What I Wish I Knew As a New Parent

People never talk about the dark side of being a new parent until you “join the club.”

Then you’re whacked over the head with so much craziness that you can’t possibly imagine why people didn’t warn you.

If I could write a letter to myself as a brand new parent, I wouldn’t talk about the details of pee and poop, sleepless nights or the constant crying (mine included).

This is the letter I would write to myself.

What I Wish I Knew As a New Parent | Mommy Evolution

Hey, Jenny. I know you’re in no mood to hear what I have to say.

You feel like a walking zombie taking care of an infant who won’t stop screaming.

But hear it you must.

You haven’t slept. You haven’t had a break in two months.

You haven’t showered.

Shoot. You can barely grab a slice of deli turkey from the fridge to eat.

Even though the people around you mean well, they really don’t know what to say to make you feel better.

baby peacefully sleeping with pacifier

They say it’s just a part of being a parent.

They don’t know (and neither do you) that your baby screams all the time because he has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

Oh, babies cry, they say. Not for hours on end!

The best the pediatrician can tell you is your son is colicky… but even this is off the charts.

It will take you a couple of years to finally pinpoint what is going on and begin to proactively help him.

But I’m not talking about SPD here, which is a whole other layer to the hysteria (read here).

I’m talking about the desperation every new mom feels when she brings that baby home.

crying screaming infant

There is an undeniable loneliness that accompanies a first baby, especially when you don’t have your family nearby.

But with some distance and time, I’ve been able to figure out what is really the worst part of being a new mom… you don’t know when this phase is going to (if ever!)end!

People say parents are so much calmer the second time around.

It’s not because they know now how to change a diaper without thinking or take a baby’s temperature (which was a shock to discover).

That’s because they have actually experienced the mania you are going through and know this phase will actually end.

When you’re in it, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you you will be okay.

In the moment, it doesn’t feel like you will make it through this frantic stage, which my husband and I called the 4th Trimester.

From our point of view, it was almost like our child just wasn’t ready to be born yet and needed another three months to cook.

Being a new parent is like going into a hole in the ground.

You turn off much of the world around you because you are just trying to keep up with this human being who just joined your family.

It is madness and love and agony and joy all rolled into one.

But then one day, around the 4th month, you will look up from your hole in the ground and see the world around you.

You will take a breath… and your baby will allow you to take that breath.

You will notice the sun is shining.

You will start feeling like a person again.

(You will not, however, go to the bathroom by yourself for years to come.)

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

You need to mark the time and count down the days on the calendar. Get out the red marker and X out those dates.

Knowing that this sheer hysteria will pass by the end of four months will give you the courage and perhaps a little bit of solace to help you hang on and carry on.

Love you, girl.


Read more about Sensory Processing Disorder on Mommy Evolution.

To learn more about sensory challenges or to join our inclusive community, visit The Sensory Spectrum.


  1. What a great letter to new mom you. You’re so right that the hardest part of it all is not knowing when or how it’s ever going to get better. I really identified with the loneliness part as well – we don’t have any family nearby and I remember just walking around my neighborhood for hours looking for moms with new babies.

    1. Oh my goodness! We lived in downtown Chicago at the time and I would push that stroller block after block after block just to get outside. Once it snowed and the stroller wouldn’t clear the sidewalks, I just strapped him on I was so desperate to see people!

  2. If I were writing myself a letter it would read very similar to this one. I wholeheartedly agree that much of the anxiety I felt as a new mom was due to the fact that I didn’t know when the toughest part would be over.

    I’m not usually one to share links, but because it’s so relevant, here’s a post called “The Best Advice I Received for Baby’s First Year” that very much echoes what you’re saying here:


  3. AMEN to THIS. Beautifully said- and so true…every word of it! Every new mom should read a letter like this… I sure wish I had.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I wrote this hoping I can pass this on to the next mom… where were our female friends to tell us this when we were freaking out, right?

  4. Yes and yes. When you’re in the middle of a phase, there seems to be no endpoint in sight. All new moms need to know that this, too, shall pass.

    1. Jennifer, I think that once you get through those first months, you start to realize that everything is a phase. But boy is it a tough lesson to learn. I hope a new mom reads this letter and gets some relief from it.

  5. Ahh yes, the haze that a brand new, first time, parent is in. It’s been almost 11 yrs since my first but I remember it well!

    1. I actually block out most of it… but it does come flooding back at times, and my husband and I look at each other like it was a lifetime ago 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing this letter. My firstborn is almost 7 months old, so I feel like I’m just now coming out of that phase. It’s good to know I’m not the only one!

    1. You’re absolutely not the only one! I’m sorry you didn’t have this insight sooner (which was a hard one to come by). I hope you can pass on this wisdom to a newer mom… why aren’t we talking about this stuff more?

  7. The first three months are very hard when you are new parent… no one can really prepare you for it because it is a little different to each parent and different things cause stress. For me sleepless nights completely rattled me.

    I also think as the kids continue to get older you get more and more out of that tunnel and get back out in the real world.

    1. A good friend of mine once told me that when you have kids you lose half of your personality… mostly from sleep deprevation. As they get older, that half comes back slowly. At the time I thought it was an odd comment but now that my youngest is 5 I see what she was saying.

  8. And then you decide that you’ll do it again and have more children, because it is worth it! My mom had 4 and the first was so colicky, but the rest she said was better because she knew it would end someday! Thanks for linking up with the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board!

  9. I am the proud mum of a wonderful 17yr old with SPD. Despite our difficult journey ( he didn,t sleep for more than 3 hrs at a stretch for 7yrs) My only advise is cherish the moments you have, as the years go too quickly. Leave the housework undone, get down and play, babble, go out into nature, learn to encourage free spirit, fun and games. There are wonderful books available on sensory issues to help your child develop and minimise the sensory overloads. I wish My sons SPD had been diagnosed before he was 10, as our journey would have been easier and my sense of being an incompetant mum may not have been so damaging to my sense of self worth. Difficult years yes, rewarding yes, could I turn back the clock and make more precious memories I would. 17 yrs have flown and I love my boy more than words could say, I just sometimes wish I had kept my focus on the unique and extraordinary child he was, rather than worry about his milestones (or lack of) the state of the house, the opinions of others. Celebrate your gift, do your best, and point your bow as true as you can. My arrow is about to fly……

  10. What an insightful letter! The worst part is that no one seems to understand or remember what they went through. I agree with you completely, except for me it was more like 6-9 months before I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

  11. Our early experience was somewhat like this and I do think this would’ve been wonderfully helpful.

    As a fellow special needs parent, though, I’m not sure it ever gets THAT much easier…

    We have to find those moments of peace, I guess. Find ways to get enough sleep, and so on.

    Thanks and love,
    Full Spectrum Mama

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