Welcome to a new year!
And on the subject of welcoming- I’d like to introduce the newest member of our crew: Beau.
He’s everything he should be and more. I was surprised with the slightly early arrival of our little man but we are both doing well and he’s plumping up in record speed. Now that I’ve had a chance to show off the cuteness of this chunker- I wanted to share my experience on being mindful over mindless with a newborn.
DISCLAIMER: All parents are superhero’s for surviving the first weeks with a newborn- period. Truly, you are incredible for bringing a new life into the world. Give yourself grace if you need it, and most importantly- give yourself the same level of love that you feel for your new babe (as impossible as that may seem!).
When I say mindless, I mean navigating through the brain fog and exhaustion that comes with bringing a tiny human out of your womb and into your home. I remember with our first child I felt like I stumbled home from the hospital and was appalled with the nurses because they let me leave the building with a small person that I had no idea how to care for. How irresponsible! I never had a child before, how the heck was I supposed to keep one alive, let alone happy!? And for the love of god why had no one ever mentioned how difficult breastfeeding is? I was so tired and in pain but also overwhelmed with the intense love that surfaced when I first held our babe. It was almost too much to process for me- and a lot of the time I felt like a zombie trying to get the baby to sleep for the 250th time in a night. Needless to say, I certainly felt mindless for the first few weeks (if not months) with our baby. Fast forward to baby number 2- this go around was easier, but I still felt like I was surviving only in part to caffeine. Key word being ‘surviving’. In between baby 2 and 3 I strengthened my meditation practice and became much more intentional with my energy. We were over the moon excited to be adding to our family, and I knew that I wanted to be much more present during the newborn phase and soak up the fleeting moments of baby sounds and sweet snuggles. With the older kids, I spent a lot of my time and energy thinking about how easier life will be once they’re older and more independent. I can’t help but feel like I missed out a lot on the bonding experience with them because I was constantly thinking about ‘one day’ instead of ‘today’.
So here I am now, a month into life with three little boys, and absolutely loving it. Instead of thinking about the laundry that’s piling up to the roof I’m thinking about how freaking lucky I am. How Beau feels in my arms, how his big brothers are snuggling him incessantly, and how grateful I am for their dad. Maybe it’s the hormones, or maybe it’s the fact that this is our third try, but boy- I love this stage and want to live in each moment for as long as I can.
Here are a few tips that have helped me be mindful instead of mindless during this crazy, sleepless stage.
1. Sleep. If you’re able to sleep when babe is sleeping, DO IT. I know this is tricky when you have other children to care for but try and squeeze in a nap when you can.
2. Take care of yourself. This includes basic hygiene like showering and brushing your teeth. If you’re thinking “Well…duh. Why is she labelling personal hygiene as a tip?”, then I’m guessing you don’t have children lol. I was so anxious to be away from our first baby when he was a newborn that I would only shower when someone else could watch over him (literally, stand beside him and make sure he was breathing) while I did my thing. Now I say to myself as long as baby is in a safe space, I can do what I need to do to take care of myself.
3. Stop imagining what life will be like when they’re older. Sure, things might be easier but you will never get this time back. Remember, the days feel long but the years are short. Before you know it, you’ll be registering your baby in kindergarten….I’m not crying, you’re crying!
4. Remember that you’re exactly where you are supposed to be, right now. This is especially important to remember when babe is marathon feeding or they are needing to be held around the clock. The to-do list that’s taking up space in your mind can wait a little while longer.
5. Skin to skin. Snuggling a baby skin to skin is probably the best thing in the world. Within minutes you’ll both feel relaxed and content.
6. Something that I think I’ve only done with baby #3 is meditating while I hold him. I love to focus on 1 thing that I can see on baby, 1 thing I can smell on baby (pro tip: do this one after a bath and avoid this one while they shit their pants), 1 thing I can feel on baby, and the sounds that baby makes. One of my favorite things to do is snuggle him tight and listen to the sound of his breathing for as long as I can.
7. Keep your phone away. Or, set time limits on certain apps so that you wont be tempted to enter the vortex of mindless scrolling.
I think having a newborn is life’s way of teaching us the beauty of slowing down. What do you think?