My Best Advice for New Moms
Becoming a mom is the most magical thing in the world! Looking back on being newly postpartum, there are a few things I wish I had known. Here are some of my best pieces of advice for mamas-to-be and new moms.
1. You might have BIG feelings
When I was first postpartum, I was shocked at how strong and big my feelings were. In one moment I felt this massive love that filled my heart to bursting and made me weep. In the next minute, I’d feel a massive sense of anxiety and fear sweep over me that could bring me to my knees. There were times my husband would ask me why I was crying and I honestly couldn’t tell him why. As your hormone levels begin to even out, this is totally and completely normal.
Never EVER be afraid to talk to someone about how you are feeling. There is zero shame in experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety. I know it’s easy to read these words and think, “Of course there’s no shame in it,” but in the moment it can be SO hard to acknowledge and sort out exactly what you’re feeling. Know that it’s ok to ask for help.
2. YOU get to decide whether or not you want visitors
Mama, as the person who just birthed a child Y-O-U get to decide who visits you and when you’re comfortable with it. Your body will go through a lot bringing your little babe into this world and you’ll be sore, exhausted and trying to figure out this new mama life. It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed. If you aren’t ready to have guests in your hospital room or home, do not feel guilty about it. If you are up for guests, for the love of all things, don’t feel like you have to do a single thing! You don’t have to shower, you don’t have to clean up the house, you don’t even have to get fully dressed if you don’t want to. P.s. If you decide to breastfeed, you’re pretty much going to be naked from the waist up for a while… 😉 Plus, this is a really precious time for you and your partner to bond with baby. Soak it all up!
When I first had Lucy, I felt like I needed to acknowledge and accept everyone’s request to come see us and it was TOO much. Next time around, I have NO guilt about setting some boundaries. After all, if I’m pushing a baby out of my vagina (or having my abdomen cut open to have a baby taken out), and I’m dealing with all the aftermath of that, I think I’ve earned the right to decide who witnesses me in all my postpartum glory.
3. It’s ok to ask for help
Just as it’s ok to say that you need space, it is also 100% ok to reach out and ask for help. Tell your partner how they can best support you. Reach out to family members and friends to come over so you can take a nap or a shower. Allow yourself to get out of the house for a little bit to take a breather.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow mama friends!! Even if it’s just sending someone a text message – believe me, nothing makes a mama happier than feeling like they are able to help another mama through a struggle she herself has walked through.
4. Find a supportive network
The first 6 weeks of Lucy’s life, I was struggling, and I felt like in order to be a “good mom,” I needed to pretend like I had it all together and was totally nailing the new mom thing. I wasn’t nailing it, and who could blame me? I’d never been a mom before and babies don’t exactly come with manuals. The thing that SAVED me was finding a breastfeeding support group. When I was sitting in a room with other new moms hearing them say things I thought I was struggling with all on my own, it was such an incredible relief.
5. You are NEVER alone in this
Speaking of which, you are never, EVER alone in what you are feeling. As I labored with Lucy, I kept telling myself the mantra that thousands of women all over the world were laboring with me. In all of the sleepless nights, feelings of doubt, and wondering if you’re making the right decisions, I can promise you there is another mama out there walking through it, too. Those women will help you carry your burdens and they will certainly celebrate your joys alongside you, too!