First-time mama, you’re going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable and, believe it or not, it’s good. This is how we grow. Get stronger. Do better. Learn to ALWAYS keep a spare baby outfit in that diaper bag.

But the one mistake I hope you can avoid is this: Don’t try to prove something to the outside world during those early newborn days.

Tempting as it may be to prove you are the same person *just now with a baby,* don’t. There will be time to find yourself again soon. Probably sooner than you even realize.

Until then, though, appreciate the slowness and inherent grace of this season. Because I can tell you life will never again move at this pace—no matter how many more newborns you come to have.

I know this from experience. And I say this with a bit of remorse.

When my first was born, I was so eager to prove I could still run, write, engage in the world. So I did, because I could. I bet you could, too. I’m just asking you not to try. Because what I didn’t yet see was how quickly the time was going to go.

While there would be plenty of opportunities for me to do all those things again, there were only so many days I could snuggle my son as he sweetly slept.

There were only so many days I could wear him in a carrier for a leisurely walk around the block.

There were only so many days I could sleep in as long as he would let me with total disregard for any kind of formal wake-up call.

There were only so many days I could study his face as he made those uniquely wonderful baby expressions.

There were only so many days my husband, son and I could lie together on the bed and feel overwhelming joy for our new family—before the other overwhelming aspects of life crept back in.

Yes, I did those things. But I also did more, more, more on my mission to prove I could do all the things I had done before motherhood.

In doing so, I didn’t fully savor the amazing new things I could only now do because of motherhood.

When we welcomed our second child nearly two months ago, I committed myself to moving as slow as possible. Of course, that was easier said than done with a toddler also on our hands—but my efforts at non-efforts were fully rewarded by sweet moments of bonding with the baby who seems to change on a daily basis. (And, hey, at least I didn’t get around to writing this story that has been weighing on my mind until now.)

So now I know this from experience. And with a heart replenished by newborn snuggles: You won’t regret taking time to enjoy these slow, sweet moments of life.

The rest of the world can wait.