Being a new parent is both exhilarating and terrifying. Immediately after returning to our home from the hospital with baby Lucas, it really set in—I am utterly and completely responsible for this precious, new life. This overwhelming feeling of responsibly overtook me, and the imminent fear that I would somehow break my baby or do something wrong rattled my soul.
The first night we were home, complete greenhorns at this parenting thing, our Lucas proceeded to confound us. As we changed his diaper, Little Man began to pee in a high arc that hit the wall and poop simultaneously. Though I have babysat for over 15 years, this had never happened to me. We laughed and cried in unison, both freaked out and amused. It was one of those moments that will forever be burnt into my memory—the sheer absurdity, shock and fear of, “What do we do next?”—such common feelings for new parents.
The first few weeks of parenting for brand-new parents are a lot of trial and error. On top of the extreme exhaustion, you are constantly trying figure it all out:
- Is he hungry?
- Why is he crying?
- Am I feeding him enough? Does he have gas?
- Does he have a fever? Does he hate me?
- Am I an awful parent?
And the list goes on and on…. Many nights I have wished there was a brain ticker that could convey his wishes to me so I didn’t feel so helpless about guessing what he needs.
The other part of new parenting I wasn’t exactly ready for is the lack of sleep. Not only was I physically exhausted from the birth, but the newness of everything is emotionally exhausting as well. Combine this with necessary feedings every 2–3 hours, and it makes for endless fatigue. When 2-and- a-half hours of uninterrupted sleep feel like a honeymoon, you know you are sleep-deprived. But as crazy as you feel, you somehow manage to keep going, because of the immense and unconditional love you feel for this child. This profound love is fuel for long nights, shrill cries, and many poopy diapers.
Everyone says becoming a parent will change your life, and it absolutely does in every way. But this most magnificent and terrifying change is that you can’t ever imagine loving someone so much. When I look down at my son, his sweet, soft eyelids and lashes, his tiny fingers gripping mine, I am overcome by a love so deep, it feels like my heart might explode. For this great blessing in my life, I would do anything, and I am so grateful we are on this journey of life together!
Dear Baby Lucas,
It’s hard to believe that you’ve been in this world for about three-and-a-half weeks now. You are so beautiful! You have a head of golden hair like mommy when I was younger. Though I definitely think you favor me and your granddad, I can see your dad a lot, too, especially when you pout your lips and flare your nostrils.
You are quite a “Milk Monster”! You like to eat all the time. In fact you like to make a funny nose-dive right for the boob or bottle. So good to see you have a voracious appetite like Mom and Dad. I love feeding you, having your tiny heartbeat close to mine!
You are already teaching your dad and me so much. We are learning about you, and from you, every day. Your new sounds and squeaks, how you like to be rocked and swayed, and how you don’t care for diaper or outfit changes so much!
I will admit, the hardest part right now is being so tired all the time. I wish I had my full energy to give to you, but when I see your bright eyes and sweet face it gives me fuel to keep going. I know when you are sleeping more, I will miss when you were so little.
Your dad and I love you so much! We are so blessed that you have chosen us as parents. We are your biggest fans, and we look forward to watching you grow and to continuing to grow and learn with you.