You Are Doing Just Fine

One of the things that has surprised me so much about having a baby—and there is so much that does surprise you; leaves you reeling, in fact—is that almost everyone I've spoken to in the last eleven weeks since Hugo was born has asked me how I'm doing. How I'm doing. Once we've ascertained that the baby is thriving and well and sleeping just enough that Sean and I aren't contemplating driving him back to the hospital and asking about their return policy, their attention is turned to me. "And how are you doing?" 

Oh right, I just grew a brand new human being and pushed him out of my body. I just changed my entire life. I will never again flaunt the midriff of my 21-year-old self or wake up in the morning without wondering where and how my baby is. I guess that does require some asking-after. 

It has taken me eleven weeks to write about my own crossing-over into motherhood because it has been both hard and wonderful. It continues to be both hard and wonderful, and you know, I think it will probably be both hard and wonderful for the rest of my life. Here you are, you see, thrust whiplash-quickly into a role for which you feel entirely unprepared. The stakes are impossibly high and the learning curve is impossibly steep and this tiny sleeping person on your chest—you made a tiny sleeping person!—is utterly dependent on you. He is a blank slate. He is an unimaginable responsibility. He trusts you so wholeheartedly—his whole heart is yours, your whole heart is his—and the thing is, you just can't afford to mess it up. There are so many ways to mess it up. 

***********************

On my second day in the hospital, a few hours before they discharged me, I started crying and I couldn't stop. "I don't know why I'm crying!" I wailed at Sean and my mother and my sister, and that made me laugh, and then I was laughing and crying at the same time, which is what I was doing the exact moment Hugo was born, except that laughing and crying had been rooted in happiness and excitement, and this was rooted in helplessness and fear. In his clear-sided crib, Hugo lay bundled beside me, forty-four hours old and inconceivably small. My mother put her arms around me, and then she put them around me again three days later when I burst into tears at the dinner table over some perceived slight, a move so unlike me that I felt almost crazed, like someone else entirely had taken over my body. She put her arms around me and then she ran me a bath and I sat in the bath and cried some more and I still didn't know why I was crying. 

Well, except that I was exhausted. That I was overwhelmed. That breastfeeding still had its hitches, and that I was hopped up on hormones, and that I had a days-old baby who'd come two weeks early, before I'd even hung his mobile or set my Out of Office or found a decent nursing bra.  

Up and down it went, for the first couple of weeks, and though there were always far more ups than downs, my heart felt like a plucked chicken, raw and bare and quivering, laid out on a slab for anyone to batter and kick. One night when Hugo was about ten days old, we picked up a takeout pizza—Sean sitting in the back of the double-parked car with the baby while I ran in with the credit card—and there was a misunderstanding at the register and the cashier was so terse and unkind about it, and I was so tired and vulnerable and fragile that it undid me. That one uncompassionate interaction—so meaningless and insignificant!—was exactly enough to undo me. I sat down on a bench in the restaurant while people talked and laughed and ate around me and I just cried.  

I cried a lot in those first couple of weeks. I cried because I felt so happy and I cried because I felt so helpless. I cried because time was moving too quickly and I cried because—at two and three and four in the morning—it wasn't moving at all. I cried in the living room and I cried in the kitchen and I cried in the backseat of the car, one hand holding Hugo's while Sean reached awkwardly back behind him for my other one. 

One afternoon, I lay on the bed with Hugo asleep on my chest and I tried to nap but I was at the point of tiredness where your body revolts against the one thing you want to do and holds sleep frustratingly out of reach, and because I couldn't think what else to do with myself, I googled "new mom when does it get easier?"

Like there was actually a clearcut answer. Like I was stuck in a tunnel and I just needed someone to point me towards the light. 

*********************

Three weeks or so, that's when it gets easier. That's when you stop crying in pizza places and start to feel a little more like yourself. It gets easier at four weeks, when you lift your hungry baby to your body and feel not the dread of oh god, is it going to work this time? but the quiet reassurance of yes, we've got this. At five weeks, you muster the confidence to leave the house by yourself, to collapse the stroller even when it makes that weird clicking noise, to change an explosive diaper in a parking lot, and it gets easier then too. It gets easier at eight weeks when you learn to breastfeed half-asleep in bed, the lonely hours of rocking in a darkened room while watching the sky get lighter now behind you.  

