Babies are awesome. They are adorable and sweet and helpless and unable to communicate in any way besides crying... Wait, let's start this again. Ahem: Babies are incredible, because they do so many amazing things, right? No, they don't. Here's a newsflash for you: it's OK if you don't love the newborn stage. In fact, it's OK if you hate having a newborn.
When my daughter was born, I spent hours just gazing into her eyes and taking cute photos of her. I also spent hours attempting (and often failing) to breastfeed her, hours changing diapers, hours trying to figure out why she was crying, and days not sleeping. It was exhausting, anxiety-provoking, sometimes boring, and not at all what I expected. Don't get me wrong. I loved her to pieces, but I also felt deflated after the nine month build-up of expectations. And let's be honest: It's not always easy bonding with a screaming infant you've only just met.
So I'm here to tell you that if you're having a hard time with the newborn stage, it's OK. There are actually close to a million reasons not to love the newborn stage. I think a lot of people hate having newborns. It's just that everyone's afraid to admit it. I mean, the only reason we keep them is because they're so damn cute. Am I right, or am I right?
Here's why it's completely fine if this particular stage of parenting isn't your cup of tea:
It Doesn't Mean You Don't Love Your Baby
Listen, you don't have to love every stage of your child's life. It doesn't mean you love them any less! Just ask the parent of any teenager. Every age and stage a kid goes through requires different skills and plays to a different set of strengths, and bringing out certain weaknesses... Basically, not every age is perfect for every parent.
This doesn't mean you don't still do it, and get through it. It doesn't even mean you don't get through it well, and kick ass at it. But it might mean that you don't love doing it, or that it's hard for you to get through it. That's not being a bad person or a bad parent, and it sure as hell doesn't mean you don't love your baby — maybe the newborn stage simply doesn't play to your strength; maybe it simply highlights all of your weaknesses. You might shine during the stressful 3-year-old days that totally wreck other parents, or you might be amazing at helping tweens navigate their crazy hormones whereas people who were rockstars with newborns hate their lives during those days. It's just that the newborn thing comes first — if you hate it, you might accidentally think you hate your baby, or maybe other people will think you hate your baby. It's just rough to start out a triathlon on your weakest event — but that doesn't mean you won't finish strong.
I know very, very few moms who didn't have some kind of breastfeeding challenge in the beginning. For some moms, it's a beautiful bonding experience right from day one, but for most, it sits somewhere between "this is kinda hard" and "this is the freshest hell known to the history of human existence."
Crying for long periods of time, for unknown reasons? AWESOME. Sign me up!
As far as I can tell, there is no time in your life when you will get less sleep. Or more broken sleep.
It Doesn't Make You A Bad Mom
You can still be loving toward your kid, without loving the stage that they're in.
Recovering From Giving Birth
You just grew a baby from scratch and then pushed it out a rather small opening. Or possibly, had it cut out of you. That is some crazy sh*t, and I don't blame you one bit if you're not loving what comes after that, since it doesn't involve massages, long, hot baths, and approximately 15 hours straight of sleep.
So. Much. Poop.
Black, tarry poop. Yellow, seedy poop. Green, foamy poop. SO MUCH GODDAMN POOP.
The Baby Can't Even Hold Their Head Up On Their Own
You basically have to do every. single. thing. for this new life, and while you may be fully aware that this is what you signed up for, that doesn't make it any easier or less exhausting.
We had a different term for it, in our house: the clusterf*ck. I used to dread evenings the way I'd never dreaded anything before.
Lack Of Meaningful Interaction
Man, this was hard to phrase properly, but what I'm trying to say is that brand new babies are still developing the cognitive and physical capabilities to interact with anyone. I mean, babies' eyes can only see clearly 10-18 inches in front of them for the first 3 months of their lives. So it's not like this time is filled with sweet little conversations, if that's what you've been looking forward to.
So. Many. Diapers.
You will never change as many diapers as you do in the first few months. And you will likely get peed on, at some point.
Trying To Figure Out What Your Baby Wants
When you can't use words to communicate, it can be incredibly challenging (and frustrating) to figure out what's wrong.
Worrying About Breastmilk Supply
Or switching to formula, or having to do both...the anxiety in those first few months surrounding feeding your baby can be overwhelming.
It'll Be Over Soon
The newborn stage is thankfully quite short, which means you'll be on to a (hopefully) more enjoyable stage soon.