What is it with numbers in motherhood?
It starts out when you get pregnant. “How many weeks are you?” Oh, your only 20 weeks? Geez, you look like you are at LEAST 30 weeks! “how much weight have you gained?” (Insert that ONE emoji…sorry Jesus)
Our pregnancy is measured in numbers, for good reason. Its nice to know when we can expect this little nugget to arrive. But at the same time, we are constantly counting how long we have been growing this tiny human, and how much longer we have to go. We are anxiously awaiting the delivery where we will meet our precious baby. We focus on our Due Date…which is crap by the way. No one can predict when a baby will come. No one knows when your baby is ready…except your baby.
Then we get to the hospital…
Queue in annoying nurse … “You are only at a 3…if that”……. Whaaaaattt? I have to get to a 10??
If you have a doctor like I had for baby number three, she will come in (while you are peacefully laboring) non stop just to tell you how slow you are progressing and how long it has taken you to get to a 4. Real encouraging Doc, thanks. So we went from focusing on week by week, now we are focused on hour by hour and what number our cervix is at. Anxiety much??
Then the baby comes out…he or she is weighed (numbers) then hopefully handed to you. Unless you are like me and don’t let anyone touch your baby for a few hours. BUT then the numbers come back in. You want to breastfeed? You are told to time yourself, how long on each breast, how many times a day, how many diapers a day, blah blah blah. Forget about enjoying your baby and totally forget that our boobs were meant to produce milk and feed our child.
Then the questions come back in…how many hours were you in labor? How long does the baby nurse? Did he/she drop below birth weight? How many weeks did you deliver at? For real, people?!?
Once this precious little baby is out and finally (fingers crossed) nursing properly, you then read too many posts about “sleep schedules” and ” 4 month sleep regression.” PS…just cuddle your baby. Baby’s aren’t meant to sleep all night! After all, they wont stay this little long. And do we have issues falling asleep now? Heck no! We normally pass out easy because our days are so crazy! Sleep will come.
Now that this little baby is out of your tummy you hop on a scale… Because you are a woman…and thats what you do. Suddenly you are shocked to see that you have only lost .5 pounds…really?? Or if you are me, you lose the weight a few weeks after, and then gain 20 pounds during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Cool.
The numbers just keep coming at you…baby is 8 months old and I am still 20 pounds heavier than I want to be…blah blah blah.
When you are pregnant, don’t be anxious about the weeks…because yes its a long time, but it goes by quick. And how cool that we get to grow a human?? And other moms – Don’t ask those stupid questions, please. Speak life to fellow mamas and just feed her and rub her feet.
When you are in the hospital, don’t look at the time. And don’t find out what you are dilated to. Just be. Just be there, be present and let your body do what it was made to do. Birth your baby. Stop stressing that it took you 6 hours to get to a 4. That’s what your body needs to be doing. Don’t worry about who is on shift, or when your doctors on call shift is up. Just breath and know that you will never get this time back. You will never birth your baby again. This day is so special, and it will go by so flippen fast. I promise.
When you have birthed your baby, remember. Your milk won’t come in right away, and thats ok. Your baby will create the proper milk supply if you nurse on demand. (Demand and Supply). Don’t schedule your babies feedings, don’t schedule your newborns naps. Just be there with your baby and hold those little precious hands while they nurse. They wont be so small anymore.
Mama’s, don’t look at the clock when your baby wakes up at night. No one needs to know how many times he/she woke to nurse. Just pop the boob in and go back to sleep. Keep it simple.
And stop measuring yourself by the number on the scale. It’s just a number. And you just created life. That is far more important than jumping back to the gym. Let your body heal. It took you 10 months to grow this baby. Its not going to go back to normal as quickly as you hope. And if your husband isn’t encouraging you, loving on you, bringing you water every time you nurse and telling you that you look gorgeous in that old t-shirt, nursing bra and top knot…he needs a swift kick in the ass. Cuz, mama, you are gorgeous.
My challenge to you moms is share this. Encourage one another. Stop focusing on the numbers, the weeks, the dilation, the time, the ounces, the night time nursing sessions and the weight on the scale. Focus on your baby, your children, your husband, and yourself. Be present, be happy and give yourself grace. These times are temporary, and these babies will be grown up before we all know it.
RESOURCES: if you are a new mama, I encourage you to read up on a few of these sites that really helped me in mommyhood!