Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to Be the Perfect Mother

My first baby was three weeks old when the phone rang. On the other end was Karen, the mother of a child in my school. Although I had not taught her daughter Remy, we'd developed a friendship. But I hadn't seen her in months, and her phone call was surprising.

"How are you?" she asked.
"I'm fine!"  I said.
"No, really. How are you."
"I'm good! I mean, I'm tired, but I'm fine."

There was a pause. Then she said, "Really? Cause when Remy was three weeks old, I laid her down on the bed and screamed, 'I don't know what you want from me, you little monster!!'"

"You did?" I asked, my bleary eyes now wide. I sure hadn't heard that from the sweet church ladies who had been bringing me meals.

Then, knowing I was safe, I cried. "It's hard," I confessed. "It's really, really hard."

Karen talked some more, but I don't remember the rest of the conversation. Something about joining 24 Hour Fitness so that she could go work out when Remy screamed all night. It didn't matter what else she said. All I had heard was that this mom, whom I knew absolutely adored her little girl, had been a bonafide nutjob after she was born.

And that was a greater ministry to me than six months of lasagnas.

Because I wasn't fine.
I was completely losing it.

While I loved this child with a power that took my breath away, the truth was, I didn't know what the little monster wanted from me. I hadn't slept, I hadn't showered, I hadn't cooked, I felt fat, and weeks after his birth I still cringed when I moved due to the damage inflicted by his gigantic screaming head. I already suspected I was a Horrible Mother because despite using every coercive means known to woman, my inept yet aching boobs just refused to produce more than one ounce of milk at a time, as evil fairies sang "Breast is best! Breast is best!" inside my previously intelligent brain. I hated my husband and the majority of the other people I knew, with extra fury reserved for the ones who could effortlessly breastfeed and/or whose babies slept through the night.

I was the hobbling, crying, haggard covergirl for PostPartum Depression Today.

And Karen had just told me that I was, well, if not normal, then at least not alone. As far as I knew, she was the only other mother in the history of mothering who had felt that way. But that was okay, because I only needed to know that one other mom existed.

Up until that point, no one had dared to be vulnerable with me, to admit that they were not the Perfect Mother. Every other woman I saw seemed to have this mothering thing down pat. If they had a baby on Wednesday, they were at church on Sunday, skinny, and their hair had not only been washed but blow dried.  Those Women could pump 16 ounces of milk at a time. Those Women had acknowledged every single baby gift with an original heartfelt thank you note before the baby was even born. They were never less than gracious to their mothers and mothers-in-law who did and said everything wrong when they came to visit the baby. And Those Women were just begging the OB to tell them it was safe to do the deed again with their doting, perfect husbands.
 
Those Women never shouted out cuss words when their babies woke up at 3am after finally going to sleep at 2am. Those Women never laid face down on their unvacuumed carpet desperately begging Jesus to just make their baby sleep. Those Women never saw the confused and slightly frightened looks on their husband's face as he asked, "You always wanted a baby, and now you have one, I don't understand why you are so unhappy?"

Then Karen, who had dared to be real, told me the most beautiful gospel. "It ends, Missy. Suddenly it gets better. It gets great. It won't be like this forever! You're halfway home already! I PROMISE!"

She was right. It didn't last forever. It got better. It got great.

And you know what else I learned? Those Women were figments of my imagination.
Those Women don't exist. 

The foray into motherhood is hard. For everyone. It always has been. All of us are struggling when the new baby comes home. We're all just struggling in different areas.

There are a few women out there who are almost one of Those Women. They just go by another label: OCD. Control Freaks encountering a teeny tiny One Who Will Not Be Controlled. Which means their breakdown is coming, be assured, it may just be delayed a bit, and you probably don't want to be around when it happens.

And then there are those of us who are having a second or third or eighth baby and yes, we might even be at church on Sunday. Y'all, we've sung this song before. We've figured a few things out, praise be to His holy name. New babies don't freak us out anymore. But ask us how it's going with our two year old or our six year old or our twelve year old, and we might hit the floor in a fetal position before we can complete a sentence.

Don't compare yourself to the old moms. Don't compare yourself to the new moms. Don't compare yourself to anyone. It is such a ridiculous waste of time, all it will accomplish is making you feel like a big fat loser, and your assessments will almost always be a lie anyway.

