You wake up after a sleepless night. You feel a mess. You look a mess. You, my friend, are a hot mess.
The fourth day of new motherhood sneaks in after a few days of optical illusions. The first day, your baby sleeps. She's a great sleeper! Hallelujah! What do people mean their babies don't sleep?
The second day you are feeling good. You've showered, maybe a little Sephora action on the eyes. You're so enamoured by that sweet thing, navigating the breastfeeding, the cuddling, maybe heading home from the hospital or birth center. "Let's do this!" is your mom-on-fire mantra.
Day three you feel like you should be on your feet, so let's go, Sister! Diapers here, baby there, so much laundry, and you finally can eat like a normal person again, so why not try out that new, super-complicated recipe you saw on the Food Network in the hospital?
And then, The Fourth Day.
Oh yes, you're a mess. Your hormonal shift from Pregnant to Not Pregnant is at its peak and your body and mind are reeling from it. Everything feels hard. Like, harder than trying to get pregnant for months. Harder than 1st trimester morning sickness. Harder than 3rd trimester heartburn. Way harder than labor, and that was Crazytown. Your milk supply is trying to jam two years of milk into your breasts at once, it seems. Your body is suddenly a foreign tomb and you wonder what purpose this stretched out cavern of yourself is supposed to serve. And your emotions? All the emotions, all at once, all day long. You cry, you laugh, you weep, you pass out exhausted. Repeat.
This is The Fourth Day.
Take hope, dear one. The Fourth Day, while feeling an eternity, is but a blip. Know that this, too, shall pass.
Knowledge is power. Know that this day is coming, and prepare.
Prepare to spend this day in bed. Skin to skin with your baby, nursing as best you can not only soothes your little one but it soothes you. Let your body heal, let your mind rest. Sleep the sleep of the godly, watch the Netflix marathon of your life, and be so kind to yourself. Schedule all the helpful help you can for this day. Postpartum doula? Yes. Best friend to sob with? Definitely. Planning a visit from a lactation professional? 2:30pm on Day Four, please! If ever there was a night for take-out this is it. You won't regret it. You, my friend, are worth this and so, so much more.
And, know that day five is just 24 hours away. A new lease on life, a chance to try everything again with the wisdom you've gained, and baby who is one day older and ready to try again, too.