by humanmama on April 15, 2015

Please, please, please read and forward on. This may save someone’s sanity, or help someone laugh at themselves. This may help a partner reach out or a mommy get some much-needed and much-deserved help. Please help spread the word.

I saw a new mommy today. Well, I heard her baby first, for about an hour while I waited for a nurse practitioner to tell me that my four-month old was fine. My nurse was late, so late that I cracked the door and bounced Elliott on my hip while I read vaccine pamphlets and notices about summer physicals (schedule now!). I bounced my baby while I listened to the sobs–wretched, pitiful, break-your-heart sobs from a baby, obviously a very new baby. My first thought was “shots,” but as I listened to the sounds go on and on I realized it could be only one thing: feeding troubles. What does a new baby cry hysterically for 45 minutes about? Nothing, save pain and hunger.

This ain’t my first rodeo.

I saw nurses and doctors go back and forth into the room, saying “how’d it go,” and “did it work?” I noticed the other crying sounds now, too: mommy crying. If you have a kid, you know this feeling well. This is my child, this is natural. This is my job, this is my body’s job. What am I doing wrong?!

I saw the parents, baby packed into carrier, leave the room and head toward the lobby, and for a brief moment I thought “that poor mommy.” And then? I did what I should do. I followed her to the lobby to make a fool of myself,

This ain’t my first time at that, either.

Bouncing baby E, I said “your first?” She nodded, still crying, dabbing at her eyes with a wadded up tissue. “It gets better. So much better,” I patter her arm. I introduced myself. I said “hey, it’s ok to give him a bottle. Even one. He won’t remember it, and you need to take care of yourself. It’s so hard.”

It’s so hard.

Mommies. Dads. Parents and grandparents. Friends who ever have had, or have known, or have been babies. I beseech you: stop and give a mommy a hug today. It might make you look a little nuts to run to the lobby after a new family. But if that lady got into the car with her partner and said to him, “look, maybe just one bottle, let’s stop at the store,” Then it was worth me looking crazy. If I in any way helped her power through the pain and horrible awkwardness which is the process of learning how to nurse another human being? Totally okay to look nuts. If what I said helped her get through this very hard day? Worth it.

There’s been a lot of talk about mental health these days and I feel that mommies sometimes get ignored. “The baby blues,” my doctor said when I had my first and was beside myself, “are totally normal.” That’s true, but you still need help. Encouragement. A time machine so your future self can come to you on the worst day and say “guess what?! That kid you couldn’t nurse on day five? Still totally living. And eating real food, heaps and heaps of it.”

Please give a mommy a hug today. If I thought twice I would’ve gotten that mama’s phone number, just to tell her this:

It’s going to be okay.

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