The first week after having my first little babe was amazing – but it was also incredibly challenging.
I finally had my baby with me, I could see her sweet smiles and feel her weight on my chest. I got to see my husband with his little girl and I felt we were bonded in a new way over our intense love for her.
I had a new appreciation for him because of everything he did for us while I felt like a half-zombie, half-milk-distributor (but also a MOM to the sweetest angel!)
Right after she was born I was definitely on an adrenaline high. I was ecstatic to have my baby and I wanted to share her with everyone. I wanted to soak her up as much as I could and I was just plain excited.
We had lots of visitors and hung out with our families and because I’m a complete extrovert I couldn’t say no to being with people and sharing my baby.
I was waddling around like a penguin because I was sore, but I was SO happy.
I was out when she was a couple days old and our friend who is a doctor came up to me and asked, “What are you doing here! You need to rest and stay in bed for a week. You will heal so much better and it will be so much better for your body.”
Honestly I just kind of laughed and told her I would try.
The next day, it was like everything came crashing down. I didn’t have anymore adrenaline to run off of and I felt exhausted to my bones. I was in so much pain. I couldn’t sit up and moving even tiny amounts was painful.
I felt completely unable to cope with the obstacles that came up with breastfeeding challenges and an infection, mastitis that made me feel like I had the flu, her sleep, and her not gaining her birth week back by two weeks. I just felt so sleep deprived and so emotional with all the crazy hormones.
I just couldn’t believe what an extreme change it was from my life before. The cycle of breastfeeding, sleeping (or eating or showering) in between, and then doing it again – but never actually sleeping long enough to feel rested.
I felt like my whole existence consisted only of satisfying my basic needs and feeding Rose. I remember crying to my mom one day while she hugged me, “I didn’t know it would be this hard.”
I had joyful moments too, and I truly felt so happy to have my little Rose with me. I really struggled in the first week, though.
So remember, this was only the first week! THAT is what I wish I knew. That this extreme state is so, so temporary. It gets better, it gets easier, and you get out, feel normal, and enjoy life outside your bedroom again.
In my hormonal, emotional, sleep deprived state I honestly thought this was my life now – forever.
So if I could go back, I would tell myself – it gets way easier, it all changes so quickly. You will have free time again. You’ll still do fun things! You’ll feel able to really enjoy your baby.
My experience (and every experience is super different) was that after that first week, it was uphill from there. Even by two weeks I was feeling so much more normal and was able to enjoy Rose so much more.
I definitely don’t want to scare you if you’re a new mom – I want to let you know that your challenges are normal and that you should have hope.
I think it helps a lot to know that this time of a ton of feeding, figuring out breastfeeding, obstacles, healing, lack of sleep, and hormone changes is all very temporary. I think my perspective that this was just the way motherhood was, was so discouraging!
As hard as the first week was, I still look back at it really fondly. I was going through that all for my baby, and I loved her so intensely.
There were moments like Rose sleeping on my chest in the middle of the night. The realization hitting me that I’m her mom. Hearing my heartbeat was her safest place.
When I had my second, I went about everything so differently.
I went in with completely different expectations, I slept and stayed in bed to heal as much as possible and only went out when it was completely necessary. I guarded my rest time.
This has a lot of factors playing into it, but the first week postpartum with my second was insanely different – honestly, insanely easier – than it was with my first baby.
I embraced how temporary it was to the point that I couldn’t cuddle her enough, I knew how quickly she would change. People told me that with with my first (“Enjoy the newborn stage, it goes by so quickly!”) and honestly I just couldn’t grasp that. I did appreciate, snuggle, love and enjoy her – but it didn’t seem to be flying by at the time. I was really able to understand that phrase with my second though.
Just know that the challenges you are going through are normal. You are doing amazing because you are doing your best, you’re exactly who your baby needs even if you don’t always feel capable. And things truly do get easier.
Now speaking of newborns, I wanted to share the rest of this BEAUTIFUL family’s newborn session with you.
I came to their home and they welcomed me in, and I had so much fun capturing the adoration they had for their new baby and all his little details.
Capturing their love felt so effortless because it just radiated from them, I left the session so refreshed with so much joy (and maybe some baby fever haha… look at that cutie!).
Okay, so now you see why I had total baby fever after spending an hour with this little guy!
And one last thing, the way Emma styled her home had me going home and creating a ton of Pinterest boards to change up our space – seriously her home was beautiful!
So grateful to be able to capture fresh little babies and new families.