There’s no moment in life that compares to bringing home your first baby. I remember having our second and third, and although they were both miracles that we loved with our whole hearts, my husband and I were different by then. We weren’t as scared. We weren’t as stressed. We knew they’d poop through their clothes, keep us up all night at times, and bring us immeasurable joy. But those first few days of learning how to mother — how to breastfeed, how to keep a tiny human alive — are often the greatest test of our lives. Lauren Eberspacher of From Blacktop to Dirt Road recently wrote an emotional Facebook post that touched upon this life-changing moment for mothers, and it’s tugging at heart strings everywhere.
Now a mother of three, the Milford, Nebraska mom came across a photo on her TimeHop from five years ago — and it took her breath away. It showed a new mom holding her brand new baby girl. The mother is smiling, but you can see the tears in her eyes. The red face. The exhaustion. The fear.
“5 years ago today we brought our oldest daughter home from the hospital,” Eberspacher writes. “I was physically exhausted. Mentally drained. Emotionally done. Hormonally raging. And I was so scared.”
I remember that feeling all too well myself. I was so excited to be a mom and so unprepared for how hard it would really be. I did not expect to fail, and I didn’t know how to climb out of that hole of despair. I too was a sobbing mom on the couch, holding my new baby who wouldn’t breastfeed, was losing weight, and would not stop crying. I was devastated.
Eberspacher also talks about the many lies that creep into our minds. Lies like, “Your baby can’t breastfeed. You are a failure. Your baby is losing weight. Your body is failing you. Your baby won’t stop crying. You must be doing something wrong.” And, probably the worst one of all: “You. Are. Not. Enough.”
Oh, the lies. All of those same thoughts crept into my own head as a new mom. And sadly, I believed them.
Eberspacher says she’d love to go back in time and “tell that new mama on the couch how much she was worth; how much she was created to be this baby’s mom.”
“I wish I could go back and tell her that she was more than enough because God had chosen her for something GREAT,” she continues, “something so much greater than herself.”
Oh, how I wish I go back and tell myself that, too.
Eberspacher tells Babble that one of the reasons new moms struggle is because of all the unrealistic expectations they face.
“Expectations for yourself, expectations for your husband, even expectations for your baby,” she explains. “I thought that because I had studied up on everything labor and delivery, breastfeeding, and newborn that it would all go according to plan. But each birth and each baby are so uniquely different — nothing is a for sure thing.”
Exactly. You think you’re prepared, you’ve read the books, the articles online, toured your birthing center, interviewed midwives … and when it doesn’t work, you can’t help but blame yourself. And when you’re exhausted and physically healing from the trauma your body just went through, self-blame is the last thing you need. But still, so many of us do it.
So when asked what she thinks new moms need to hear most when they’re feeling defeated, Eberspacher has this to say:
“If I would have had someone come and sit down on that couch next to me, put their arm around me, and tell me that I was enough exactly as I was, I think that would have made all the difference in the world for me. Any time I talk with a new mom, one of the first things I always tell her is that, ‘You were made to be your baby’s mom. God created you for one another — you were made for this!’ To be able to reassure a new mama that she is exactly who her baby needs is what they need to hear; breastfeeding or formula feeding, vaginal delivery or C-section, cloth diapers or Luvs, co-sleeping or right into the crib, every mom makes the right decision for their baby. And whatever those choices are are the perfect ones because it’s THEIR CHOICE.”
Her post goes on to say that she’s had two more babies since that photo, and has learned how to mother quiet babies and crying babies, heal after vaginal births and c-sections, and snuggle both skinny babies and chubby babies. And they’re all healthy, beautiful kids with a mom who now knows that she’s not a failure, but rather an amazing mother who gave them life.
Eberspacher ends her heartfelt piece with a note of reassurance, saying “wherever you are tonight mama, you are enough for your babies.” And I am sure that all the new moms who read those words can appreciate hearing that, because even though it’s hard to believe in those foggy early days of motherhood, it’s the truth.