At eleven weeks, you walk with your baby strapped to your chest, long marches across the sand in the fog and the gloaming, his warm body snuggled against you like a small animal, his breathing slow and steady. His eyes closed. His crying stopped. 

*****************

I have decided that I don't want to write about Hugo very much on my blog. I thought I did, back when he was just an unknown bundle of cells and an ever-growing bump, back before I knew the sound of the small soft sighs he makes when he's content, the swirling whorls of hair that make the top of his head look like a cinnamon bun. I thought I wanted to write about the way he was born and each milestone he reached, post monthly pictures of his changing face, make pithy jokes about the number of old ladies who stop me outside coffee shops and tell me to put some socks on his feet. 

But sometime in the last few weeks, I've realized I don't. I don't really want to share him. He is gorgeous and perfect and amazing and wondrous, but I kind of think I want to keep him all to myself. 

****************

So it gets easier. It gets easier every day, and then some days it gets hard again, but even when it gets hard again, it somehow always gets easier. You will not always be spitup-stained and sweaty and squeezed uncomfortably into those jeans. You will not always make all your meals one-handed. You will not always feel guilty about the time you stopped feeding your baby to answer the door because you knew it was the UPS man and he'd tried twice before and if you didn't answer this time, they'd send your package right back and you'd have to spend an hour on the phone with someone trying to track it down. You will not always feel this tired. You will not always be in your pajamas at 2pm, and you will not always send angry texts to your husband to find out how many minutes—no seriously, tell me exactly how many minutes—are left until he walks back in that door, and you will not always be slightly suspicious that you are doing it all wrong. 

At least I hope you will not. I hope I will not. 

Here is a quote I like by Cheryl Strayed, which I read when Hugo was four or five weeks old, sitting out in the backyard with him while he slept against me in the hammock.

I read that and I felt the prickle of tears again (again!) and I thought yes, that is how I feel. I thought yes, I recognize that. 

****************

But here is the weird thing. Some days it isn't particularly easy but it isn't particularly hard either, and it isn't really anything except how you've always expected it to be. Some days you look down at that sweet baby and you think oh, you got here finally, you're here!, and that's all it is: not some momentous rite of passage, not some entry into a secret club, just another day that you're living your life, except now your life involves wiping someone else's bottom. You had a baby, and now you have a baby. See how normal it feels? See how right? Look, here is the place in your heart where he fits so perfectly. You didn't even know it had been empty. 

1
Liz
Oct 03, 2013

Amazing. This is so amazingly spot on I am crying and laughing as I'm transported back to that time. My little one is 18 months now - it's like I had the same exact version of your experience but a different model number. And the last few sentences sum it all up! I can't thank you enough for articulating all of this.

2
Jeannie
Oct 03, 2013

This is beautiful. The image of Sean in the car awkwardly reaching back to hold your hand as you held Hugo's and cried was the (first) line that me cry. This image captures my feelings about my first few months of being a mother - a family all taking care of each other. I felt so LUCKY to have everything I ever wanted. Congratulations all over again, Holly!

3
Dani
Oct 03, 2013

This is beautiful and I am crying A LOT :) My own son was born just a couple of weeks before Hugo, and you have summed it all up so perfectly. I'm newly back at work pumping in my office while I read this, in fact. My best friend is pregnant now and I have told her that the first three weeks for me were incredibly difficult in ways I hadn't imagined and also so special and crazy and just...nothing like I expected. But absolutely it keeps getting easier and easier, and the rewards greater and greater (the smiles and the adorable laughter and babbling! Ahhh!) So glad to hear from you again!

4
Jaime
Oct 03, 2013

My son Sebastian is 5 and my daughter Adele is 3. For the entire first year of my son's life I was trying to find myself, my new self. I couldn't figure out how to be a mom and a wife and still retain some of who I was before I'd delivered him. It was so hard. And I cried so many times - especially in the middle of the night when it hurt to nurse and he just wouldn't sleep and I didn't know why and my husband was peacefully knocked out beside me.

So you're doing better than I did. But we've got it now. The days can still be so difficult - especially in my daughter's fiercely independent, I-do-everything-myself phase that she's going through right now.