Instead, look for the real moms who quit pretending they had it all together a long time ago. Seek the women who rely on God to get them through every day of motherhood. Pray that God points you to them. They're out there, I promise.

Soon, very soon afterwards, God sent me some, who promised me that they had had a hard time too. Maybe even harder than I had! And guess what? These women - Jenny and Amanda among them - were the same women that I had thought were one of Those Women. They weren't. They never were!

These Women were way, way better. They were real. And real friendships were formed.

I was thinking the other night about how Karen's call and my wonderful friends completely influenced the tone of this blog, and my tone to all new moms. I thought of Karen last week when I told Meg, who was pushing sweet tiny baby Emma, "You're coming on three weeks. Three weeks always meant a major breakdown for me. Call me if you need encouragement."

I think about Karen every time I tell a weepy, exhausted new mom, "It ends. Suddenly it gets better. It gets great. It won't be like this forever! You're halfway home already! I PROMISE!"

I want to be one of those women. Don't you?

85 comments:

  1. Missy- thank you so much for this post! I'm learning that this principle applies to marriage and newlyweds... I've compared, I've wept, I've freaked out, I've prayed... and then I found that not every wife has it together and every married couple has to figure things out. That "those" women are faking it.

    I also worry so much that when I have kids I will be an awful mom and NOT measure up to those moms I see... (already I'm comparing!) Thank you SO much for being honest- It's a huge encouragement!

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  2. Oh man, I truly don't remember any of that from when my son was born. But I did just find out I'm pregnant (shhhh!)and it's brought on lots of honest fears. It's very daunting to look back on the shackles of infant-hood after being spoiled with the freedoms of (abliet fit consumed) toddler-hood. Will I be able to function all day for the first one when I've been up all night with the second? I'm going to have to nurse this time, so will I resent this baby for the incovenience and pain? My son was such an easy baby, so will this be pay back for all of his contentment? Thanks for being a place to be honest with ourselves and others, especially when we can't be honest with everyone else yet! (Brodcasting the news in a couple of weeks!)

    p.s.- This is my second attempt at commenting, the server went down or something the first time, so sorry if there are two!

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  3. I'm sitting at my computer nodding dramatically and saying YES! To all of it--especially the joy in finding kindred spirits who will share in our imperfectness. Amen!

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  4. so, so good. i've frightened myself with the craziness in those first weeks home with a baby! the hardest time was post-adoption for us...so remember these words you have written! IT DOES GET BETTER!!! now i need to go email this to some mommas i love. :)

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  5. Sobbing. With a screaming 4 week old on my lap who won't nap today. Probably because he's hungry since my breasts seem to not be producing milk the last two days.
    Thank you so much for this post - it's exactly what I needed to read right now.
    - Jessica

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  6. Being real is so vital!!! While I definitely had my share of freakouts after giving birth, nothing has rivaled the topsy turvy emotional journey we have been on these past 10 months post adoption. I am consistently honest about our struggles (and joys), but it seems that not so many people want to hear that truth from adoptive parents. It kind of messes with their "unicorns puking up rainbows" view of adoption.

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  7. I was among the first of my friends to have a baby. I had no idea that I would go crazy. (And I totally went crazy!) I'm always quick to warn my friends now.

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  8. I will be one of those moms when I get out of newborn hell round 3! The first six weeks always SUCKS and then it does get better. Oh I remember with Hope when I sat in the shower and didn't get out b/c I couldn't do it and then there was the day I stayed in bed after Grayson b/c who wanted to get up to poopy diapers, poopy comodes, etc!

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  9. "New babies don't freak us out anymore. But ask us how it's going with our two year old or our six year old or our twelve year old, and we might hit the floor in a fetal position before we can complete a sentence. "

    Even though my baby is 19, this sentence made me cry. Oh, how I wish I had known some one like you when my kids were small...

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  10. Thank-you for these words!! We all have hard days & can be completely clueless as to what to do!! I am so glad that we have a God that we can depend on... sometimes just to open our eyes that we are not alone!
    Blessings,
    Jessica

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  11. AMEN!!!! We need to tell these stories many more times over again!!

