If I had fukki dërëm for every time someone has told me, “It gets better…” as they see me crumbling in front of them, holding a crying, red-faced Pape. The scene goes something like this:

Someone walks over to see the baby, all wrapped up in the ever-present swaddle cloth. They comment on how X, Y or Z he is, then ask to hold him. I happily pass him into their waiting arms, then resist the urge to flee while I can. (Taxi!) I know it’s just moments until his chin quivers and he progresses at an alarming speed to all out wailing and flailing.

He’s peeved, but wearing cute shoes!

The person holding him seems surprised by his sudden outburst and laughs a little. I mean, after all, he’s such an X, Y or Z baby! He must be tired/hungry/dirty. So they hand him back to me.

But as they do, there’s a moment when their eyes catch mine. They see the fatigue, the fear, the desperation. What’s more, they recognize it. They remember what it’s like to be the mom of a newborn.

More than anything, I need to hear the words that inevitably come next:

It gets better.

Not that I completely believe them just yet, but I’ve seen enough glimmers of ‘better’ this past week to assure me that the mothers of this world are not all conspiring together to trick me.

Here are more wise, encouraging words and anecdotes I’ve heard recently from my friends who are moms – and really good ones at that.

“That you both sleep is priority number 1, how it happens is secondary. Do what works for you and ignore what everyone else thinks. I’ve never even seen one adult sleeping strapped to his mommy so don’t worry – he’ll learn to sleep on his own at some point. In the meantime, enjoy the extra cuddles.”

— from a mom of five

“Welcome to the world of desperation and doing whatever works for your baby, which will be different from everyone else’s baby!”

— from a mom of two

“Our first was five weeks old before we even tried giving him a bath.”

— from a mom of two

“There’s nothing like those moments with your newborn, and they fly by so quickly. I bet a lot of people are saying that, and, if you’re like I was with newborns (thinking to yourself, “Well, that’s sweet but I still need to get stuff done, and there’s no way I’ll forget this feeling…”), then by all means put Pape in his sling, so that he stays asleep, AND you can still get stuff done.”

— from a mom of three

“oh honey, it is completely NORMAL. i cannot tell you how many times during the first three weeks that i SOBBED and asked myself what we had done! that i wanted to reverse time and go back to when things were normal and not insane. there were nights i had to lay her down in her crib while she cried and i went into the other room and sobbed into a pillow.”

— from another new mom

“Sleep when he does and snuggle when he’s up.”

— from a mom of three

“We had a big first birthday party at my mom’s house, tons of food, family, etc… and I all I could do was bawl my eyes out. Everyone thought I was just sentimental about my baby turning 1. No, actually I was crying because I had survived the dang year! I was more wanting to give myself a party for surviving the first year of motherhood!”

— from a mom of three

Baby shower thrown by the ladies at our church

They all say it gets better. And I’m believing them more and more each day.