But it all gets easier. So much easier. And so much better.

5
Valerie
Oct 03, 2013

Congratulations to you and Sean! Beautifully said. I think you captured my experience becoming a mom almost exactly, except my baby blues lasted about 10 weeks :/ But, each day does get easier and it's amazing what sleep will do for a human being too. Hang in there! It sounds like you're doing an amazing job. Thank you for writing about the things that most moms don't want to write about or tell people.

6
Erin
Oct 03, 2013

I am in tears over this post. You describe everything in just the most wonderful, eloquent way. For a long time, I wasn't sure that I ever wanted a baby. More recently, I can't imagine NOT having one. A baby is almost certainly still a few years off for me, but reading something like this makes me desperately want to feel the feelings you've just described, both the hard and the lovely. All the best to you, Sean, and that sweet baby boy.

7
Laney
Oct 03, 2013

You (unsurprisingly) nailed it. Time may have made me forget about the uncomfortableness of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth but I read your words and I am right back in those first few weeks and months. I feel the phantom symptoms of the uncomfortable jeans, of the pajamas still worn even though Jeopardy has just come on, of the 4am hour that never seemed to end. You put it all so eloquently & I'm glad you're starting to find a rhythm!

8
Ashley
Oct 03, 2013

You are amazing. And I'm sure that is weird to be told by someone who has read your blog since you were in the south and leaves snarky (yet hilarious) instagram comments. But you are. And although I don't have a child of my own your writing touches me in a way that I want to reach through that screen and hug you tight.

9
Lauren
Oct 03, 2013

Oh my god, that was amazing. I'm 16 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and you kind of destroyed me. My husband just got home to find me crying my eyes out on the couch. I remember exactly what that all feels like, and I'm both excited and terrified to feel it all again, this time while trying to still be a good mom to my first kid. This is just so beautifully written and so spot on. I get not wanting to share your little one with all of us, but your writing is so amazing and I'm so interested in your perspective on motherhood. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing will be happily received. And just so you know, by 20 months (where my little girl is now) it gets easier still. And harder still. But many months of eight hours sleep a night helps more than you can imagine! And they get to be so much fun, it is such an amazing journey....

10
Jo
Oct 03, 2013

Absolutely beautifully written. I haven't yet been lucky enough to have a baby (it's on the plan post-wedding, all things willing) but the way you write is so real and so touching that I can imagine how I might feel when it comes time for me to experience it all. I had tears in my eyes reading about Sean reaching back to hold your hand. So lovely to hear from you again.

11
Catherine
Oct 03, 2013

This is just fantastic, Holly. I can barely string a text message together these days, so I'm even more in awe of your writing chops.

Also: week sixteen is when I started answering the door to delivery guys whilst still feeding my daughter and not being in the least bit bothered by it (MY DAUGHTER. Whoa.)

12
Sarah
Oct 03, 2013

How right you are to keep your precious boy all to yourself. Thanks for writing about this normalcy with such insight and honesty. It's just lovely to read your words again!

13
Heather
Oct 03, 2013

Thank you for writing this! I am long time reader and don't ever comment, but just want to say your post is helping me already and I still have 6 weeks to go before this child comes. :)

14
agirlandaboy
Oct 03, 2013

Please tell me that even if you don't write about him here, you write about him somewhere, both for yourself and for him. You think you will remember all the big and little things about your children forever and ever, but you don't. You forget. You forget the good stuff almost as easily as you forget the bad stuff, the hard stuff.

15
Jen
Oct 03, 2013

This is lovely. For me, weeks 4-8 were the hardest. And now 14.5 weeks in, most days I feel like "I've got this,"...until I don't. Parenting is such a roller coaster. Thanks for so eloquently expressing what so many of us feel!

16
michelle k
Oct 03, 2013

It's amazing and you do not have to share. It gets better and better and better...

17
willikat
Oct 03, 2013

Yep. Been there. Ruby is 8 months now and oh, all of these things.

18
Ivy T
Oct 03, 2013

I have to second the recommendation of keeping a private blog or journal of the things Hugo does as he grows. I had a blog that I did weekly just for family (many live out of state from us) to keep them up to date on what the little one was up to. Around the time she turned 4 and was in school, I fell off on the writing, but recently looked back at the entries and realized how much I had already forgotten. Little habits, mispronunciations in learning to speak... and other things like sticking stacking blocks inside her onesie as if it were perfectly normal.