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  12. Awesome and true, as usual! I remember 2 weeks before my firstborn arrived, an old high school friend sent me an email and told me the truth...that it was going to be super hard and not to feel bad about not enjoying every minute...(you know because in all of your "Congratulations!" cards, older, more experienced moms always seem to write "Enjoy every minute.") Two weeks after my son arrived, I called my mom crying "Am I a horrible person for wishing he would just go to sleep instead of enjoying these moments?!" Once I regained my sanity, I vowed to NEVER tell a new mom to "enjoy every minute." It's not fair to put that kind of pressure on a poor, unsuspecting new mother...

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  13. Thanks for the honesty. Motherhood is a challenge, and I don't think there is any way to "prepare," but knowing we are not alone is comfort.

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  14. Jamie, that reminds me of when someone told me that when I was up for a 3am feeding, that was a great time to pray. I was like, you've got to be freaking kidding me...

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  15. It's important that you mentioned how you later realized that the women you perceived as "those women" really weren't that way at all. And they weren't trying to give that perception either...it's just that for some reason they were perceived that way.

    I have to admit I do like to blow dry my hair and put make up on for church on Sunday...but any other day of the week you'll find me with no make up on and wearing pajamas.

    I'll never forget how you encouraged me when I had Sam and everything was suddenly REALLY hard having that third child. Thank you friend :)

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  16. How eerily familiar your story is to mine! My little boobs never did make more than an ounce at a time either. I had the fun conversation with EVERY person in the world trying to explain this while they told me sympathetically how sad it was that my poor babies would have to be bottle fed.

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  17. I love your candor. It is so true. I especially related to the part about lying on the floor praying that Jesus would make my very colicky baby sleep or be quiet for just 15 minutes! Thanks for your post!

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  18. This is a GREAT post! I needed that reassurance with my first and it never came. I like t think I have passed it on to other new mothers I know.
    The other huge life lesson that came from my trials as a first time mom is that there was a purpose I could not see. That purpose was to help me adopt a preschooler later in my life. Because I knew that love can take time I was okay with it taking time. That thing didn't have to be perfect. It helped everything in the first few months with our daughter.

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  19. When my firstborn was a couple of weeks old, my husband came in from work, took one look at me on the couch holding the baby, and said, "Hand that baby to me right now and step away." Apparently I had _that look_ on my face.

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  20. So I'm 5 weeks out with our number 2 and I didn't get a shower this morning. When our daughter was born (via section) my mom told me it takes 6 weeks to feel normal-give yourself 6 weeks. 5 weeks ago I pushed our son into this world and my mom said, remember, give yourself 6 weeks. Now with a 2 1/2 year old who takes every nursing opportunity to be naughty and a 5 week old with tummy issues I can't begin to understand I have spent many moments hating myself for begging God to have it be week 6 already! So much for enjoying these moments...without God's strength and my hubby's good humor I would still have the pillow pulled over my head.
    Thanks for this honest and encouraging post. Knowing it will get better does help.

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  21. It had been about two weeks since we brought home our 18-mo from Thailand when I went to my women's group at B&N. Chris, who had five, seven and under and was 8 1/2 months pregnant with twins, looked me in the eye and said, "You are bringing him over tomorrow and you are going home and getting some sleep."

    This is the woman who crocheted baby blankets while teaching her youngins to read. But she didn't have it all together, either. The next time I went over she was sitting in her chair with the twins in her lap while her oldest boys were outside playing "Pharaoh's guards killing the baby Israelites" and her youngest son was standing on the bunny.

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  22. One day when my first was an infant, I was lying in bed crying, trying (unsuccessfully) to nap. In came one of my best mama girlfriends from two states away -- she climbed right in bed with me and held me while I cried. That is one of my most sacred mama memories . . .
    Nancy

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  23. We just brought home baby 3 from the hospital and it is still good to remember new babies are hard...but it gets better.

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  24. I was mostly so glad NOT to be pregnant anymore, that the first few weeks of baby were not bad for me (because the previous 8ish months had been!).

    but i really need some of those moms now that the boys are 6 and 8!

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  25. This is such an amazing post! I have a three month old (and a three year old) and so those days of not knowing how I was going to survive, let alone parent this screaming most are still very, very fresh in my memory. It's so nice to know that you aren't alone - why do we women hide the truth from each other? I find that when we actually let the armour down, we gain so much.
    Thanks!

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  26. Just approaching week four with baby #2. Your post is JUST what I needed. Thanks!

