A Letter to New Mothers: Remembering Baby’s Special Moments

Whether you have already given birth, just found out it’s in your future or are approaching your first Kindergarten send-off there is something I want you to be aware ofâÂ?¦something I want you to take time to consciously recognize.

You have been showered with various books, lists, and places to record all of your baby’s “firsts”. There are many places to record his first step, first word, and first food. There are many ways to memorialize her first clap, first tooth and first haircut. What no one can help you remember or acknowledge or grieve over are all those “lasts”. What may be worse is you probably will not realize you have reached a “last” until it has faded into oblivion.

It was weeks before I consciously noticed my baby boy had stopped calling me “mama”. It was days before I realized there was no longer a need for the snuggly bear at naptime. It was a week of peaceful nights before I noticed there was no more “Mommy, will you come tuck me in again” or “Mommy can I have just one drink first” and my baby had crossed the threshold from infant to toddler. From “baby” to “big kid”âÂ?¦and literallyâÂ?¦it happens in the blink of an eye.

“Firsts” come at you like a rush. They are festive, they are in-your-face, and everyone around you at that moment is there with a quick celebration. “Lasts” pass with stealth and are so quickly gone that you are unable to see or hear them until they are gone for good.

As a mother myself (many times over) all I want new mothers to do is stop and enjoy each seemingly small moment. Under your frustration of the moment, enjoy each scribbled picture on the wall, each scream of indignation, each watery-eyed balk at your rules. Your baby truly will not be a baby much longer. My wish for mothers everywhere is to enjoy and cherish your children and their childlike ways and to remember how it felt to be whatever age they are now. Remember how much you loved and looked up to your parents, how trying on clothes at 3 am made perfect sense to you when you were two years old, and how sneaky siblings can be behind parent’s well-intentioned backs.

Today you may have your own “last” and I hope you do not miss it. So, how do you hang onto them? How do you prevent their silent passing into faded memories?

Journaling is a wonderful thing. I suggest this even without children. If you journal frequently you may happen to catch a “last” the day it happens. Another plus for journaling is that you also have a marvelous record of yourself to leave your children. I was always thrilled to take the time to write in my journal so my children would be able to know that whatever they were going through in their future lives their mother probably had similar thoughts and feelings and hopefully a good resolution. It is no secret that children sometimes have a hard time talking about certain things, especially to their parents. It was my hope that they would be more inclined to read my journal and either pull from that something that would help them or realize I am human too and be more inclined to have a conversation.

Photos and scrapbooks are also wonderful ways to preserve various moments in yours and your child’s life. There are things I pass by thinking “oh I’ll remember that” and guess what – yesâÂ?¦I have forgotten them all. I also can not get them back. However, I now have pictures and written memories of events since then. I want to make sure I do not lose anything else. When I am an old confused woman in my new room at the nursing home I want to be able to look back and refresh my dimming memory with the antics of the people with whom I grew up and grew old. I hope you do too.

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