Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

I Hated The Newborn Stage. There, I Said It.

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Let's get all the clichés off the table. You've probably heard that, as a new mom, you should "enjoy them while they're small" because "you'll miss them being so little.” Whenever another parent would see me with my daughter in the first few months of her life, they'd smile and get nostalgic, telling me how much they missed their own children being that age. Immediately, I’d worry there was something wrong with me. Sure, I absolutely loved my daughter, but I didn't enjoy her being that small or that young. Everywhere I went I gave everyone I saw baby fever, but deep down I was losing my mind, doubting whether I could ever do this again, whether I even liked doing this. When I look back at pictures from when my daughter was a newborn, I swoon and stare at her little fingers, little toes, and chubby little cheeks, but then the anxiety sets in. I hated the newborn stage.

I think back on that time in my life and I get flashes of what it was really like to have a newborn. Everyone tells you to “enjoy” it. But honestly, that's the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. I kept trying to enjoy it and I failed miserably. I knew being a mom would be hard, but I kept telling myself I needed to enjoy this. Everyone said these were the moments I’d miss, the ones I’d be devastated over, the ones I looked back on as some of the most magical, most profound moments of my life. But when you're in the moment, really deep in the trenches of new motherhood, it's really hard to "enjoy it" when you can't remember the last time you showered or ate or even brushed your teeth.

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh
Ad failed to load

In reality, I was so exhausted all the time that I’d sometimes choose sleep over eating. I was so tired that I sometimes forgot to shower. I barely took care of myself. I barely spent any time with my husband. I was constantly washing my hands and making sure everyone else had washed theirs, sanitizing and sterilizing, worried out of my mind that one of us was carrying around a germ that would get her sick. I feared a scary trip to the ER if she got a cold. I struggled with breastfeeding and pumping. We tried every technique to get her to sleep better. We rocked and rocked until our arms felt like they would fall off and our backs were about to break. We drove ourselves insane with theories on sleep, but nothing ever worked.

My daughter’s first weeks passed by in a sleepless fog. We were constantly shopping for diapers, bottles, and any new device that would help her sleep. We’d get home, desperate for some rest, only to realize that we’d have to run back out because we’d forgotten something — more often than not, it was the one thing we actually needed from the store. My house was a mess. And in between endless doctor appointments, the constant unsolicited advice from family, friends, and strangers, the sleepless nights, and revolving door of visitors who meant well but whom I could have happily done without, my head was spinning.

Whenever someone mentioned that I should "savor" the newborn period, I felt like it was a backhanded way of telling me I wasn't a good mom. Because, after all, moms are supposed to relish in these all these firsts, right? So what, then, was wrong with me that I didn't?
Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Yasmine Singh

I will not miss getting just five or six hours of sleep a week. I won’t miss worrying if I picked up on the right cues when she cried. Was she hungry? Was she tired? Was it gas? Was she sick? I won’t miss having absolutely no time for myself, no time to use the bathroom alone before someone else — the baby, my partner — needed me. I will not miss worrying over every sound she made, wondering whether she slept too much or not enough, or if I was making enough milk. I won't miss the "witching hour" when nothing would soothe her. I know full well now that it’s no fun sleep training. It's also no fun to spend hours making homemade baby food only to have it end up on the floor or in the trash.

My husband and I often joke that during this time I cried more than our baby. But you know what? He’s right. I felt so isolated as a new mom. I felt like I was the worst mother and wife. I thought I would’ve adjusted faster or would've been more efficient with the little time I did have, but I was constantly behind on everything — the chores, the sink, which was always filled with dirty dishes, the floors. I didn’t even attempt to make dinner for months. I felt like a failure. It seemed as though every other mother had it together — every other mom, of course, except me. I really needed someone to tell me this was normal. That it was OK. But I didn't have that.

Ad failed to load
I didn’t enjoy the newborn phase. I'm sorry, but it's true.

The pressure to “enjoy” this phase weighed heavily on me. Whenever someone mentioned that I should "savor" the newborn period, I felt like it was a backhanded way of telling me I wasn't a good mom. Because, after all, moms are supposed to relish in these all these firsts, right? So what, then, was wrong with me that I didn't? One particular conversation I’ll never forget was one I had with my mother-in-law. I was venting about the fact that my daughter woke up six times one night and I was losing it. She looked at me lovingly and excited and said, “I wish I'd been there. It would've been so much fun to see her face six times a night.” Uh. What? Instead of commiserating with me, I just felt like crap.

Courtesy of Yasmine Singh
Ad failed to load

Of course, there are happy moments, like when my baby smiled or laughed for the first time, the first time she rolled over, and when she'd reach for our hands before sweetly drifting off to asleep. But contrary to popular belief, and contrary to what my friends' social media pages would tell you, those incredible moments felt few and far in between. The reality looked much, much different.

I didn’t enjoy the newborn phase. I'm sorry, but it's true. I didn't expect parenthood to be a walk in the park, but from the very beginning, with all of the adjustments, worrying, and sleepless nights, it was really hard for me to "enjoy it” and "savor the memories." Coming clean about how tough it was for me is a relief — but looking back, I wish I'd said something sooner.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}