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  27. Couple of y'all have mentioned you are on baby #2 - I wrote about that a while back y'all:

    http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/2010/02/questions-from-audience-going-from-one.html

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  28. What a true post. I was head over heels in love with my firstborn. We prayed for a long time for her. I didn't get the blues the first few weeks like everyone said I would, but after a few weeks of not sleeping, it is hard to know that life will get better.

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  29. Sooooooo true! I remember with my first it was about 2am and I just started screaming louder than she was!! I know I was psycho for about 10 weeks. It's so important for moms to be honest! No one has it all together.

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  30. I have so appreciated friends who have been honest with their struggles. My hubby is in Afghanistan so I know that I do have some unique struggles right now, but it has surprised me to hear from friends who I thought had it all together that their babies have struggled with almost all of the same things as mine: gas and fussiness, blocked eye duct, congestion, etc. I took all of it as a sign I was a bad mom,and it was good to hear that the first 6-12 weeks when babies are adjusting to the world it can be a tough time for moms! My first little one and I are at 6 weeks right now, and I am already seeing some differences. I'm already telling new moms that the first weeks can be tough and that it does get better and I am just barely heading out of the tough part myself, but I know how good it can be to hear it from others.

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  31. In the middle of my breast feeding nightmare induced guilt, Jenny told me about how her husband came into the baby's room to find him screaming in his crib and her lying on the floor in a fetal position sobbing, "I can't find the paci...I can't find the paci...I can't find the paci."

    Now you know why we're still best friends.

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  32. I had postpartum depression with both of my sons' births and now I'm dealing with post-adoption depression. Apparently I'm really good at it.... Ugh. Anyway, the first time was absolutely the worst. My husband is in the military and because of his job he got 48 hours off and then was back on 14 hour shifts. It was NOT good. I made a vow (and I've kept it!) that I would never say to a new mother "Isn't this the most wonderful time of your life?" Because everytime I had a well-meaning "church-lady" ask me that I just wanted to scream back, "HELL NO!"

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  33. Wow. Great post. A little while ago, when I was on the verge of a breakdown, I found it was mostly because of comparing myself to others, and I am so thankful for people who know better and remind me to think otherwise!

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  34. This was so very beautiful! I now have 3 beautiful daughters (ages 3, 2, and nearly 9 months)...and often get told I must just be one of "those moms". But I often feel so very far from it! Some days are so spectacular (and every day has it's moments)...but other days are so horrid! I am so thankful that God is teaching me how great it is to not be okay without Him...and has finally seemed to place me in a small group at church that has surrounded me with REAL moms like me. Thank you for your honesty :)

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  35. PPD was so bad for me after child #2 that I thought one of us would not live to talk about it! I finally learned that it's okay to cry in front of your kids. They'll either keep crying or shut up.

    This post has obviously resonated with a lot of moms. My experience has taught me to ask a new mom "How's motherhood." and when she blurts out, "Good!" but her tone betrays the smile, I ask (privately, so she doesn't feel put on the spot) "REally? Cuz it's okay to say it isn't." That usually opens them up to an honesty discussion. You can minister to fakes. And fakes can't be ministered to.

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  36. I meant you CAN'T minister to fakes.

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  38. I came across your post and another one today which both speak to mistaken notions of perfection in others. Thank you. Here is a link to the other one I read today:

    http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/disease-called-perfection.html

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  39. Amen! Amen! Amen! Mine are 6, 5, 2 and 6 month old twins....this post describes me to a "t" thanks for being so real!! It's good to know I'm not alone! :)

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  40. LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE this post. I so wish I had read it 14 years ago after having baby #1! Thank the good Lord, I found my real women friends, too, but heavens to Betsy, those first couple of months I thought EVERYONE was one of Those Women.

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  41. call it what it is. i have a 4,2, and newborn. and i can still remember with my first walking down the hall with my baby in one arm, at who knows what time, and beating the wall with the other hand. something had to be hit and i was pretty sure i wasn't allowed to hit the baby.

    comparing to others is dumb and i agree, to heck with it!

    thanks for writing!

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  42. One of the other comments I never knew how to respond to was, "When she was born, weren't you just SO OVERWHELMED with all the LOVE you felt for her?!!!" Ummm, frankly, no. Not really. I mean, I know she's my kid, and I have to take care of her, but she's not all that pretty, cries a lot and demands a lot of me, she's wrinkly, and she has no personality. Firm believer that the feelings of love take time to grow. I don't doubt for some that it's love at first sight, but I believe there are other women like me who feel like they might get socially clobbered if they admit it wasn't. (PS-Yes, I love her to pieces now, but there are still days....) :) I agree with the post and comments. And I'm now expecting #2. Getting pregnant the week after I moved to a new country was perfect?!??? timing. :D Glad God's in control.

