5 New Mom Truths I Wish I Had Known
Updated: Apr 15, 2019
Before embarking on the journey of motherhood.
Daniel and I waited about 7 years before having a baby. We did US for a long time. I've definitely mentioned this before and with that being said, there were a lot of HARD-learned lessons that came with motherhood for me.
Because why? To be totally truthful, we were living selfish lives, until we started to feel the selfishness weigh in. Our lives started to feel a little pointless and we felt the call to be fruitful.
But that didn't mean we were prepared. HA!
So, here are 5 Mom Truths I wish I had known before I came home with my sweet new baby.
1. Postpartum Hormones
The first time the truth of immediate postpartum hormones hit me was during our first pediatrician's visit. This visit was 6 days after Sienna was born (the visit usually happens 3 to 5 days after birth, but since Sienna had to spend 5 days in the NICU, it was pushed back).
As I was explaining Sienna's NICU visit to her pediatrician (first time I was meeting her as well), I started to feel tears well up in my eyes. We weren't talking about anything that was sad or upsetting, but the tears, they were coming.
Sienna had to get some sort of blood test right after seeing her doctor and we had to sit in another waiting room and when we got to that room, that was it, I was done holding it together. I started crying, SOBBING UNCONTROLLABLY. It was nothing like I had never felt before and I thought I was going insane.
I was so embarrassed. My eyes were SO RED.
I calmed down after we got home, but I was so confused.
I had my postpartum visit with my doula the next day and I described what happened. She thought about it for a second and told me, that sounded about right. She said that most breastfeeding moms have a similar experience during the first week of giving birth. It's hormones going crazy because it's trying to adjust to not being pregnant and breastfeeding. She said my emotional breakdown was actually delayed because of Sienna's NICU stint (since I couldn't properly breastfeed until after she was 3 days old) and that this rush of hormones and emotions was COMPLETELY NORMAL.
And guess what? The tears didn't really stop after that, for about a week or two.
Y'all, I really wish I had known what to expect with postpartum hormones. I felt like a wreck every time I cried. I felt like a failure, for some reason. I felt weak.
So, NEW MOM TRUTH -- You WILL cry. You will cry for no reason. You will cry at the littlest thing. You'll even cry when you have visitors, and sometimes visitors will be WAY TOO MUCH. Also, sometimes visits from family will be harder to handle than friends. AND IT IS ALL OK. Cry it out and let it go. You are NOT WEAK. You are NOT CRAZY. You do NOT have postpartum depression (more about this in another post, there are other markers for PPD than just crying). The crying will slowly fade off, I promise!
2. You'll lose yourself for a bit & that's ok.
I asked my friends this when I was pregnant. And I got a truth that I didn't want to hear.
"Will I lose myself as a person, when I become a mom?"
They ALL said yes and I was truly terrified.
And want to know what I found? It's true. Particularly in those first 3 months.
And that's ok. Don't be scared. You've lived your life for yourself for this many years, 3 months won't kill you. It'll be so hard to let go, but you'll make it.
This baby will take all of you. In all ways. Take your sleep, take your sanity, take your love, take your energy.
But get this. When you become a mom, you will give it. You won't even bat an eyelash and you'll give all of it. You won't even realize how much you're giving until your baby is like.. 9 months... ha, more about that in another post too.
You'll never be the same again but the person that you'll become though, will be the most amazing 2.0 version of yourself. You'll discover depths of yourself that you never knew were there and it's the most beautiful journey.
So here's what I say, when you're in those new mom months, try and make a small effort to do what you can to feel like you every day. Even if it's ONE THING.
This seems simple, but it's actually much easier said than done. I didn't do enough of it, to be honest. I wish I had been able to really understand this at the time.
What I did for me was get a shower. Showering was my thing. Showering was MY TIME. Oh, and I worried so much about what would happen if Sienna cried during my shower, and looking back, I wish I hadn't worried!
Examples of what you can do:
- Putting on makeup
- Curling your hair
- Walking outside (by yourself or with your baby)
- Having some time by yourself while you drink a cup of tea/coffee.
- Changing OUT of those PJs (I didn't do this haha, I should have!)
- Play a game on your phone
- Read a chapter of a book
NEW MOM TRUTH - Find one thing you can do for you each day that isn't related to your sweet newborn and it'll help you hold on to yourself a little bit in those first few months. If you don't do this everyday, that's ok too. Just try and do something for you every once in a while. Hand that baby off!!
