I have totally been overwhelmed by the responses to my post yesterday.
It looks like I am not the only one to be broken by my experience with a newborn.
Not that I thought I was.
To clarify, I am well aware that everyone has a story, and some newborn stories are even more difficult than mine (though it’s hard to remember that as I weep myself to half-sleep at night). I think I have told my husband more than once “how in the world do people do this with twins? Or with another child at the same time?” And that goes for a myriad of other rough situations… special needs babies, colicky babies etc.
I just want to make sure that I clarify and let everyone know that I am quite sure I do not have the hardest baby ever, nor do I mind hearing the heartfelt stories of those who have been through hard times with their infants as well. I love hearing from other people who can honestly say that having a newborn was one of the hardest experiences of their lives because it gives me hope that I am not the only person who wondered “does anyone understand?” In fact, the first true light at the end of the tunnel came for me when one of the strongest Christian women I know told me, “we dubbed the first week with my son the week from sheol!”
To be honest, having Micah has brought out some of the worst in me, but it is also shaping the best in me. Never have I been more aware of my shortcomings, or more willing to lean on God and others in order to change them. I didn’t think it was possible to be mad at a helpless newborn… it is… and trust me, don’t expect to be “above” it. I didn’t expect to feel so weak and helpless myself, but I did. The first week of breastfeeding was excruciating and as my nipples bled more than once I glanced at the free formula samples I’d been given and thought “I can’t do this!” I didn’t have that instantaneous bond with Micah that I expected and I kept thinking “what is wrong with me?” And, the sleep thing was just the icing on the cake of the “unexpected”.
Again, I don’t mind hearing the heartfelt stories… in fact, I welcome them! I have learned to have grace with those who act like they have the quick fix for me, but I genuinely value the honest experiences of others.
My goal in my blog post was twofold. First, to pour out my heart and concerns; second, to thank the amazing people around me. I wish more people were honest about the difficulties of newborn life, and I hope that my post might help someone somewhere. I have laid my dirty laundry out for the world to see, but in my experience that is one of the most valuable things you can do for others in rough situations. Please consider sharing your full experience with someone rather than smiling and laughing and saying “oh just you wait!” You have no idea how much a statement like that can crush someone, or how much an honest story can lift someone up.
And through it all, lean on God and ask for help. That is what I am learning to do more and more! I am not the first person to feel hopeless, nor will I be the last. If you feel strong, please reach out to someone who doesn’t… you might be that lifeline they need!