New Mama Affirmations

Monday, February 11, 2013

This early stretch of having a new baby is TOUGH. 
I feel like last time, with colicky Lucy, it all took me by horrible surprise. I was so ready to have her, so excited to be a mama again, I simply wasn't prepared for the challenge of taking care of a new little being 110% of the time.  I didn't remember how much even the best babies need their parents' hands and attention and energy. Therefore, I feel like the transition was extremely hard, emotionally. I literally grieved for a time.

This time it's.......

Still hard. Heh.

 I feel like I didn't come into this one unprepared. I don't feel blindsided this time. And because of that, I could tell by my first few days home with Quinn that I was gonna need some pep talks. Some reminders to myself that not only was the hard stuff going to only last a (relatively) short time, but that all of the work and stress would be worth it. And that even in the middle, there would be pockets of beauty.

I knew that even if my wise inner voice remembered these truths, my over-emotional outer self would need frequent reminding. So I took time one evening to ponder the advice I wanted to give myself, and ended up with a short list of "affirmations", or mantras. Quick reminders I could whisper to myself in the thick of it to talk myself down from the ledge. 

I tell you what--- there are definitely still several moments where even these don't cut through the anxiety or frustration of new parenting... but there are also several times I've actually made it through more intact and more positive because one of these affirmations calmed me down.

So in the plentiful moments I'm sitting and nursing the bebe, I designed and cobbled together some of my digital scrap supplies and favorite fonts and made them into "posters". I think I'll print them as 8x10s and get them up on my dining room wall ASAP (it's the hub of our home, the Command Center, if you will. They'll definitely get seen daily here.) 

And my thought is, perhaps someone out there will benefit from one or two of these affirmations.  So if you like some of these, click on them and you can download the web-sized version to put on your own blog or Pinterest or Facebook or whatever. It never hurts to put more positive energy out into the world! 

So here, my quick little "posters", along with a quick explanation why I need that specific phrase these days:


  photo wcherishnewborns_zpsfdafea1b.jpg 

 "There is nothing quite like a newborn."-- I wrote this one first. Because above anything else, I spend my days holding this little one. Holding him to nurse, holding him to soothe him... holding him to get him deeper asleep. And I know, I KNOW that the time they are this small is so brief, and that a tiny little new baby is so amazing... So many of us would love nothing more than to get an hour to snuggle a new baby. Even if the last thing you want is a baby of your own. Most of us would love to HOLD one. So I remind myself of this every day. That he won't be this tiny for long, and he is rare and special and this is a gift--- a treat. A blessing. When else in my life do I have permission to let the dishes and laundry wait and just hold the baby a bit more? I'm working on remembering to cherish it.


  photo wgoodmoment_zpsd79f7124.jpg 

Close behind that first one, this one plays in my head a lot. "There will be another good moment soon." Luckily, though Quinn has proven to be a bit intense like his siblings, he has also proven to be pretty predictable. We can get him happy pretty quickly. Because of this, when we're in the thick of one of his crying jags, I remind myself constantly that sooner than later we'll have some good moments again. Baby will be sleeping so we can admire his sweet face again... or he'll be calm and eating and we can relax and enjoy the antics of our other two kids for a little while... Or one of us will take over so the other one can get a hot shower or a meal or a nap--- a priceless break. Good moments are abundant--- we just have to wade through the rough spots to get to them. But they DO come. 


  photo wseizethemoment_zps9ecda352.jpg 

Oh this one is quickly becoming a favorite: I am finding that when Quinn gives us a longer nap than expected, it's amazing how much I can get done. And I DO. I am seizing those moments and putting a load of laundry in, or letting Noah help me make cookies, or grabbing a quick nap of my own.... Even decluttering little corners of my house that have begun to drive me NUTS since I'm home 95% of the time and looking at that crap all day long. I tell you--- seizing the moments when they happen has been SO good for my soul. 

And then that second part--- even more important than the first. If I'd had something planned and the baby decides to cry and stay awake instead, I am getting better at LETTING IT GO. And then referring back to Affirmation #2. ("There will be another good moment soon.") Because there WILL be. 


  photo wletgocontrol_zpsd0f6943e.jpg 

Oh boy. "Let go the illusion of control." Really. It's just going to be easier if I stop thinking I'm in charge here. Let go, let go, let go. It will be okay. This is hard for me. But I mutter it to myself often and hope it sinks in someday.


  photo wkeepgoing_zps51f7c923.jpg

And yes...nothing deep or wise here... but sometime we just need to be our own cheerleader. I need to tell myself: "KEEP GOING. This is going to get better. At times it's already awesome. And YOU CAN DO THIS. You ARE doing it. Daily. Some days better than others... but you are doing it. Kids are all getting fed and hugged. That's enough."


So there they are. My lifelines, reminders to myself to find the good in each day, in between the rough transitions and newness and uncertainty of it all. It not only gets easier, we get stronger, and it gets more "normal", and one day we'll realize we've not needed the pep talks for weeks now.

Til then, you'll find me in my dining room, swaddling and shushing the crying baby with a not-quite-2-year-old clamoring to get on my lap too, the 5-year-old asking me to play Transformers with him for the 13th time, and I'll be staring like crazy at those 5 posters, finding some kind of ZEN in them..... Or at least the promise of zen-to-come. There will be another good moment soon.


  1. You are so brilliant and creative to have these around. My therapists and case workers are very quick to point out the benefits of "self talk" as a positive coping skill. My psychiatrist even told me once of the benefits of writing myself notes like these, but he encouraged me to move them around every few days so they don't become part of the background. I am proud of you!! You are doing GREAT!!!

  2. Brilliant! I need to do #4 - need to do it now. And I missed out on #1 - mostly because of #4 - now that Max is almost 4 months I am trying to enjoy every moment because I know I lost so many in the beginning due to so many silly things that were all in my head. Love your blog - love your work!


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