The experience of caring for a newborn is different for every woman. Some new moms ease into it as though they have been doing it their entire lives. Some mothers feel terribly inept, clumsy, and awkward. Some mothers fall in love with their babies right away. And some others feel like strangers to their own children. While the spectrum is wide, and the colors are varied….there are a few parts of the experience of new motherhood that are universal, and I’d like to sum them up in three phrases: Physically exhausting, emotionally draining, and mentally challenging. And so, how to deal? Here are a few survival tips gathered from moms who have been there, done that, and not just survived but flourished.
Listen to your body. Whether you’ve just had a caesarean operation or a vaginal birth, your body has just birthed a human being, and thus deserves the time it needs to heal and recover. There’s a lot of pressure on modern moms to bounce back as though to deliver a baby is just like getting over the common cold, but the truth is that the post-operation pains, wherever they may be, require intentional rest. If you are tempted to start cleaning the house, jump back into exercise, go back to work sooner than you need to, think twice about whether this decision will truly benefit yourself, and your baby.
Allow yourself to experience a wide range of emotions. Post-birth, women continue to experience hormonal changes…and some even say, to a more intense degree. One day you feel happy and high on the love for your newborn, and another day you are in tears because the baby won’t stop crying and you can’t seem to get anything right. That’s okay. Find an outlet or these emotions by talking to a trusted friend or by journaling.
Ask for help. Nobody expects you to get motherhood right on your first week. As a new parent, there will be a period during which you really feel like you don’t know what on earth you are doing and that is totally okay. You will get the hang of it! In the meantime, to avoid going completely crazy, lean on the people around you…your husband, you sister, your mom, your baby’s yaya. Ask for advice on how best burp your baby after she feeds, or ask for a reliever (even if just for a few hours) if you spent the entire night feeding, and trying to get your baby to sleep.
Difficulties aside, caring for a newborn baby is also a beautiful experience. It is this precious period in time where you and your baby are given this wonderful opportunity to get to know each other. And as they like to say, the days may feel long but the years are short…so, no matter how challenging some moments may be, be try to stay positive and focus on the blessing this new baby is for your family.
For more tips for new moms, click here: