By Patricia Gonzalez
Being a new mom is nothing short of overwhelming. No matter what your birth story involves, (an epidural or none, a c-section or a natural birth) you’ve just had possibly the most dramatic moment of your life. And rightfully so!
You did it mama, you carried a human life in your belly for 10 months and birthed that baby into life like a boss. Congratulations!
So what was it like, holding your baby in your arms for the first time? Was it blissful and heavenly? Or was it just downright scary? Perhaps it was a little bit of both?
That’s okay. Because however difficult your pregnancy or delivery may have been, it would be unfair for us to tell you that the hardest part is over. Sorry mama.
The truth is, you are just getting started. But we promise that motherhood is totally worth it.
Yes, welcome to the world of marathon feedings, diaper changes, sleepless nights, and emotional roller coasters. If you’re feeling like you are in over your head, or if you’re asking yourself if having a baby was really a good idea in general (let’s be honest!), we’ve put together 7 truths that seasoned mamas wish they had been told when they were navigating the throes of new motherhood.
It gets better. Hang in there, mama. The first two weeks of life are usually the roughest part of the newborn stage, with the newness of breastfeeding, diaper changing, and just the general tiredness of caring for a baby 24/7 filling up your days. But you’ll find your rhythm soon enough, and practice will eventually make all that feel like second nature.
It is okay to accept help. Many new moms struggle with the guilt of feeling like they should be the sole caregivers of their children. That is not true. It takes a village to raise a child, and human civilization itself developed all thanks to communities of people supporting one another. Allow those you trust, like your partner, your mom, your sister, or even an experienced caregiver to cover for you when you need a break or run errands. Accept the help to get the rest you need in order to regain whatever energy to better care for your baby.
Motherhood is intuitive. The desperation that comes with the cluelessness of new motherhood does tend to push new mamas into devouring as much information as they can. Unfortunately, too much information also becomes a source of anxiety. You don’t need that. Research and advice from the experts is great, but also know that you can trust your gut. Consult when necessary, but if advice makes you uncomfortable, feel free to say no.
Motherhood looks different for everybody. Social media and the picture perfect lives many women promote often become a source of insecurity for new moms, who are usually dressed in their pyjamas the entire day. “Why does motherhood look so easy for her? How did she lose her baby weight so fast? If I see another photo of this woman’s crazy milk supply I will scream!” Truly, comparison is the thief of joy. If you need to get off social media to take care of your emotional well-being to do so, please do it.
Don’t forget that a world exists outside of your nursery. In relation to the previous point, resist the temptation to waste your days idly scrolling through the feed of your mobile phone. Keep abreast of current events, and be intentional about stimulating your mind while feeding or resting. Numerous websites and podcasts offer compelling content that can keep you sharp, perfect for the moments you begin to feel isolated or bored.
These are growing pains. You will grow in ways you never knew you could! Many women swear by the fact that their ability to multi-task has only been enhanced by motherhood. You will surprise yourself by the number of things you will be able to do as a wife, mom, homemaker and working woman. Just think of this difficult time as your learning curve. Your capacities will stretch and grow along with your baby.
Welcome to the best years of your life. No matter how challenging these days are, the joy of motherhood reveals itself in both the small moments and major milestones you will experience with your child. All of this sacrifice will prove to be worth it to the extent to which you allow your heart to grow, and the rewards that will come from knowing you have an amazing opportunity to love and raise a human being (who happens to look like you!) are amazing. Just be patient mama.
And hang in there. We promise it is all worth it.
Patricia Gonzalez is MOMCENTER’s Editor. She has two adorable daughters–ages 1 and 2, and is married to a man who inspires her to be a better woman everyday.
She is a woman on a mission, and believes that motherhood is not limiting, but empowering. Join her on her journey by following her on instagram at @patriciaogonzalez.