19
Tracy
Oct 03, 2013

Oh my gosh -- I remember the crying! You captured the topsy turvy feelings of first time motherhood so perfectly. My first baby is almost 18 years old (YEARS! not months) and I am now facing setting her off on her own -- that's a hard thing too (trust me, when they are teenagers, you get to have more sleepless nights!) All I can say is that you have to treasure it all, because it really, truly, does go by so fast.

20
Leigh
Oct 03, 2013

Beautifully and eloquently written, of course, again. Holly, what a gift you have. I agree with one of your commenters -- even if you choose not to write about Hugo on your blog (and I think we would all support that decision), I hope you channel your gift into recording those days and weeks and months with Hugo so that he can read about it when he is older.

21
gina
Oct 03, 2013

I've been waiting for another post! And it's so beautiful, and so exactly true, in every possible way.

22
SuzyinDC
Oct 03, 2013

I have almost 3yo twins that are my first/only children. Every single day it gets easier! And better! And more fun! And you know what else? You are doing it right. :)

Congrats and enjoy it all!

23
AC
Oct 03, 2013

Beautifully and eloquently written, as always. Thank you. I remember going through this after my son was born, almost 4 years ago.

24
Courtney
Oct 03, 2013

I had my first (a boy) three weeks early, and I totally know what you mean. There were a few days when I was home alone wondering who I could call to take this baby away for a while so I could sleep. Who? WHO!? But it did get better (it just takes longer when they're early, which, auuugh is so infuriating in the beginning). So much better! He's four now (sniff) and just stopped pronouncing "each other" as "each udger," which was the cutest thing and I'm sad about it.

And now I have another one, and the second one was so. much. easier. I think because my expectations for her and myself were SO much lower. I think I tweeted this to you, but seriously, a good day for us was both of us getting naps and meals and maaaaybe a shower for me. If I did some chores or got out of the house, it was a total bonus.

Don't feel pressured to share any more than you want, although I do enjoy the occasional Instagram photo. I'm going old-school with a baby book (a pretty one! from Etsy!) which might be up your (crafty) alley.

25
Sarah Brown
Oct 03, 2013

You are so good at capturing your moments in words. I cried while I read this. Be greedy and protective with your life and your happiness and your time; anyone who'd fault you that isn't worth your worries.

26
jen
Oct 03, 2013

I'd imagine it's not easy to write posts like this. or maybe it is? I gave up blogging ages ago but as a longtime reader I wanted to thank you for sharing your life with us - however much you do or do not want to share. your talent as a writer is so obvious but even more so when you write about these deep, true moments that make you who you are. I will always look forward to reading your writing, regardless of the topic.

27
Jennifer
Oct 03, 2013

I remember the spontaneous crying, as well. One of the skills I developed in early parenthood was the ability to tell what time it is in the middle of the night just by how the neighborhood sounds--no need to turn on a light and put on glasses to see a clock. Even then I loved those times sitting there with a baby on your chest, everyone else in the whole world asleep.

If you haven't found it by now, I'll recommend The longest shortest time Scroll back to the early ones. Hillary's daughter is just enough older than mine that I benefit from everything she shares on the blog, but those early podcasts were wonderful introductions to parenthood.

28
Shelley
Oct 03, 2013

Know what else is wonderful? You get to experience this excitement and love through all your friends and loved ones that are going to have babies. When they announce they're having a baby you will be so incredibly happy because you know - you really know - how they're going to feel this way soon. Isn't it all so wonderful?!

Enjoy your little baby! I can understand keeping him all to yourself. He's all yours. Enjoy, enjoy!

29
Wacky Mommy
Oct 03, 2013

You are doing just fine. i knew you would. :) love to you guys.

30

"My life ending and beginning at once" - I wrote words very similar to that once becasue it is so very true for me.
This is a beautiful piece.
It gets easier... and harder... and terrifying... and satisfying...
Welcome.

31
Kim
Oct 03, 2013

"Like a plucked chicken, raw and bare and quivering" is a perfect simile for new motherhood. Well said. Also, I was thinking you had decide not to blog every detail of Hugo's life and I applaud that decision even though I would love to read those very details. You're doing great :)

32
nerr
Oct 03, 2013

a favorite. (Hi Hugo you're so adorable)

33
Marcheline
Oct 03, 2013

THERE you are! Was just about to send in the Army... not that you, like, had anything to do or anything, right? ;-)

Regarding your decision to not share Hugo: I would read your blog if you chose to write about nothing except the paper clip collection you started.

Blog on, girl.

34
Patty
Oct 03, 2013

You took me straight back to a moment, over 17 years ago, where I was trying to steal some sleep. I realized at that moment that, from that point forward, a piece of me would be with my child and that piece would be forever outside of my control.

I can't remember exactly what happened after that, but I went on to have three more children, so I must have reconciled my feelings at some point :o)

Follow your gut, it's the best mothering tool you will ever have.

35
Gemma
Oct 04, 2013

You have made a very pregnant lady very emotional with those beautiful words. And a long time lurker of your blog finally comment! Just beautiful, I'm away to read it all again. xxxxxxx

36
Ayesha
Oct 04, 2013

I'm not even a mother, but your words moved me. Beautifully written.

37
Rachel
Oct 04, 2013

Beautifully written.

My postpartum time after my second was drastically better than my first and I'm almost 100% certain it was because I had my placenta encapsulated the second time around. Yeah, it was still ridiculously difficult and 15 months later I'm still overwhelmed, but my hormones were a bit more level and I found it easier to cope.

38
shelly@ohshellsbells
Oct 04, 2013

whether or not you blog about hugo, i'm just glad you're still gonna blog :)

39
Morgan
Oct 04, 2013

Beautiful. You've captured the intensity and range of emotions in those first few heady weeks so perfectly. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently.

40
Tierney
Oct 04, 2013

Your writing is lovely. I have been reading since the Charleston days. There are certain things in my life that make me realize how true the adage "The days are long but the years are short" really is. Your blog is one of them and although I don't know you, this little corner of the internet that you've carved our for yourself and your family is beautiful, thoughtful and radiates happiness. And I swear I read the part about lots of crying but still, overall, lots of happiness! Congratulations and oh, I love the phrase "swirling whorls."

41
Julia
Oct 04, 2013

This is a lovely piece of writing. I wish every terrifying Google result about newborns/childbirth/motherhood would be followed up by an essay like this :D

42
Twice Five Miles
Oct 04, 2013

Yup. You get it. So hard to explain before the baby comes, but every mama knows what you mean.

Beautiful.

43
Anna Louisa
Oct 04, 2013

So, so beautiful. I'm not even going to blame my pregnancy hormones for crying :). I so respect your decision to protect Hugo, and am grateful that you're still here to muse and amuse for all of us who missed your writing :).

www.anna-bird.com

44
margosita
Oct 04, 2013

Such good writing, Holly! And I'm happy, I think, to hear that you won't write much about Hugo. Not that he isn't, undoubtably, fascinating and wonderful. But I wouldn't want him to replace what I love about your blog: hearing about you! Is that strange? I hope you take it as a compliment, which is how I intend it.

45
Julie
Oct 04, 2013

I've been waiting and waiting to see another post from you. And this was beautiful and worth the wait - even if it did bring tears to my eyes and make me want to just gather you up in a big hug. Relax and trust in your instincts and enjoy the lovely boy that you and Sean created.

46
Sara
Oct 04, 2013

I love this so, so much. This is exactly why I want another baby - thank you for putting my feelings into such beautiful words.

47
Jessica
Oct 04, 2013

"I don't really want to share him. " Thank you for saying this and for deciding *not* to share. Out of principle, I've had to stop following every single blog that features their kids heavily. I think it's an invasion of privacy for the baby/kids and it makes me uncomfortable because the baby doesn't get a say in what is being shared. So I'm happy that I don't have to stop reading this blog, because I love your writing and honesty so much. This essay, this type of sharing that you did above-that is what I like to read. Because it's about you being a mother, not about your kid being a kid. Hugs!

