought. My healing was quicker due to the diligent care I took of my self.
Those first few days and weeks flew by in a blur of exhaustion, confusion and wonder. Amazed that we had this perfect little person who would change the course of our life.
I hope these insights from my experience can possibly help another mother!