It gets better. It gets so much better. I promise.
I know it hurts. I know you thought the biggest pain was over with labor and I know you’re wondering how long this will last, how much more you can take. I remember those long nursing sessions, whispering to your baby through steady tears that you love him, even in so much pain you love him. I promise the tears will stop. Breastfeeding might not get any easier, but its okay to pump. You will still bond with your baby. He’ll still love you and your milk when it comes from a bottle. 10 weeks in he’ll be growing just fine. He’ll be so big for a moment you’ll wish he was small again, but just for a moment.
This isn’t the same hurting everyone told you about, in four days it won’t get better, and that cream won’t help. Don’t feel like a wimp, because you aren’t.
In a month you’ll be able to hold your baby after feeding him without searing pain and you’ll be able to wear clothes. You’ll be sore and healing for awhile but it gets better, so much better.
The nights are hard but don’t be scared of them. I know you’re so worried, so anxious, and so, so tired. There will always be enough milk and in just a few more weeks you’ll be sleeping for many more hours at a time. Don’t be afraid to wake up Ben; you don’t need to be alone in this. If you get the drop-in bottles right away you’ll avoid those four nights of sleepless hell, but you won’t, and you’ll survive.
Don’t feel guilty about leaving guests alone so you can nap. Don’t feel guilty about leaving your baby with guests so you can nap. Just don’t bother feeling guilty about anything.
In two months you will love being a mom. You will understand how people have more than one child, and you’ll even be able to think about a family bigger than three. You may still not understand people saying the first weeks are the best of their life, but you’ll have gotten through them with a beautiful baby and wonderful husband you love more and more each day. Pretty soon you’ll be laughing with both of them as Lincoln smiles and gurgles.
The only thing you’ll miss about these early days is how light your baby is. But his fifteen pounds means he’ll be sleeping eleven hours a night by ten weeks so don’t complain.
Remember that his cries are a form of communication, not a judgement on you. Even when he’s crying, you are doing great. Even on your worst days, this little guy is one of the lucky ones. He has two parents who prayed him here, who love him, who sacrifice for him, and who are doing the best they can. That is enough.
In a few weeks he’ll smile at you and you will feel so validated. And then he’ll smile at Ben and your heart will melt. Be gentle with your husband because he is trying too.
Motherhood is as wonderful as you thought it would be, it will just take you a little while to find your rhythm and to recover. Soon you’ll have far more tears of joy than hurt and exhaustion. Soon feeding him won’t be something you have to dread. Soon the nights wont be so scary and you’ll look forward to long stretches of sleep. You’ll even miss your baby then, and feel a bit silly about it.
Continue to be gentle with your body after these first few weeks. It grew a baby. It birthed a baby. And it continues to nourish a baby. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in shape again and your clothes to fit, but don’t be frustrated. Just be patient. In comparison to this baby thing, getting in shape is easy.
Remember to rely on the Lord. The extra patience and kindness He will bless you with over the next few months will amaze you. You need the guidance He gives more than ever and the comfort you’ll find in the scriptures and in song will make all the difference.
Just hang in there, okay? You will love it soon. Lincoln will still cry and sometimes you’ll just want to wear ear plugs, but it becomes a joy you’ve yet to experience. It turns into something that makes it all worthwhile. Motherhood is beautiful – just hang in there.
**There was joy in those first few weeks. There was laughter. There was amazement. Some of my happiest moments up until then were in those first few weeks (now the happiest moments are more recent). But those first weeks were also the hardest of my life, and some of the darkest. I have never been so scared, so pained, or so exhausted. I can attribute most all of it to a horrible experience with breastfeeding, a tongue tied baby with a poor latch, and an attempt to work through it for five long weeks. It is something I’d go through all over again if I had to for this little boy, but not something I will say I miss. For me, motherhood continues to get better. Each week my body heals a bit more. Each week I learn a bit more. Each week I fall more in love with being Lincoln’s mom.
Photos from this past week & Linc at six weeks, respectively.