No matter how much you prepare for motherhood, nothing prepares you like living it firsthand. That goes for both the good parts and the messy parts. And if you know what to expect – the good and the bad – you’ll be more prepared. Here are 10 truths about the first year of being a new mom that others may not have told you about yet.
You might also be interested in 10 pregnancy hacks every expectant mom should now found HERE.
Bringing a baby home for the first time can be a bit of a shock. Suddenly you and your partner are on your own with a newborn. What are you even supposed to do?
In the hospital, you had nurses, lactation consultants, and pediatricians checking on you all day. But once you’re discharged and headed home, reality can hit you pretty quickly. Between diaper changes, feedings, and a new lack of sleep you didn’t even know was possible, being a new parent can be a tough adjustment at first!
Another one of the truths about the first year of being a new mom is about the connection you have with your baby. While some moms may have an instant connection with their newborn, it’s totally normal to not experience love at first sight. You will obviously love them because they are yours. But when your life becomes consumed with taking care of a baby without much in return at first, it’s okay if you don’t feel completely over the moon in love yet. Give it time.
After you give birth, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop drastically usually around day three post-birth. This can cause mood swings, sadness, anxiety, and irritability. These feelings should resolve in about ten days or less. If they don’t, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the possibility of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.
Another one of the truths about the first year of being a new mom is that it’s a LOT of work. Who knew a baby that only eats, sleeps, cries, and poops could be so much to handle? But you will soon enough find out that newborns (and even older babies) take a lot of time out of your day. Trying to figure out when they’re hungry, how to get them to sleep, why they’re crying, and obsessing over if they are pooping and peeing enough will feel like a full-time job.
Since babies take so much time, it’s normal to have a hard time finding the time for yourself like you used to. Don’t be surprised if everyday tasks like showering and going to the bathroom by yourself become luxuries. Having someone you trust to watch your baby while you take some time for yourself can be a game-changer. While it might be hard to ask for help, there is no shame in it!
Becoming a mom can be all-consuming, and it can be difficult to make time for the other people in your life, while you are getting the hang of being a parent. Friends, family, and even your partner may take a back seat. Some of the people in your life will have to accept that you are in a new season of life, but it is important to keep the relationships most important to you (like your partner) in mind and be thoughtful of their feelings and needs.
No one really talks about how difficult breastfeeding can be. Sure, it comes naturally to some, but for the majority, it takes a lot of trial and error, patience, and practice. Feeding your baby and making sure they are getting enough during a feeding can quickly become overwhelming. If you are choosing to breastfeed, it does get easier after the first few weeks. But, if feeding your baby begins to take a toll on your mental health, remember that formula has come a long way since it was first developed, and it is okay to feed it to your baby.
If you’re a new parent, you have probably been told to “sleep while the baby sleeps.” This is next to impossible, especially if you have other children! You’ll find that when the baby sleeps, it’s your time to take a shower, eat a meal, or do some housework. As you get to know your baby better and their schedule becomes a little more predictable, you’ll find a routine that works for you (it might just not include an afternoon nap like you’d prefer).
That feeling of leaving your baby for the first time can bring on a lot of emotions. Excitement to have a moment to feel like the old you, wondering if they’ll be okay, and guilt for leaving them. Mom guilt can creep in even at times when you’re not leaving your baby. It can appear at any time and make you feel like you’re not enough, or make you worry that you’ll make a mistake. Spoiler: there is no such thing as a perfect mom. You ARE enough and there is no better mama for your baby than you!
The final truth about the first year of being a new mom is that this stage doesn’t last forever. Yes, your baby will sleep through the night someday, and soon not need to be held all the time. Your baby will be able to feed themself eventually. It may be hard to fathom it while you’re in the thick of it, but every phase of motherhood comes to an end (and fairly quickly).
A lot of these truths listed are about the difficult parts of motherhood. These shouldn’t surpass the good parts though (there are a lot of them!).
And even during the difficult parts, motherhood is still single-handedly the greatest joy a woman can experience.
If you’re preparing to be a new mom, checkout my Amazon storefront where I have necessities for postpartum and more.
If you are soon to be a new mom and are looking for guidance and education leading up to your birth, check out my 1-1 doula services for some personalized support! OR – download my Bump and Birth Guides for all the good info you need to feel more confident in your birth!