I’m sure you’ve had conversations with those in your life about your new journey, but I want to get a little more intimate, from one first-time mom to another. Maybe you’ve already come to learn, but becoming a parent and caring for a young child is an interesting journey. By interesting I mean that nothing quite prepares you for it like truly experiencing it on a daily basis. It can be as stressful as it is rewarding. No matter what your personal experience is, I want to check in with you to see how you’re doing and offer some words of encouragement along with a few tips.
Who Is Expecting the Arrival of Her First Child
Congratulations! You may be experiencing a range of emotions in preparation for the day your child is born. From pregnancy books to birthing courses, there are many avenues of tips you can expect to come across. In fact, it can feel overwhelming to know how much information is available.
Advice on Pregnancy Books , Birthing Courses & Online Mom Groups
If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have purchased so many pregnancy books and birthing courses. I ended up relying on one book and one course that made me feel at ease about my entire experience. If you can, try to invest in a book or course that makes you feel comfortable about what to expect.
The same sentiment applies to discussion boards meant to connect mothers. There are a number of them that exist and it can be tempting to join all of them. On one hand, it can be great to connect with others who may be in a similar situation. On the other, the many opinions can become overwhelming. You don’t have to join a discussion board if you don’t want to. You can also ask your OB-GYN about pregnancy/mom support groups that may be in your area if you’re looking for some IRL connections.
When it comes to your baby registry, try to ask for things that you feel you will actually need for your baby. I can’t tell you what that may look like, but I can tell you it needs to make sense to you. It’s very easy to put things on a registry you find yourself not using four to six months after the baby arrives. To help minimize potential clutter, sit down and ask yourself what the most important things are that will help the baby become adjusted to the outside world.
Birth and Postpartum Expectations
Lastly, try not to stress about things being perfect for the baby’s arrival. It took me one week to realize my son didn’t care if he had perfectly matching receiving blankets or “going home” outfits. All he cared about was snuggling, eating, and feeling safe. Had I focused on that, I probably wouldn’t have been so hard on myself for not having an actual nursery set up for him.
It’s hard not to have doubts and expect things to be a certain way, but parenting a child will definitely make you realize that things won’t always go according to plan.
Who Just Gave Birth
If I could give you the biggest virtual hug, I would. For some moms, this stage can be extremely difficult. Who am I kidding? It’s not easy for anyone. This is the time when hormone levels decrease, bodies heal, and overall adjustments are being made. As exciting as it is to finally have your baby home, can we talk about how postpartum moms only receive one postpartum checkup at six weeks? You deserve way more than a check-up or a green light to have sex (though, of course, there’s nothing wrong with anticipating the moment you’re able to have sex again). But postpartum recovery doesn’t end after one doctor’s appointment.
Ask for Help
My biggest piece of advice for you is to not be afraid to ask for help. I’m not just referring to diaper changes or a moment to take a shower either. If you have a hard time asking for help, it doesn’t mean you are unable to care for your child. This is not a stage that is meant to be navigated perfectly or rushed through.
Check in With Yourself
If you suspect you may be struggling with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) or Postpartum Depression (PPD), talk about it with your partner or trusted support person and reach out to your primary care provider. You don’t get a reward for suffering silently no matter how many memes suggest moms are “superheroes.”
In the event it’s recommended you take medication to help you navigate the postpartum period, understand that you are not a bad parent. Even moms with more than one child are susceptible to struggling during this stage whether they did with prior children or not.
Take Time to Heal
In addition to taking care of your mental health, focusing on your body’s healing is equally important. If you experienced a vaginal birth, I have one word for you: padsicles. Know them and love them because they are going to become your best friends. Sometimes, vaginas tear or swell during the birthing process. Sometimes, you experience hemorrhoids for the first time. Padsicles to the rescue.
There will also be many moments where you deal with sleepless nights. Even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, you will be able to find moments where you can rest. And again, ask for help to get some sleep.
There’s so much more I can say, but we’d be here forever.
Whose Baby Is Turning One
Can you believe how much time has passed? Sometimes, I still can’t believe the same baby I grew inside me is now a bustling toddler. It’s true when people tell you to enjoy the moments because they are fleeting. I still have moments where I experience frustration, but I try to slow down and marvel at my growing child.
They help us remain present, especially given the fact that we’re probably carrying 50 million tasks in our brain. With so much to remember, it can be easy to remain stuck in our minds. Since I’m right here in this stage with you, my hope is that we’ll remember to slow down and actively watch our children go through the many stages of being a toddler.
Funnily enough, as I’m typing this, my son just pushed his activity table over to me and handed me a small fireman toy from his truck. He usually only wants to play for a few minutes before crawling away to something he feels is more interesting. I could be frustrated that he’s “interrupting” me, or I can set my laptop down for those few minutes and be present. Some nights, the laptop wins, and other nights, I find that I can make the time to play.
If no one has told you this, playing is good for us moms too. It helps us remember not to take life as seriously, which is hard. But if we can set aside just a few minutes to play with our babies and maybe even have solo play time, I like to think it benefits everyone to see mom with a smile on her face.
Plus, children are here to remind us to find joy in the little things. They seem born ready to explore the world in wide-eyed amazement. If we can find a way to see the world through a child’s eyes, then we’re sure to remember how precious our journeys are as first-time moms.
As you continue navigating motherhood, there are so many things to look forward to. Whether this is your only child or you plan to have more, there’s something special about your firstborn. As the quote says, when a baby is born, so too is a mother. You are doing great considering being a mom doesn’t come with a manual that is guaranteed to work or is one size fits all. Will you make mistakes? Probably. But being a mom isn’t about perfection. It’s about showing up and loving the babies we have the best way we know how. If we have to unlearn things in the process, so be it. We will learn alongside our little ones and they will love us as we grow and evolve together.