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I have three children. While each new baby presented new joys, it also bought different challenges. I have to say that for a few reasons, the biggest shock was having my first baby. First, it was an incredible change to go from taking care of no children to instantly having a demanding baby. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good baby, but the shock of the sudden middle of the night feedings, the frustration of trying to figure out what his crying meant and the overall feeling of fatigue was the most overwhelming for me with my first child.
I felt like I was ready but I didn’t have a clue of what things would really be like once he arrived. Sure, I was given plenty of good advice but there was one piece of advice that I wish I would have followed from the very beginning.
The advice was simple: Sleep when your baby sleeps. Okay, fine. That seems easy enough.
But as your body starts to heal and the visitors begin to frequent your home, you will find yourself trying to clean your house, write thank you cards and dreaming about starting your baby’s scrapbook. Don't do it! I had an easy labor and after the first few days home, I regained my energy. Before long I was learning the needs of my baby and pushing myself to keep our home clean. I was trying to keep up with washing all those tiny little clothes, folding them, and putting them away. I was quickly finding out that a newborn baby can go through several little sleepers in one day. I also wanted to keep the house clean for friends and family who came to visit our new bundle of joy.
After I would gently lay my sleeping baby boy in his crib, I would race out to straighten up the house or start a fabulous dinner. My husband warned me, “You have to take it easy. You are doing too much.” I was able to keep it up for about two weeks before I was beside myself with fatigue. The sleepless nights were adding up. With dark circles under my eyes and a zombie look on my face, I had hit my limit. The laundry was done, perfectly folded and placed in tiny baskets and my house was clean but I didn’t care. I would cringe to hear my son’s hunger cries in the middle of the night.