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  43. I could have written your post word for word. I have had a hard time with PPD and nursing with every baby. I wonder sometime what the issues will be when we bring our adopted baby home. Obviously I wont have the same physical issues but I am sure the emotions will be there. I think this is a topic that so many women I know wont open up about. Thanks for putting this out there.

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  44. Great post and so well written- a great encouragement. I linked to this on my blog.

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  45. Absolutely great post! I'm so glad more moms are speaking up. It's hard and the labor doesn't stop with just delivering the baby. When I talk to new moms or moms that have been in the trenches for a while I let it all out, the good, the bad and the ugly. And I feel so much better when I hear other moms say they are dealing with similar issues. Thanks again for sharing this.

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  46. it took me two and a half babies to be clued in to the secret, that i wasn't the only crazy one- struggling with everything. that's the pamphlet they need to make you read at the hospital "you're not the only crazy one" instead of "colostrum: liquid gold"!

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  48. This is my first time reading your blog, and I am expecting my third child. I have to say that I bawled through this post, thinking about how beautifully transparent you were, and how true every word you said was. There are no women like we imagine in our minds as we rock back and forth in the corner on those hard days. Women need women to be real and say, "You aren't alone!" Thanks for sharing. I will be back!

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  49. What an appropriate post to read while my gassy, 6-week-old baby cries for a minute in her swing so I can decompress, eat breakfast and read for a minute! Thanks for sharing, it was an encouragement to me after a sleepless night! I'm almost there!!! =)

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  50. Amen, amen, amen! Soon after my second child was born (and the oldest was barely two), a young father at church came up to me with a megawatt smile and said, "They're such BLESSINGS, aren't they?!" I agreed, but I could barely smile back at him, because I was so stressed and tired and hormonal. On top of that, now I felt guilty for not feeling like I was overflowing with joy! I felt devastated.

    I don't know what I would do without my mom-friends who are real with me. And I feel like it's part of my life's calling to make sure I'm not pretending to have it all together. Thank you for spreading the word--you do it beautifully!

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  51. Great post! Really enjoyed this. You made so many good points!

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  52. Love this post! I've been dealing with PPD for months now, and the most important thing I've learned is letting go of any expectations of perfection. It's very freeing! No one is perfect--not even "those women." And, I agree that we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. God made us the way he wants us, end of story. :) Thanks for sharing.

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  53. With all the talk on PPD - I have to share that I had it bad after Maggie was born, and it was cured - NATURALLY - by taking 400mg of Sam-e a day. Sam-e can be found at any drug store, and it works fast!

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  54. So, so true. Thanks for your REALness!

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  55. I don't know why I've been so weepy today, but this just put me in a puddle! It's so true! I'm so tired of hearing "enjoy every minute", when all I want is a minute or two of sleep...or silence...or potty time...or even a bite or two to eat all by myself! But, I have to say, my favorite comment was about the "perfect" mom who had the kids playing "Pharoah's guards killing the Israelite babies"! Totally (although probably inappropriately!) cracked me up!!! Thanks again, Missy!

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  56. To answer the last question of your post: YES. It's one of my goals in life. Just as soon as my little one starts sleeping through the night ...

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  57. I want to be one of those women! My 7 week old is crying while I type this, does that make me one?!

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  58. I didn't have postpartum depression, but man that first one was so hard. Such a transition. Full of raging hormones and breastbleeding and sleepless nights and spit up. Have you read my "Black Hole" chapter of my book yet? Perfection and parenting really don't belong in the same sentence. Dang, I guess you have to delete my previous sentence then...

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  59. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this. My son will be four weeks old this Friday (see how I round up?) and oh wow, it's hard. From what I hear, I had an easy delivery, he's perfectly healthy, no scary problems, and it's still SOOOOO hard. So thank you for this honesty, because I was worried that it was just hard for me. So I'll cling to the promise that it won't be like this forever!

