There is so much anticipation about bringing a baby into the world and when that day comes I think we all feel a little overwhelmed with love and with the brevity of what is ahead of us. The moment I brought her home I was awestruck by the fact that D and I made her, that we brought her into this world and will raise her up to be a woman of God. I prepared my heart as best as I could. But there is a reality about having a baby. When you bring them home it is all up to you all of a sudden and there is so much you can’t actually prepare for. You can buy all the latest gadgets, wash and dry the clothes, set up the nursery and prepare all the diapers. I did all of those things so well, but what you can’t prepare for is the day-to-day.
I have taken the first 3 months in stride. I would say that there was never a day when I felt completely overwhelmed or lost but I am also constantly wondering if I am doing it all right. When you bring your baby home they actually do give you a ‘manual’ about how to care for yourself and your baby after child-birth (or at least my hospital did). But honestly it only has the basics, how to breastfeed, how to swaddle, how to care for your body etc. It wasn’t until a few weeks in that I started to wonder what about all of the rest of it? What about the details of the day-to-day? These are the things mamas don’t really talk about. It is like you are supposed to know by instinct or something…
How many hours a day should she be sleeping?
How much crying is normal?
How long should she eat at each feeding?
When should I put her down to bed at night?
When should she get up in the morning?
How often do I bathe her?
How much tummy time is too much? How much is too little?
How do you play with a newborn?
Am I not stimulating her enough? Am I stimulating her too much?
These questions run though my head on a daily basis, and to be perfectly honest I have googled most of them as well (it is amazing what you can learn by googling these days, I don’t know how my mom survived without it). I haven’t ever called the doctor or even my mom with urgent questions. I am a pretty self-sufficient person and I am a researcher but I do wonder daily if I am doing it right. There are so many opinions out there about each of these questions and how do you know which is the right one?
I realize it comes down to each individual person and each baby. A blogger friend told me recently that the best advice she was given is that “you don’t need to be an expert on all babies, just your baby.” I think that is so true, but it doesn’t take away the insecurity of being a new mama. It is probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do; it is also the most important thing. And I am still not really sure if I am doing it right, but I am just going to keep on plugging away at each day I am given with her and Pray that I am making the right choices. And what about the days I don’t make the right choices? Well that is what grace is for.