When my son was born, I shed the happy tears, took all the pictures, and reveled in his “new human” scent. Family and friends drifted in and out of our hospital room, marveling at our new little man. I struggled through the first couple days of nursing, asked all the questions as he would come and go for standard newborn tests, and pushed through the post c-section pain to hold my sweet angel. All things considered, I thought I’m rocking this.
But the day we brought his tiny body home with us, along came a giant cloud of new mom anxiety. It came on so quickly, I couldn’t see it. The very day we arrived home, I can distinctly remember hearing a sad song and just losing it. I quickly realized I couldn’t be exposed to anything even remotely emotional or intense without being pushed over the hormonal edge. Feeling emotional turned into feeling overwhelmed, helpless, frazzled. I lost my appetite, and couldn’t sleep even when my loving husband took over so I could try to regroup. I turned away friends who had planned to visit the baby. It got to the point that a simple, “How’s it going?” over the phone was too much to take.
Because it wasn’t going well. I was drowning.
Then, just like that, my mom swooped in.
Without being asked, without a single shred of judgement, without the slightest hesitation… she saw her little girl shattered into fragments of her once-confident self and stepped up. She came to visit on a weekday morning, when my husband had gone back to work. What she found that day was a shell-shocked new mom, unshowered, exhausted, riddled with anxiety and out of touch with how serious the situation had gotten. I’ll never forget the way she sprung into action. She floated through the living room like a fairy godmother, opening the blinds so I could remember what sunshine was like. She got me up and pushed me into a shower against my will (I’d thank her later), and helped me brainstorm something, anything, that I could stomach eating to get some energy back in me.
As the next several weeks passed, she encouraged me to talk to my doctor about how I was feeling. She showed up daily to get my son and I up and out of the house. I realized that life was still happening outside of my new mom bubble, and that had a profoundly calming effect on me. She spent hours talking through breastfeeding struggles with me, endlessly confirming for me that making the right decision for my own mental health was just as important as anything else. Some days I would call her just to tell her what I had accomplished that morning on my own without feeling overwhelmed…and in true mom fashion, those calls were always met with resounding praise. Some days when the exhaustion of new motherhood consumed me, she would come over and just sit there with me, staring at that new baby and offering silent support.
As weeks turned into months, I blossomed into the mom I had wanted to be from day one. Were things perfect? Absolutely not. But I had “left the nest” all over again, this time as a mother. I was able to navigate my days alone with my little guy, only occasionally needing a rescue call. But when then those moments came, she was there. I can never thank you enough, mom.
So here’s to the moms. The new ones, the grandmas cheering on their baby as she welcomes her own…and every mom in between. A mother’s love is greater than any age or circumstance, it’s the a force that ties one woman to her child, forever. I suppose a mom’s job truly never ends.