48
Kate
Oct 04, 2013

Oh gosh. I am going to bookmark this forever, because there'll be a day that I need it and I'll need to read it and re-read it. Thank you so much for this - what sharing. Hang in there - it will get better. xxxx

49
Kate
Oct 04, 2013

Oh, how you brought it all back to me like it was yesterday instead of 8 and 13 years ago. I cried in the grocery store because I was physically and mentally incapable of picking out toilet paper. A very kind woman put some into my cart and smiled at me. She will forever hold a special place in my heart for helping me over yet one more hurdle of new motherhood. I should also mention that after she did that she slowly backed away from me, never turning around, as if I was going to do something crazier than cry over Charmin or Cottonelle.

50
Erin
Oct 04, 2013

Thanks, Holly. We're at 7weeks, 5days right now; so it's getting easier, but is often hard enough still that I forget its getting easier. Needless to say, when you or anyone else with a slightly older baby assures me that it will all be okay, I listen.

Along that vein, I listened to all the archived episodes of The Longest Shortest Time podcast yesterday, and can't recommend it enough. Sometimes it's easy to forget that all new parents go through this, and that I don't live in an abyss. That podcast is full of good stuff. I listened on headphones while I fed and burped and soothed my way through a tough day, and Emy didn't even notice that I was only 65% focused on her.

Sending lots of strength and patience to you.

51
Stacey
Oct 04, 2013

Beautifully written. You captured exactly how I felt at the time. The best thing a friend sad to me then was, "You know, I was better at being a parent at different times in my daughter's life." I had been feeling I wasn't doing it right--sleep deprivation is a very ugly thing--but, in hindsight, I was doing it just fine. And my daughter, now a teenager, is a joy (most of the time), and all those "what if I am doing it wrong and she ends up x?" were new first time mother worries.

52
jen
Oct 04, 2013

What a poignant, wonderful post. Well said and well written.

53
Lisa
Oct 04, 2013

Holly, there is definitely a Mourning period after having a baby. Mourning the life you have said goodbye to and can never have again. We don't even have a chance to say goodbye to it because we never realize how utterly different everything becomes until it happens. It's ok to mourn, as well as be exhausted, as well as be in awe of your beautiful child. Trust me when I say that over time it will mostly become the awe period.

54
Fabs
Oct 04, 2013

Oh my gosh, you wrote so precise what so many other mothers have felt! My kids are 14 and 11, but I clearly remember those feelings after they were born, mostly with my first. Thank you for being able to put these feelings into word for those of us who can't. Also, if you don't want to share Hugo and have this be a mommy blog, that is a-okay, it's your decision. I just hope you continue to blog even if it is light. I love your writing.

55
Stephanie S
Oct 04, 2013

Perfect. I found myself nodding my head all the way through the whole post. It's strangely comforting to know that someone else experienced the same confusing emotions as I did. I remember feeling so out of body, like I was looking at myself and wondering "why is she so upset?" "who is that?" Strange thing, motherhood.

56
pb
Oct 04, 2013

There ARE so many ways to mess it up but, as the mother of a nine-year old daughter, as a mother who has messed us a lot, I discovered the many there many many ways to recover from the messing up. For every mis-step I've made, we've recovered in small and big ways.

Perhaps file under the countless paradoxes of parenting.

57
Bridget
Oct 04, 2013

I'm so glad you're going to keep Hugo private. I made the similar decision a decade ago not to write much about my children on my blog and I get a surprising amount of derision for it from readers. I hope you don't get the same sort of pressure here. It's such a lovely place, you're one of the few bloggers I still get so excited about when I see an update on my RSS. Cheers!

58
Bonnie
Oct 04, 2013

Thanks so much for this, Holly. My baby is a little over six weeks old and you captured everything I have been feeling but that I feel no one else understands--and you do, and articulated it so amazingly. Even if you don't post pics of Hugo, I do hope that you continue to post your own feelings about motherhood. You helped me immensely today. Going back to re-read the post now.

59
bopril
Oct 04, 2013

My daughter is 15 months old, and I am 19 weeks along with number two (a boy!). In all the words I have read and even written since first laying eyes on my girl (and there have been SO MANY), this is the most accurate depiction of how I've felt, how I've spent my days, how my heart has stretched and grown and exploded. It was so familiar and real, I held by breath all the way through (and cried a little, too). Thank you for that. xo

60
Margie K
Oct 04, 2013

I guess I'm too far removed from having newborns (my youngest is 23) to remember being that weepy. But I'm also weird (being a female scientist who works with engineers can do that to you), and can remember spending all day in my pajamas because I didn't have a spare minute to change, let alone shower, due to having a needy newborn (maybe I'm not that weird, and a victim of selective memory).