3. Each day will feel like forever, so lean on your people.
Because this is SUCH a dramatic life change, each day will feel like forever because you'll live in 3 hour increments. You'll be all the things (exhausted, hungry, emotional, etc etc) that make you feel like you're being spread way too thin.
I mean, your lovely pregnant body was doing so so much when your newborn was in utero and now you've got to do the same thing, except that you can't just stand there. Ha! You'll lose track of time, and the sun will rise and you'll be like... IS it Saturday or Wednesday?
But get this, you're NOT ALONE. And you don't have to do this on all on your own, even if you feel like momhood is ALL ON YOU. Accept help, lean HARD on your spouse, let the people you love and trust hold your little one, it'll make it all go by so much faster.
NEW MOM TRUTH - This one can be a little hard to swallow but there's no secret to this besides accepting the fact that your time is not your own for the first three months. You need to let YOU go for a little bit. You've been charged with keeping this little sweet high needs potato-like thing alive, and he/she NEEDS YOU 100%. Accept that your life HAS changed, for the harder but for the better. And on top of that, you need to realize that it really does take a village. Let your village in! I had beautiful friends bring food, bring breastmilk, bring extra baby supplies, even bring CLOTHES! I love them all so much.
4. HOWEVER, this too shall PASS.
No lie, I legit told a friend that came over when she was less than a week old, through a breaking voice and tears, I said, "Can I put her back?"
It's humorous now, but even then, not really.
I was really feeling the life change in that moment, and in truth, I hadn't really understood what having a child meant until I was thrown right into it, so I felt true despair and feelings of panic and helplessness. Because I didn't know what I was doing, I had no control. I felt uncertain about everything and I felt like I was just treading water, trying to stay afloat. And I don’t deal with uncertainty very well.
People would come over and say, oh it gets so much better after 8 weeks.
You guys, when you're feeling all these feelings at Day 8, Day 56 sounds like an ETERNITY away.
After coming out ok on the other side, I'm here to encourage you and say IT DOES PASS. And no you don't have to "cherish these days", you just have to make it, however you can. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for WANTING your baby to sleep and wanting him/her to not cry. It doesn't mean you're not appreciating these fresh days, it just means that it's A LOT, and it's REALLY HARD.
And let me tell you why it gets better at 8 weeks. It's because YOU get better at momhood and your baby actually gets better at being a human. Yes, he/she will be better at communicating what they need and want, and you'll get better at understanding what your little human is saying.
NEW MOM TRUTH - You'll MAKE IT and you're AMAZING. And it's going to be OK. Even if ... through all 56 days, you feel totally out of it, insane and like you have no idea what you're doing and if you don't know if you're going to make it. You WILL. I promise. We all did. You will too.
5. Breastfeeding is HARD AF
Yeah girl. It's hard. SO HARD. It's almost like it's supposed to be this hard and breastfeeding is supposed to be this thing that brings moms together.
And I'm no expert. I cried a lot at the beginning, thinking I wasn't producing enough.
It's ok to want to give up.
BUT, if you CAN DO IT, breastmilk is THE MOST NUTRITIOUS and INTELLIGENT food you could ever give your baby. And it is a blessing to be able to, if you so wish to.
I don't have any breastfeeding advice (because I'm no expert) besides, if you want to breastfeed, STICK IT OUT! And also reach out to a lactation consultant, even if you don't feel like you have issues. You may surprised what you think is just a quirk of your baby or a small difficulty that you think is just part and parcel of breastfeeding, may be something that needs to be adjusted in the latch or something similar.
On a side note to women who choose to bottle feed and/or cannot breastfeed, you are AN AMAZING MOM and you're feeding your baby. No one is here to judge.
NEW MOM TRUTH - Breastfeeding ain't no joke, but once both of you get the hang of it, you'll love it. PLUS any amount of breastfeeding is good. Whether you did it for 3 days or 3 months. YOU GOT THIS.
I hope that, if you're a soon-to-be mom, you've not been scared off by these honest truths! These are just some of the things I wish I had prepared myself for a little bit more. Since I had to learn this the hard way, maybe this will give you an idea/jumpstart of what to expect, so you're not as shell shocked as I was, ha! And if you're a brand new mom, I hope that some of this resonated with you!
Love you, ladies!!