Dear New Mom,
If you transitioned into being a new mom pretty easily, this article is not for you. Just stop reading, close the tab. If you are within the first six to eight weeks of having your baby and your reality sucks a wee bit, or even a whole lot, this is for you because not only have I experienced some of this and I talk to childbearing people every single day. I know. I see you. I hear you..
I say the following in prenatal classes ALL the time so I am just going to plop it here so that you remember this as you read on:
"Somewhere in your childbearing year there will be a challenge, a very major challenge. Some people have problems getting pregnant, or staying pregnant. Some have truly crappy pregnancies or terrible labour/birth experiences while others struggle with breastfeeding. Some parents are blown away with mood disorders and others just really don't adapt to their new life. Every person sees a challenge. It shapes us into the new person we need to be."
Just remember this as you read on.
Some of the common crappy feelings stem from:
- body shape/image
- disappointment in birth experience
- recovery from birth is tougher than you thought
- disappointment in partner regarding birth support or shared parenting
- cracked nipples and/or breastfeeding troubles
- loss of social life or work friends or changes in
- a high maintenance baby
- other people's assumptions, advice or bad information
- postpartum mood disorders (depression, anxiety, ocd, etc.)
- thyroid function
What's The Bug?
The first thing you need to do is figure out what is bugging you, exactly, and why. For women, particularly, the easiest way to do this is to talk to someone you trust and that's sometimes hard to do. You need to find the person that you can explore this with, who will not give you advice or information - you want someone to just listen so you can find your way through it. You don't need judgement, you don't need a problem solver, you need a listener. If you are too scared to give this a whirl, or you don't have that person, try journaling or drawing - but explore the root of the problem. It's hard, but you can do it.
I know. For some of you, you are snail slow in what you are doing or accomplishing based on your own standards.. For you, I mean, slow the negative thoughts, slow the expectations and change your reality. Just slow it all down. For the rest of you who are within the first eight weeks of birthing and are out shopping, or walking/running, stop. Just slow down. Give yourself some time to adapt to your new role instead of running around like you used to but with a baby in tow. It takes time to adjust. The biggest gift you can give yourself and this child is a lower pace for a couple of months. Trust me, it helps in the long run even if it is tough to do now.
The Mom Word
All of a sudden, really, like a blur - you are someone's mother. How do you feel about the word? Does this now make you responsible for another person? Are you old? Are you different? Do you see your partner as someone's parent? How do we embrace a change that we thought we wanted but the reality of this life is not what we expected?
Expectation Vs. Reality
How has the parenting world unfolded for you? Sometimes we need someone in our corner at the time of birth and we feel like our chosen person missed the boat. Sometimes the reality of our new lifestyle just doesn't meet our expectations. A lot of the time, our partner's relationship with either us or the baby just does't match what we envisioned and we become upset because it is all wrapped up in so many other feelings. Please know that there are many people out there just like you - click on the picture below!
Sorry About Your Phone
You just have to put it down. We have plans like the 24 Hour Cure or the 15 Minute Plan. None of this includes your phone. Live like your grandma did, when she was a new parent, in this new era of your life. Just for a while.
Practical Help Tips
Hire a Postpartum Doula
Let Grandma Help
Try Paper Plates or a Laundry Service
Find An In-Person New Parent Group (for after lying-in period)
Contact Your Prenatal Series Classmates
Go To Baby and Me Yoga (for after lying-in period)
Remember what I say in prenatal class. There is going to a challenge. If this new parenting thing is your challenge, I am here to tell you, that there is a way through and you will get through this. Feel free to comment below with the word 'READY' to let us know that you are ready to stop feeling crappy.
Hugs to you New Mom,