You probably already have some favorite resources to turn to for advice on babies and all the "Is this normal?" "Am I doing this right?" "How do I ___?" concerns that most of us have (or had), but one of my favorites is "Ask Moxie:" http://askmoxie.org/ Her current blog post is about transitioning to middle school, but she gets a lot of questions (search her archives) about infants.

61
Kathleen
Oct 04, 2013

So amazing. And so incredibly on-point.

Beautiful. You are a wonderful mom.

62
Sarah
Oct 04, 2013

This is perfect. I just had my third boy and the last two sentences sum it up.

63
Melissa
Oct 04, 2013

Beautiful, just beautiful!

You've done it. You captured it - the ups and downs and emotion of it all. You brought me back to those moments of being a new mother. My baby that made me a mother is 16...years, not weeks or months, but I remember it oh so well.

For what it's worth, it does get easier. And harder. And easier and harder. Just when being a mother gets easier, something new comes up, and its hard again. But it's all part of the journey and so very worth it, even at the points when it feels like it might finally get the best of you. Enjoy the journey!

64
Scott Raymond
Oct 04, 2013

Totes cried.

65
Marinka
Oct 04, 2013

My oldest is 15, youngest 12. Some days I still wonder how I'm doing. You captured the early months beautifully. And also, motherhood.

66
Kristina
Oct 04, 2013

Well, every stage has its learning periods, but getting used to the fact that you're a mother is the whopper. Right now, I'm telling myself that I've "got" these teen years, even though my daughters are at their homecoming football game and my oldest (1 year a driver) will be driving my most precious girls home. And next year, I send her off to college and I enter another phase I need to get the hang of. It's all terrifying, and it's all breathtaking and beautiful. Enjoy the journey. Sounds like you're off to a great start.

67
Dianna
Oct 05, 2013

Been waiting for another post! Of course I was at work while reading, digressing from something, and I'm very pregnant and your post had me in tears! As a lot of readers that I could tell from reading the comments. I'm going to be a first time momma like you and have no idea what to expect. I KNOW it's going to be crazy and unexpectedly difficult and I THINK i'm trying to prepare myself for it. Your words were beautiful.

68
Beth
Oct 05, 2013

What a beautiful and scary post. A whole slew of my friends are pregnant or just had a baby and I've been having a lot of mixed feelings about the whole thing. I got married in May and turn 32 tomorrow, so to say I'm starting to feel pressure from those around me as well as myself is putting it mildly. While the most recent (and closest) friend to give birth was pregnant I really felt the pull and longing to jump on that wagon. And then I went to visit with them and meet the baby when he was a little under a week old and now I'm terrified of the idea. This post kind of adds to that because, holy crap, how do you know you're ready to make that leap? I'm scared of PPD and being completely lost. I'm scared the rest of my life isn't where it needs to be yet.

I hope to hear more about your journey as you get your feet under you.

69
Christen
Oct 05, 2013

This is amazing and once again I'm blown away by your writing. I understand your desire to keep Hugo all to yourselves - it's refreshing, really - but do hope that you will continue to write here. About anything. Because you are so gifted. Thank you for sharing this with us.

70
Jessica
Oct 05, 2013

Thank you.

71
Lisa
Oct 05, 2013

I read "Operating Instructions" by Anne Lamott a few times during my son's first year of life. She tells of the joys, fears and tears and lets us know we are not alone in this journey of motherhood. Whether or not we love or hate our baby at that instant, what we are feeling and doing is okay. I highly recommend!

72
Edith-Nicole
Oct 05, 2013

Well said, New Mama. You Are Doing Fine. Better than fine. To still have all this perspective amidst all those tears - beautiful.

