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As I hold my newborn, I realize: I will never get this moment back

mom with newborn baby on her chest

As I write this, I'm staring down at my newest little one who is approaching two days old. While sitting in the hospital bed, I embrace her tightly in my arms as she peacefully sleeps. I can’t help but inspect every inch of her tiny, precious face and all of her itty bitty features. When a hand or foot peaks through her blanket, I find myself holding onto the smallest, wrinkliest toes and fingers.

It’s only been two and a half years since I had my last child, yet I've forgotten just how small they start out. Completely enamored with her, I sit still in the quiet room, just smelling that intoxicating new baby smell, wishing I could pause time to make this moment last longer.

In a few short hours, we will be discharged to go home to reality. We’ll need to figure out our new normal, filled with a never-ending routine of chaos, sleep deprivation, constant feedings, diaper and outfit changes, and other numerous improvised moments in between. I can't lie and say that's not in the back of my mind—but right now this moment is everything.

The addition of this little lady makes us a family of five. My other two are toddlers at ages three and two. Suffice it to say, my hands are full and very busy.

In the few short years I’ve had the privilege to be a mom, I’ve gained invaluable perspective to this crazy parenting life and grown to appreciate moments like these. Every day that passes, I’m learning more and more of how unbelievably easy it is to get wrapped up in the everyday.

In the midst of the chaos and craziness, it's easy to snub cliché phrases like, “it goes by so quickly” and “they are only young once.”

When you’re in the trenches, you’re more focused on trying to survive than embracing the moment.

Don’t get me wrong. I'm not perfect—far from it.

While trying to handle dual toddler meltdowns or after a rough day at home with the kiddos, it's hard to maintain this perspective. All too often, my husband comes home to me requesting a break and needing him to take over.

When my son throws his full dinner plate on the ground after telling me 'icky gross', I’m not thinking about the bigger picture and how fast time flies.

When my boys are screaming and throwing a fit at the store, prompting a nice lady to approach me to tell me 'how quickly they grow up', I want to tell her that time isn't moving fast enough.

Motherhood is a roller coaster ride of emotions. I didn’t know a person could experience such a wide range of what seems like every emotion imaginable all in a single day.

Then I became a parent.

There are good days and you better believe there are bad. Not every day is filled with sunshine and rainbows, but there are those rare moments in this beautiful experience of raising kids that makes it all worth it.

Although this is my third go-around and have been in this exact spot twice before, this time feels different—almost brand new. I didn’t have three years of parenting to reflect upon when I had my previous children.

At that time, I didn’t fully understand just how precious this time is. Nothing can compare to its importance.

I will never get this moment back. The newborn smell will fade. She's going to get bigger, and I'm going to be running after her alongside her brothers. I'll be busy trying to divide myself equally amongst three little ones and giving them all the attention they deserve, all while trying to take care of mundane household responsibilities.

Routines and schedules will start to evolve and incorporate itself into our everyday lives. There won’t be enough hours in the day between running around from school pick-ups and drop-offs, activities, practices, games and events keeping us overwhelmingly busy. In the not-too-distant future, I'll be trying my hardest to get her to cuddle with me, begging for hugs and kisses while she’s too busy playing and keeping up with her brothers.

Knowing how quickly it'll go, I'll continue to sit right here—spoiling her with kisses and hugs and inhaling her sweet smell while truly enjoying this moment.


Ashleigh Wilkening is a SAHM of three children under the age of four who spends most of her days on a never-ending quest for a lost toy. She is a lover of caffeine, naps and a generously poured glass of cabernet. On the rare occasion she gets free time, she contemplates taking a nap in the family van, but finds herself exercising as it’s a more legitimate excuse to escape the house. She writes at Bless This Beautiful Mess and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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