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Ashley Jones’ Blog: Surviving Boot Camp with My Baby Boy

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Ashley Jones’ Blog: Surviving Boot Camp with My Baby Boy

Ashley Jones is a new mom!

Jones is known for her roles on True Blood and The Bold and the Beautiful. She has produced and starred in movies for Lifetime, as well as recurred and guest-starred on many television shows — most recently, CSI: Cyber and Criminal Minds.

The actress, 39, also appeared in the 2015 comedy The Wedding RingerShe returned to her current role as professor Parker Forsyth on General Hospital this summer, and will star in the independent film Good After Bad.

Jones is married to Joel Henricks, and they welcomed their first child together — a son named Hayden Joel — on May 24. The newest member of the family joins Henricks’ 4-year-old son, Huck.

You can follow Jones on her personal blog and Facebook, as well as Instagram and Twitter @AshleyAJones.

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

Claudia Craig Photography
Claudia Craig Photography

At 7:06 p.m. on May 24, I held my son, Hayden, for the first time.

Those first few days together in the hospital were priceless. I’ll never forget my husband sleeping on the cot (or trying to) while our son slept on my chest. The room was quiet, minus the sounds of the monitors. Time stood still. It was an incredibly special moment I have waited years to experience.

My husband Joel and I were both running on adrenaline, and I had a surge of hormones that kept me going in the hospital. My family made it just in time for the delivery; my parents held their first grandchild moments after he arrived. Looking back on that time, it was magical.

Then … the hospital sent this angelic being home with us. Reality set in, followed by exhaustion. Add trying to breastfeed on demand and hormonal roller coasters.

Claudia Craig Photography
Claudia Craig Photography

 

Later on, Joel — who served in the US Army — jokingly said that instead of saying, “Congratulations on your newborn,” someone should have said, “Welcome to boot camp. Meet your drill sergeant, Hayden. He will break you down and test those vows of ‘For better or for worse.’ He will innocently find the worst parts of you and drag them out, only to slowly rebuild you into something, hopefully, better: a parent.”

I’m in the “slowly rebuilding” phase. I still can’t believe I get the privilege of being Hayden’s mother … and I’m learning every day how to get better at it. I have some perspective now, and can tell I’m out of the “baby blues” fog.

Does anyone else wanna rename the term “baby blues?” Can we all just petition to do that now? It has such a negative connotation for me. I never wanted to use that expression.

The truth is, I couldn’t have been more grateful and ecstatic to have this little peanut. I want to protect this precious baby with my life. The first couple months, this translated into worry and anxiety, coupled with a decent dose of emotion. My mother stayed with us for the first two weeks, then came out again the week I briefly went back to taping a show. The morning she left, I cried. For a long time. There were other days my husband would come in the room when the baby was crying, ask if he was hungry, and I got upset. I thought he was calling me a bad mom.

 

More from Ashley’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

Ashley Jones’ Blog: And Baby Makes … Four?

Claudia Craig Photography

I started to realize that although I was operating from an emotional perspective, my husband wasn’t. He was operating almost entirely on the opposite side of the spectrum. For him, if the baby was fussing, he deduced the problem in a logical, mathematical way and wanted to fix it. He didn’t understand why I took things so personally.

But everything was magnified! Life didn’t happen on any normal levels. Plus, I felt like I wasn’t a good mother if I wasn’t emanating sheer bliss all the time. I felt like happiness personified when I looked at our son, but was it okay to feel all the other things too?

Come to find out, 70 to 80 percent of women go through this phase of “the blues.” Why don’t more women talk about this? Maybe they do and I just didn’t register it? And I knew anxiety was a real thing, but did anyone else experience feeling indecisive? It started before giving birth, and magnified postpartum.

Claudia Craig Photography

I didn’t decide on storing cord blood until the final hour on the way to the hospital. Thank goodness PacifiCord was willing to help me — they delivered the cord-blood-storing kit to the hospital! I am still so grateful. It’s one way I can be proactive about protecting him any way I can.

I look back at the last two months and realize I might have made life harder than necessary. I put a pretty big expectation on myself to have it all together. I expected to be able to breastfeed all day and night (no sleep), keep the house clean, have dinner on the table for the family (takeout), work out, go back to work, etc. etc. How many of you felt this way?

My stepson, Huck, is learning new words right now. He learned the combination of disaster and catastrophe is “disatrophe.” When life doesn’t go his way and his little brain gets frustrated, he jokingly proclaims it is a disatrophe! I started to feel his pain! For a period of time there, I tried to do too much and some moments seemed like a mini disatrophe in my mind. I believe we can have it all, just not all at once.

RELATED: So Wild! Inside Ashley Jones’ Safari-Themed High Tea Baby Shower

Courtesy Jones Henricks Family

So, I’m letting those expectations go. When I look at Hayden, nothing else matters anyway.

If I could tell expecting first-time moms one thing, it’d be this: Go easy on yourself. Please. Because one day, you will wake up and life WILL seem somewhat normal again — a “new normal,” as they say. You’ll still be overwhelmed and emotional at times, but you’ll learn to accept things on your own terms, and the joy will outweigh everything.

Plus, you won’t believe when eight weeks have gone by … then 10. You’ll graduate from saying “weeks” and start using months. And you’ll start realizing what Joel and I are learning right now: That the days and nights are long, but the months (and years) are short. So very short.

This morning, I peeked at my body in the mirror as I hurried out of the shower back to the baby. Since I’m looking in the mirror, I don’t see my stepson’s new mini truck on the floor, and I trip.

Literally lying on the floor in a towel, I wonder if I’ll ever have a flat stomach again … well, at first I wonder if my back went out and if I can even get up to get the baby, then I move on to vanity.

The positive part of the story? I laughed at the potential #disatrophe. Some days are longer than others …

Claudia Craig Photography
Claudia Craig Photography

These first months have been phenomenal. And challenging. I’ve said many times now, “I’ve never been this happily tired in my life.”

And just when it seems like I can’t sleepwalk through life another day, Hayden giggles after his morning stretch. Lo and behold, he slept over five glorious, continuous hours! The light at the end of the tunnel becomes brighter, and I find myself relearning one of the great lessons in life: This, too, shall pass.

The hardest moments I fear will last forever, but they don’t, so I breathe. And the greatest moments I want to last forever, but they don’t, so I relish them. Because I’m going to miss all of this.

— Ashley Jones