73
KyCat
Oct 05, 2013

Beautifully written! I have three beautiful boys in this house and after they were born, I was so happy to see them and experience them in this world, and . . . so sad to have to share them with this world. I desperately missed them being in my belly and being all mine. The only drawback to NOT oversharing is that what else is there to talk about when you've MADE a person??!?!? It takes me a while to be able to discuss anything else. So thrilled to see your post today. We'll be excited to read anything you decide to discuss. :-)

74
Kate
Oct 05, 2013

Been there. Mine are three and almost 5 now, and it wasn't too long ago that I googled 'why do I hate parenting?' So some things get easier and some things don't. I firmly believe that if parenting is too easy, you are doing it wrong.
Don't get me wrong, my kids are probably the cutest, smartest, and most perfect children that ever lived. I love them to pieces. I just don't always love being a mom. And that's ok.
Best of luck to you!

75
Nina
Oct 06, 2013

Awwww, that is so beautifully written. It took me right back into those days of having a baby.

I was playing with my son today, my almost six-year old son. We were messing around and joking and talking and for a moment I had trouble wrapping my mind around how quickly he had gone from that baby I didn't know how to handle to this human being learning to read and do maths homework.

My continued best wishes to you and your family.

76
lor
Oct 06, 2013

The years are short and the days are long. Enjoy the miracle of your new love.

77
Devon
Oct 06, 2013

Oh Holly, it DOES get easier but it also doesn't help when people say that to you while you're in the thick of it. This was beautifully written and while I read it I was transported back to those first magical, confusing, horrible and wonderful first weeks of my own son and I cried because it does, it does get so much better.

78
Julia
Oct 07, 2013

Thanks for capturing the early weeks of motherhood so well. I cried and nodded the whole way through, and was instantly transported back to those early weeks after my daughter, and then my son, were born. Beautiful words about such an emotional time of life. I'm so glad it is getting easier for you.

79
Erika
Oct 07, 2013

You're a new Mommy. Everything that is happening with you and Hugo sounds about right. I understand your desire to keep him to yourself but, please share a picture of his little toes in his mandles. Please? My old, dried up ovaries will forever be grateful to you.

80
Sarah @TwoEconomists
Oct 08, 2013

This was beautiful and somewhat terrifying. I can understand not wanting to share Hugo, as much as someone without kids can, but I'm going to add my vote that you keep writing about the rest of your life. As if you'll have the free time! ;)

81
Christina
Oct 08, 2013

Your writing is amazing: instantly I was back in August of 2011, frantically reminding myself that women have been doing this for years and I would be OK. It's so terrifyingly normal, all of it. But so astoundingly frightening.

I promise you this: It really gets better, so amazingly better you can't even see straight because you're so in love.

82
Emily
Oct 08, 2013

So happy to read your writing again! Congrats again, and it does get easier. Easier and harder. :) I think the easier part is that you gradually become more accustomed to the role of being responsible for another human. Nothing prepares you for that responsibility.

83
niobe19
Oct 08, 2013

Totally respect your decision to keep Hugo to yourselves. Absolutely understand. Although I am certainly a little disappointed and surprised, I look forward to your future posts knowing they will be clever, crafty, spunky, funny, poignant and sincere, just like you! God bless your family.

84
lesli
Oct 09, 2013

Beautiful, Holly, you said it just right.

85
Mia
Oct 09, 2013

Though no one can fault you for wanting to keep that little snugglebunny all to yourself, it makes me sad that you probably won't be writing very much going forward if you don't write about him. He's such a huge part of your life now that excluding him from your writing probably means less writing. And that is a definite loss for all of us who love your voice as a writer!

86
leigh
Oct 10, 2013

You shared the best thing you could. I get so sick of reading peoples perfect blogs and facebook posts. Life is hard sometimes for everyone. That's reality.

87
Jen
Oct 10, 2013

This is just so beautiful. Those first weeks with my first daughter were SO HARD and I was crying all the time at the drop of a hat.

One of my best friends just had a baby this morning, and next week when she's home with her new baby, I'm sending her a link to this.

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Esme
Oct 11, 2013

lovely, and just as i suspect it will be. i'll read this again when the time is right.

89
Ginny
Oct 11, 2013

Oh, you have no idea how happy it made me that there was a new post up (I'd basically memorized the last one). I know you're busy raising a tiny human being and all, but my life is considerably more depressing without your wonderful writing in it.

90
Kristin
Oct 11, 2013

This is exactly right. I love the way you write. Thank you so much for sharing.

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