To all the mamas and soon-to-be mamas,
I’m writing to tell you a few things that I wish someone had told me when I was stepping into new mommy hood. But now that I am a little past the fourth trimester, here are few words of wisdom:
- There will be the internal conflict that alternates between you feeling like you have everything under control one minute and then the next minute feeling completely at the mercy of this tiny human you are still getting to know. It’ll take time but 3 months into motherhood it’ll settle down.
- While the say a lot about the unconditional love, the first few months you feel like you are just a provider – with no smiles, no expressions and no reactions from the tiny human. Patience – the first smile or the twinkle in the eye you see every time they hear your voice will make up for all lost time.
- How you choose to feed your baby is completely your decision. Don’t let anyone else take that decision for you. Breastfeeding, expressing or formula feeding, whatever you choose, just do what you feel is best—and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. No one knows your journey, so no one should be passing judgment.
- Yes there will be days when you feel extremely low, (sometimes quite like a cow!)- Setting a routine takes time, sometimes close to 40 days and each day is a new learning. Take each day as it comes and most importantly enjoy it. Because one day you’ll look back, miss these days and say ‘those were the best days of motherhood’.
- Don’t loose sleep over your baby’s sleep. I know how easy it is to get caught up with counting the minutes that your little one sleeps. Now that I am a little more experienced, I can tell you right now that it doesn’t do you any favors. It’s almost as though we live in a sleep-obsessed world where recording, tracking and timing things has become such an engrained habit. Do yourself and your baby a favor and throw the clock out. Tune out the “shoulds” of what your little one is doing and tune into them, instead.
- Your baby will feed off your emotions so if you’re stressed, they won’t settle.
- Stop Comparing! I found myself in the middle of the night googling everything under the sun. “When do they start sleeping through the night?” “How many wet diapers?” “Why is my baby crying so much” “What’s the mark on the left?” “How long should the toes be?” If your little human isn’t sitting the exact week that Your Baby’s First Year Week by Week tells you he or she should be, it’s totally fine. Folks, EVERY baby is different. You have to do what works BEST for you… trust your gut. Take the leap of faith. God made you a mother and along with being a mother comes maternal instincts. Trust them.
- Familiarize yourself with the ‘fourth trimester’ and surrender to being your little one’s entire universe. There is both so much for you to learn and to discover, and there’s no rush. You will get there, I promise.
- For many of us, we’ve spent most of our adult lives calling the shots. We’ve been able to make spur of the moment dinner plans, spend a lazy Sunday in bed, blow-dry our hair when necessary, and even pee in privacy (which happens to be one of life’s most unappreciated luxuries). But for now – most of it will take a back seat! I am fairly convinced that when the universe handed you your first baby, you actually received the biggest lesson in ‘surrender’ that you’ll ever experience in your life time as a woman. Nothing on earth can prepare you for the strength, resilience, courage, determination, all-compassing love and devotion that will develop when you become a mother. We are forever changed.
- Ask for help or organize help – there is absolutely no feeling guilty about this. If you need to set them down in the crib for a moment, while you take a deep breath that is okay, stock up the snacks & water near by when nursing, it’s okay to say no when someone asks to visit, it’s ok to have someone leave the room when you want some personal space, if you have a fussy baby try wearing them…they like to be close to you, remember the chores can wait, breathe.
Honestly, I could probably offer a hundred different things I think a new mama should know, but each experience is so different and each child is so unique, that even a list that long wouldn’t cover it all. But one thing that is constant is – it’s all worth…every sleepless moment, every tear you both shed, every blow out diaper, and every ounce of spit up because having a newborn is the best thing in the world!
A mama who is learning a new thing every single day!