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  60. YES! I was a raving lunatic by the time my first son was 6 weeks old. Enough so to actually earn the diagnosis of PPD. And it really did get better. And I even went on to have another baby, crazy I know (no PPD the 2nd time around thankfully)! It really does get better. (Sometimes with medication - LOL!!) Thanks for sharing. Honesty really is the greatest gift some new mothers can receive.

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  61. I remember one time when Noah was crying and just would not sleep and I was rocking the bassinet A LITTLE TOO HARD--I had to just walk away. That was probably one of my lowest moments. And I always try to tell new moms about it.

    I also try to have a similar "I know it's not all peaches" attitude towards newlyweds, too. It was shockingly more hard than I thought it'd be that first year.

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  62. I just want to say that what you said is incredable. I had my first child while my husband was deployed. I did not know what I was doing. I had never been around babies before. I had never even changed a diaper. I had no idea what I was getting into. I felt like a horrible person because I didn't have that immediate attachment to my child. I was there to take care of him. I don't think I have ever cried as much as I did that first six weeks. People are not real enough about having a baby.

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  63. That was an enjoyable read. Thanks! I am now a well-adjusted mother of four kids four and under (including 16-month old twins), but your post took me back to my first days of totally overwhelming motherhood. I remember laying my head down on the dining room table one day and saying to my husband, "I just want to like... CHECK OUT for a while." Back then, I didn't even have anyone to compare myself to, as I was one of the first among my friends to have a baby, but thank goodness my mom was right there beside me, understanding from experience how I felt! And... thank goodness that feeling didn't last forever!

    Blessings,
    Angela @ Eternal Outlook

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  64. I am mommy to 6, 10 and under. I've never, even after 6 births, been one of "those women." I'm sitting here in my pajamas, trying to drink my coffee, while still hot - a feat I almost never accomplish, let alone the shower BEFORE naptime : )

    Vulnerable honesty is a far better ministry to others, anyway! : )Thanks!!

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  65. Thank you so much for posting this. You described how I felt exactly after I had my daughter (she's almost 2 now). I felt so alone... All the women at church seemed like they had it all together and made having a baby out to be this "heaven on earth" experience, but all the while I was googling Adoption Agencies, wanting to get rid of my baby!! It was hard... Youre right, honesty and vulnerability is the best ministry you can ever give to someone...

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  66. Thank you for this post. It took me back to when I had my first, and then forward to a few weeks from now when I will be having that breakdown and wondering how I can GET AWAY BEFORE I DIE. It's very hard to be excited about the baby and loathe the baby at the same time and not to know why or what is wrong with myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  67. Great post! I help to teach a baby care class at a local pregnancy resource center and I think if we could get this one "gospel" across, we would be doing a lot! It does get easier and you do get through it! Amen!
    suchakingdom.blogspot.com

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  68. What a wonderful post! Number 3 is 6 months old, and this time around the newborn thing was EASY (she's also a remarkably good baby).

    However, my 11 year old starting middle school has been SO HARD. I'm ready to 'hit the floor in the fetal position'. Lord help me, he's playing football. Incidentally, when he was 3 months old, I was ready to put him in the MAILBOX!

    Thanks again!

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  69. my "baby" turned one this week but this post brings me back to those first few, precarious weeks. what a stressful, amazing time.

    what a wonderful mothers' truth.

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  70. I needed this this Monday morning. Every Monday I'm consumed with guilt over the fact that once again we didn't make it to church (the baby is 3 months old). I am constantly comparing myself to those "perfect" mothers who make it back by 4 weeks and are completely pulled together. Both my babies have had bad GI issues and having confidence to leave house is hard to come by with puking and screaming occurring every 30 minutes. It took 2 babies before anyone was real with me about how hard it can be.
    It is my mission to be more honest/real with others, it's hard when you think you are all alone. Thank you for sharing with us!!

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  71. Oh PUHLEASE!! You realize that in the Old Testament women were required to not leave the house for 80 days after a baby girl was born, right? You know why I think God did that? So that she wouldn't feel guilty for missing church!!

    We still are never on time. Walker volunteered to be a greeter so we have to be there early now and he is all grumpy trying to get us all ready on time I gripe the whole way about how stressful it is. Why'd you have to go serve the Lord like that? Sel-fish.

    Read this -

    http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/2009/03/five-years-later-dream-has-yet-to-be.html

    And cut yourself some slack :)

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  72. Amen, amen, amen! I was ok (so I thought) at first. Fast forward a few weeks to the end of my maternity leave...the thin ice that I'd been walking on broke out from under me. I was a WRECK! It took over a year to get it "together" and feel "normal" again.

