Because it can be such a new and exciting — yet exhausting and disorienting — time, we wanted to share this article from our friends at the Glitter Guide. We think this info is incredibly practical and encouraging for new moms and moms-to-be. Have your own wisdom to share? Let us know your tips in the comments!

From GG’s 

Like so many women say, being a mom is the most rewarding, joyful and challenging part of my life. It’s hard to believe that my daughter, Piper, is almost 8 months old! I’ve learned a lot in my motherhood journey so far — and one of the biggest things I’ve learned is how precious our time is. It’s hard not to feel burned out when you’re trying to juggle it all — working full-time while being a present mother, wife and friend, as well as keeping up with household tasks like laundry, trying to make your own organic baby food, the list goes on!

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I’ve always known I wanted children. When I was a little girl, I used to fantasize that someone would abandon an orphan on our doorstep. In my imagination, my mother would be too busy with work to care for the child, so he or she would become “mine.” This impulse never left me, and in my early twenties I’d often boast of my intention to have five children (likely to the dismay of my boyfriend at the time). Back then, of course, thirty still seemed old, and like most of my friends, I assumed I’d be married well before then.

It didn’t turn out that way, though. Now I, along with many others I know, have found myself in a difficult modern predicament. Do we keep waiting for love, hoping it’ll come into our lives before our biological clocks run out, or do we take matters into our own hands, prioritizing the baby before the man, whatever that may look like for us?

A Note From The Editor: On page 82 of Darling Issue No. 12, we announced a call for submissions that tell your story and spark the creative process through word. Over the next month we plan to feature several of these submissions here online. Today we’re excited to reveal our very first selection. It’s a piece that simultaneously invites you in while encouraging you to step out and into the stories of those around you. We hope you enjoy.

She went into labor at 41 weeks and 4 days. She was determined not to rush this child, even though the thick, sticky heat of July was wearing on her.

Upon arrival at the hospital, she slipped in to the tub, and her husband pulled out his guitar to strum and sing soft words of encouragement. Labor progressed slowly, but her water broke on its own, and contractions started to intensify. After 12 hours of labor, at 8 cm, she was in so much physical pain, and so mentally exhausted, she asked for an epidural. Every contraction was still strong, but the intensity lessened, so she could actually breathe again. The improved relaxation helped her get to 10 cm, and then her body moved to push. She was delighted, and stared in to her husband’s eyes, already feeling relief.

They were going to make this happen.

Four weeks after my daughter was born, I had never known a love as fierce and all-consuming as the love I had for her. But I was also exhausted, and feeling unsteady. Those early days — full of the lack of sleep and the crazy hormones — had me running on empty.

Although the newborn stage is short in the grand scheme of life, it can feel unending when you’re living in it. The constant needs of a newborn, the wacky sleep schedule, the high emotions — they are intense, intense things. Thankfully, I made it through, and I would say that I was even able to thrive during those early days with Ella, although it felt different than I thought it would.

So, while I’m not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination, or even a long-time parent, here are my four how-tos for thriving in those first weeks and months of motherhood.