Because of my vocation as a childbirth educator, a homeschooling mom, and just overall professional mom cheerleader, my circle is overflowing with new moms. I love holding their squishy babies and seeing the glow on their faces. The first days and weeks of motherhood are filled with excited faces, congratulations, baby gifts, delivered meals, and baby snuggles. The vast ocean we call parenting beckons another woman.
As exciting as this new season is for a mom (and dad), I have learned to take a moment to look beyond the exciting exterior into the heart of a woman going through one of the most life changing events of her life.
Many times, a longer look at her unearths deep emotions unseen by those around her.
The new mom is learning by trial and error how to parent. Major hormonal and chemical changes are taking place in her body. Her marriage or relationship has changed, and her marketplace vocation, ministry, or education may have been put on hold or laid down completely. Her friendships are changing. She may not go outside that often. She may not take a shower every day. Her legs are probably not shaved, and her teeth may be dirty. Change is everywhere around her.
Sometimes the change is exciting and exhilarating. Other times, she finds herself in the corner of her baby’s nursery in tears. She might perceive that her husband thinks she is a little loopy and that her single friends think she is boring. She may not know what to think of herself. This is survival mode.
Don’t get me wrong, inviting a baby into the home is a blessing and a gift. Many women who are blessed with great a support team transition into it very well. BUT, for any new mom, the “postpartum blues” is extremely normal. Life is not always butterflies and roses. Life with a new baby is hard. Sometimes, the fresh shower before work mocks her and intimate time with her husband becomes a sweet memory. She might not enjoy EVERYTHING about being a new mom EVERY day and that is OK. It does not mean she loves her baby any less.
We have to extend grace to ourselves and new moms to have the bad days and even hard seasons. Normal postpartum blues EASILY and QUICKLY turns into postpartum depression when grace is not extended AND received. Honestly, there are thousands of cases of postpartum depression that go undiagnosed. I meet these sweet women all the time. Guilt becomes their companion, and isolation becomes their daily trend.
Because I love new moms, and I just recently spent some time with a sweet mom carrying big tear bags in her eyes, I am going to speak up for them for a moment.
If you know a new mother, you need to know a few things she just might need from you.
I so often see those big tears barrel down another mom’s cheeks. “Is it normal to feel this way?,” she asks. Let’s not forget the new mom. Squeeze those baby cheeks and look into her eyes.
Moms, “YOU ARE AMAZING AND YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.”