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  73. Thank you for this. My baby will be 3 weeks old tomorrow~:-)

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  74. With my first, I made it to week 6 thinking I could get through it. With my army hubby gone back to Iraq after the first 3 weeks or so, and me with no family on the post in Germany. And horribly painful breastfeeding for the first 4 weeks or more, sepsis for a week at the hospital after a very stressful delivery. . .who did I think I was??? Thank God for the super kind army medical guy of some type (see I can't remember cause I was crazy!!) who asked me the right questions at my 6-week checkup and made it okay for me to take medication to help =)
    Still, with baby #2, it took me 6 months to get help!! By then, turned out I had super low thyroid contributing to the PPD too~ and it (PPD) gets worse with more children, not better.
    So along with advice and support from all the awesome moms on this site, I hope people will talk to their doctor or nurse and get meds if they need them. And don't wait so long!! ;)

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  75. HA! It only took you 3 weeks? Cause, ummmm, it took me 9 months. Yes, nine long months. And it wasn't pretty. Breastfeeding wasn't my problem, but healing from cesarean section followed by postpartum anxiety was. Who knew it wasn't normal to lay in between the window and your baby's cradle to prevent drive by shootings, in a perfectly safe neighborhood? Not I, for 9 long months! I wish I had had a Karen. Or an Amanda. Cause I thought I was certifiably off my rocker crazy for NINE LONG MONTHS. Then I had a breakdown. And then....it got better. It got great! And oh so much fun. And with my second baby? Oh yes, I was at church 2 weeks later.

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  76. This makes me want to cry with relief. Thank you!

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  77. WAIT A MINUTE, I'm one of those moms. Oh who am I kidding.

    When I was pregnant with my lastest child, and still breastfeeding my middle one, I put eggs on to boil one morning, for my daily protein, and remembered them four hours later.

    Once when I was going to the bathroom my 2 year old decided her brother didnt need his shoes on and took them off, with him in them, clear off the bed.

    I once took my 5 month old into walmart naked because she had a blow out and I forgot extra clothes and DIAPERS. Nice.

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  78. This is the most real blog post I've ever read. And I can relate to everything you say. Thank you for allowing others (me included) who don't have Karen's in their lives that it's okay to feel this way!

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  79. Omg where were u 2 years ago when Shelby was born and NO ONE SAID OR TOLD ME ALL OF THIS IS OK AND GETS BETTER?! lol it sooooo does but boy was it hard! Newborns still make me cringe but I want one soooooo bad!!! :) thank u!!!! U definitely took words outta my head!

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  80. Thank you so much for this post! My daughter is 5 months old now, and it HAS all gotten so much better. She is so happy now and a real joy to be around BUT those first couple of months were so HARD. Everywhere I looked all I saw were new mothers raving about their little bundle of heaven that only ate (and only that every 3 hours) slept, and looked like an angel. My daughter always ate and never slept! I was so exhausted and frustrated. Like so many of the commenters above, I felt like I could not get a handle on things, like I was failing, and very ALONE. I wish I had read this post back then! Thank you again!

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  81. It's so nice to finally hear a mom be real!! I will never ask a new mother how she likes being a mom because I hated being asked when I had my firstborn. I felt like I had to lie to everyone. In reality, I hated motherhood!! I remember going grocery shopping when a woman stopped and asked how old my baby was. I told her he was 3 months. She then said that that was about the time she realized she could do it. What a relief! Motherhood IS hard (I think that must be part of the curse) and it's ok to struggle and cry and not enjoy every minute. Well, that baby boy is now 10 years old and I've had 2 more after him. It does get better!!

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  82. Thanks for your honesty!!! I'm a pediatrician, so I deal with new moms in the "basketcase" phase on a daily basis. I'm sharing the link to this post on my FB and our practice FB page. Thanks for encouraging all of us! It reminds me of this quote: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
    ― C.S. Lewis

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  83. I'm right here. Right NOW. I just wrote a post about my son's colic today. I am really struggling. brianameade.com

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  84. I so love this post! Baby # 3 is a breeze, the sweetest little munchkin, but my 2 and 3 year olds?? Whose children are they?!? But things will even out, as they always do.

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