What to Read: The Happiest Day

I've heard people say that the best or happiest day of their life was the day that their child was born or the day they got married, and I always wonder if they really mean it. Don't get me wrong; the day I married Jason and the day Will was born were both very important and great days in my life, but they were also both a lot of hard work.

I think the happiest day of my life was yesterday, the day my niece Mia was born.

Will woke up a little bit earlier than normal, but he ate and napped well all day (both things we had been struggling with for about a week as we tried a new formula). Two of my favorite ladies, Maggie and Piper, came over and hung out.  I got to feed Maggie a home-made lunch, and she brought dinner for Jason and I so that instead of cooking dinner that afternoon, Will and I baked up some delicious banana, flax seed, peanut butter and chocolate chip muffins.

It was my turn to say prayers that night when we put Will to bed, and I was so overcome with joy and thankfulness that I cried happy tears the whole time. Then, my mother-in-law came over to hang out while Will slept so we could go visit the new family. They were all happy and healthy and beaming and beautiful.  Mia was fuzzy and warm and perfect. When we got home, as I was changing into my pajamas and getting into bed, I had an overwhelming feeling of giddiness that I got to hold my sweet newborn niece without having to worry about bleeding nipples or how many times she peed or pooed or sleeping for only 90 minutes at a time for the next five weeks.  I was also giddy that I might be able to help Jen and Mia out the way that so many others helped Will and me out.

For me, being a new mom was really hard work with a lot of uncertainty and frustration. Being the mom of a sixth month old is still work and sometimes frustrating but mostly happy. Yesterday and today, being Will's mom just feels natural and right, but I won't lie and say that I felt that way from the beginning.

During the first few hard months as a new mom, I stumbled upon three interesting and helpful reads that might have saved me some guilt and grief if I would have found them before Will was born. So whether you already have children or are hoping to soon, I would recommend checking them out.

1// Not pregnant yet?  Check out this article in New York Magazine... just to be sure.

The article is basically about how parents aren't as happy as they thought they would be, which you might think sounds negative, but the article actually comes to another conclusion: Those parents that have the most support (and live in Scandinavia) are the ones who are the happiest, which of course makes sense.

Since becoming a mom, I have learned to just say YES.

Can I bring you breakfast/lunch/dinner? Yes...pizza...always pizza.

Do you want me to come with you to the doctor's appointment (where they will stick needles into your baby and make him cry uncontrollably and tell you a multitude of really important things that you will not be able to remember)? Yes.

Can I pick anything up from the store for you? Yes...diapers... and nipple cream.

Do you want me to come over and hold the baby so you can eat, sleep, pee? Yes.

Before, when people asked things like this, I would just assume they were trying to be polite, and I would decline, but then, I got desperate and started saying yes, and every time, the person was actually very happy to help, and I was always better off for having the support.

As a new mom, I also learned to ask for help unashamedly when I needed it. People, raising a baby is hard. Get some help. If no one is offering you help, contact me. I would love to bring you pizza and nipple cream and hold your baby, especially if she is as fuzzy and cute as Miss Mia.

2// The Lessons in Motherhood from the Everygirl were published a few months after I had Will. I loved reading about the experience of motherhood from multiple perspectives all in one place.  Some of the women had similar experiences as I was having and some had totally different experiences. People say that every baby is different, but there are some things about being a mother that I felt were expected of me and every mother's experience. It was nice to hear that other mothers hadn't had that typical experience either.

Also, there are some great product recommendations!

3// I downloaded this book onto my iPad one evening after asking friends and perusing the internet for sleep recommendations.  I wish I would have read it before Will was born, but I didn't know how clueless I was.

Although the set up is odd, and Dr. Weissbluth seems to repeat himself *unnecessarily, this book provides flexible solutions for different parenting styles and taught me some invaluable lessons. Did you know that  (most) babies aren't supposed to be awake for more than an hour or two at a time?  It seems so obvious now, but I didn't realize that before.  Once I started paying attention, I noticed Will would get tired after just an hour of being awake and go to sleep easily if I put him to sleep before he got overtired.

I mean, before I bought the book, Will was barely sleeping, and now he sleeps so well that I was able to start a blog. How's that for a testimony?

*Also, I wonder if maybe he repeats himself so often because he knew his audience would mostly be sleep deprived parents.


I look forwward to hearing from you.

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