As new moms, we face constant self-judgment and self-doubt.
It’s ridiculously hard to be a mom, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s ok for things to be hard.
But it can be an intimidating time. There are a lot of things that we don’t know.
And a lot of things that come with being a new mom that can leave us feeling questionable. Is it ok to feel the way we feel? Is it ok to make time for me? Am I the only one who feels this way?
Here are 7 things that new moms need to hear. Things that, as a new mom myself, I wish I had been told and reassured of earlier.
Its ok that things are hard
I wish I had granted myself more grace when I first brought my son home.
I knew parenting was going to be hard.
I knew my body was going to feel wrecked and exhausted.
I knew my hormones were going to be all over the freaking place.
But it wasn’t until I actually had my baby and could experience what all that stuff looks and feels like in a really tangible way that I realized that simply knowing and expecting those hard things didn’t really mean that I truly understood what I was in for.
And that’s ok.
Its ok that you thought you were prepared for how hard things were going to be and realized after bringing home your baby that you weren’t.
Because, for most people, simply knowing things are going to be difficult does not directly translate into being emotionally prepared for the difficulties of motherhood.
It’s ok to lose your sh*t sometimes
I, like many new moms, really struggled with breastfeeding.
There were times when feeling like getting a “good latch” and keeping it seemed impossible, unrealistic, and not nearly as “natural” as people made it out to be.
I still remember, rather vividly, struggling for what felt like hours to get my screaming son to feed. Tears streaming down both of our faces.
He was hungry and I knew it.
My desperation and anger about my perceived failure made my heart literally ache.
I felt like I couldn’t feed my child.
Finally, in my desperation and frustration I handed our son to my husband and told him I needed a minute.
Then I went downstairs and screamed. Literally. An ear-piercing scream.
And I cried.
Not just the tears trickling down my face while trying to feed my baby. Real, deep, sobbing, gasping for breath tears.
Once I got that out of my system, I was able to go back upstairs and calmly try a hundred more times to get a good latch.
It was still frustrating and discouraging, but I felt a lot calmer about trying after having a moment to just feel my emotions and release them.
And you know what? If you make sure your baby is in a safe place while you allow yourself to break down, and if it actually helps you to release some of that tension – that’s not a bad thing!
As long as your baby is safe while you’re doing it, and your’re safe, releasing some of that tension so that you can safely and calmly attend to your baby is what may be best for both of you.
It’s totally normal to feel like you’re screwing up
Whether you feel this way immediately or over time, feeling like you’re screwing things up for your baby or your family is, unfortunately, pretty common.
Don’t believe me? Type into Google “mom feels” and check that first result. The first result is “mom feels like a failure.”
As parents we’re in charge of this little person’s whole world. We’re responsible for so much, and all of that impacts what their life will look like in the future.
That’s a lot of responsibility.
Don’t we already have enough on our plates?
We’re human. And we absolutely will screw up from time to time.
It doesn’t mean our hearts won’t hurt from our perceived failures. But we’re not defined by them.
You don’t need to “get your body back” after having a baby
How obnoxious is it that its thrown our faces how quickly people “got their body back” after having a baby?
You know what? I will never get my body back.
My body, whether it weighs the same it weighed before my baby or not, is forever changed because of the little human that I grew inside of it.
Even if your body looks as firm and tiny as it did before kids, your body GREW A HUMAN.
Why would you want to take that awesome power away from yourself?
There are women whose hearts ache to be able to have the same pregnancy battle scars that you have.
And you know what? Every single woman’s body is different. You may see women who appear to have dropped their baby weight immediately and others who hold onto it for years. Neither of these women have less valuable bodies because of how their body handled being postpartum.
Some women will find that the weight just drops off because they breastfeed their babies. Others (like me!) find it impossible to lose any weight while breastfeeding or else their milk supply tanks.
You have enough pressure if you’re raising a new little baby.
Feed yourself healthy foods, get exercise, generally take care of yourself. But don’t convince yourself that you have to “get your body back.”
Love the skin you’re in right now. And take care of your body.
Don’t underestimate your body
So unless you want some irish twins on your hand, use a condom or another form of birth control when having sex after having a baby.
It’s ok to take a break
This is something that I had (and still do) have a hard time with – taking a break.
Being willing to take a step back to spend time with friends, with your husband, or just be by yourself is a necessary part of being a mom.
Not being responsible for your tiny little human’s every need, even if its just an hour long break, can be enough to rejuvenate you to keep going. And sometimes you just need something that will give you the stamina to keep going.
If you can’t get out the house for your break, you can date your husband from home, and even have girl’s nights at home. Just ask your someone to keep an eye on the baby while you’re grabbing some time with the people with whom you’re reconnecting.
As a new mom, it’s totally normal to feel like your life is on hold, totally upside down, or even like you don’t recognize your life
I knew when I brought my son home that my life would look completely different than what it had been previously.
I also remember people telling me that I had no idea what I was in for.
But when I brought my son home, the days bled together and my life was suddenly solely focused on my son. Spending as much time with him as possible before maternity leave ended. Making sure he was healthy and sleeping well.
To be honest, a lot of my relationships suffered as a new mom. I struggled with being annoyed with my husband. Friends disappeared and replaced me with other people. And I wasn’t willing to put in the kind of over-time at work like I used to.
But its important to remember that just because your life doesn’t look the way it used too, doesn’t mean it is any less yours.
And this season? It will pass.
So make time for the parts of you that you don’t want to lose. Even if you have to ask someone like a spouse or a friend to help you make that happen.