Welcome to motherhood! It’s a strange planet, isn’t it?
You did it! It’s over! You’re amazing. And look at your gorgeous baby. Almost unreal in his perfection.
But you know he’s real, because if he wasn’t, why would you be here holding him at 2.30am? It’s a strange world, the middle of the night, don’t you find? Just you and your child in the dark, alien sounds breaking the silence: the plaintive, piercing cry of a hungry baby, the blissed-out little mews in the back of his throat as he starts to feed, the tiny squeaks he gives when he sleeps in your arms.
And you look around. It’s your room – but not as you knew it. A lot messier, probably. Unfamiliar things lying on your bedside table: Lansinoh, Infacol, a cup of tea you didn’t have a spare hand to drink. Muslins and tiny clothes on the floor. A stack of baby books on the chair.
Your partner may be next to you but for now, you are alone on this strange planet. Alone but for the life you have created. You may feel light years away even from those who love you. Even from other mothers. They may have taken this journey but no one has given birth to your child. You are on your own Mars.
If it feels alien to you, imagine how it is for your baby. A foreign air rushing into his lungs, unfamiliar soft fabric brushing his tiny feet, his mother’s voice unmuffled by the womb, her skin warm on his.
You are travellers together in a strange land.
You watch the sun rise and light up the soft down on your baby’s little head. You feel the storms rage, as he won’t stop crying and you don’t know why, or your husband forgets to bring you a biscuit when you’re feeding.
You feel detached from the real world, even though it flashes before you on Facebook. Friends without babies on nights out – they cannot understand. They have not been on this journey that is more miraculous than space travel. But they can still help you, cheer you up and cheer you on. Give you a hug. When you are ready, they will be there.
You might have heard they just found water on Mars – I know, world news can pass you by when you are watching your baby breathe in, breathe out. You may find yourself crying and you’re not sure why. Especially when your milk comes in on the third day. You have done something so momentous, your daily – and nightly – work is so momentous, each tiny development in your baby’s life is so momentous. It is huge, becoming a mother.
You may feel overwhelmed. Crying, feeling low, worrying about your baby, know that these are normal. But if overwhelmed becomes over-riding, if you feel you just can’t cope, talk to someone.
You probably won’t see The Martian, Matt Damon’s brilliant new film, until it’s on Sky Movies. (Although, I smuggled my youngest into Skyfall at two weeks. I got some pretty strange looks when he started making noises but I managed to see all but the ending!) I’m not spoiling it when I say that Damo has to survive by growing potato plants. Almost his whole time on Mars is devoted to nurturing the precious life he created.
That is you, now. Don’t worry about the washing up or the laundry or tidying up for guests. You are nurturing life. It is incredible. It is also incredibly hard work. It is forever. You don’t want it to stop. But you really need a nap.
Maybe your experience on Mars is different. Maybe you think this is sentimental nonsense, over-dramatic, an analogy stretched. You would have preferred warm congratulations and practical advice: how to cope with breastfeeding problems, how to do up a onesie without missing a popper, how to change an up-the-backer nappy in the dark, silently, with nothing but your last two baby wipes.
I can do all that too. But for now, I just want to say – wherever you are in the universe – you are doing a fantastic job.
Ah… lovely. New motherhood with a new baby is definitely like being on another planet. I love the analogy. And I really like Matt Damon too – he always chooses such good movies. And becoming a mum for the first time is like taking those first steps on the moon! X
Thanks Sadie – I feel like I’m only really coming back to Earth now. It’s an incredible ride. x
Wry Mummy recently posted…Life On Mars: To My New-Mummy Friend
Brill as always Jess, this stirred up some memories 😉 I’m still totally on planet mars though LOL xx
Mummy Tries recently posted…On Not Quitting Coffee and Giving Myself a Break
This is a lovely post Jess – wish I’d stumbled on it 9 years ago when I brought home my first little alien xx
Complicated Gorgeousness recently posted…Five things you might not know about global development delay
What a beautiful post! I’ve pretty much forgotten all the baby stuff, but you brought it all back for me (and it’s not so bad when you’re looking at it through rose-tinted glasses from a safe distance of nine years!).
Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone…
Ahhhh I am going to send this to my cousin as she’s just had one too. This really sums up those nights with a newborn. I’m very impressed you snuck your two week old into Skyfall!! 🙂
Notmyyearoff recently posted…Things you should know about the SnuzPod2
Just lovely. It’s such a good analogy. Being up at 2,3 am all alone with a little baby, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s like time stands still. Will share this with my sister who is due her baby in January x
Emily G recently posted…Goodbye Granny Pants
Aww, what a lovely post honey. It IS otherworldly when you bring a newborn home. Wow, this brings it all back, really captures those dark hours when time seems to bend and stretch with tiredness and the weirdness of it all. xxx
Jude recently posted…Playing trains: 4 reasons to say NO!
This is such a beautiful post. I think the emotional support for a new mum is important. Everything is so alien. I spent my whole time worrying I was doing everything wrong and wondering what I’d let myself in for. Now, 28 months on, I wish I’d spent more time just breathing in my new born baby. Hugs Mrs H xxxx
Mrs H recently posted…Because I’m happy – the last weeks of September
Thanks Lucy. I was exactly the same, and in the middle of the night there’s no one to ask. What I would give for one more newborn cuddle (not a pregnancy announcement haha!). xxx
Jess, I don’t really have the words for this. It’s just beautiful. And perfectly described. Thank you for writing it <3
Rachel recently posted…Ask for what you need; stand up for what you think
Thanks so much Rachel, that’s so kind. I saw the photo of my friend’s new baby and it just transported me back to those quiet, strange times in the night. x
Brilliant post – this really brought back the strangeness and wonder of those early days of motherhood and that feeling of being just the two of us in the middle of the night, cut off from the rest of the world. I love the reminder that to a newborn baby, this must be even more strange and alien. Motherhood is overwhelming at times and it is important to ask for help when it all seems a huge struggle. I love your final line – so positive and encouraging.
Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…Take care of the pennies – tips to make your money go further
Thanks Louise, I found it quite emotional to write as it was such a special time. x
I love all your advice posts there are amazing and so right to it with so much humor we have to laugh when talking parenting otherwise we will on go a little insane right? Brilliant Jess you nailed it life on mars indeed! Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. Why not invite your friends to come share too? I would love to get to know more bloggers and widen my blogger share with me circle. All posts, old and new are welcome. #sharewithme
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