I would be lying if I said being the mom of a newborn was full of rainbows and butterflies- because for me it was quite the opposite. The fear, worry, lack of control, and insecurity in it all was a lot to handle. The miraculous part is that you still start each day with a little being who loves you unconditionally no matter what kind of roller-coaster you feel you're on.
So as I prepare for the arrival of my second, I am thankful for the lessons I have learned along the way. I am also proud that I gave myself permission to grow into the kind of parent that felt right to me.
Here are the top 5 things I learned being a first time mom...
1. IF your baby won't sleep on anything but you or your partner- it doesn't mean you are doing something wrong. Think about it- your little baby has just spent 9 months inside a uterus, with human smells and sounds- it's what makes them feel most safe. This is the number one thing that families I work with ask me about because almost all newborns I have met would rather be with someone than alone.
2. Sleeping when baby sleeps- day and night- doesn't make you an unproductive slob. Take your shut eye when you can, whether you are resting or actually fall asleep- the hours add up and make a huge difference on your overall functioning and wellbeing.
3. Asking for help doesn't make you weak. Trust me, as and ND and at the time, a lactation medicine student, I thought I had it all covered. It was extremely difficult for me to reach out and ask for help when I needed it, but boy did it save my life! Looking back, you will never regret reaching out- but you will regret having not done so.
4. Turning visitors away doesn't make you rude. There are times in your life when you are allowed to be selfish- the postpartum period is one of them! You will have eager visitors lined up to see you, but take as much time as you need to connect with your little one and process the new life path you are on. Take as much time as YOU need.
5. When you feel like you don't understand your baby, it doesn't mean you're not a good mother. You will figure it out in time (give yourself time) while doing your best along the way. That is all that matters.
I heard a quote recently that I felt was spot on in describing the experience of being a new mom, "The days are long but the years are short". A gentle reminder for us to savour the moments we get, even amidst the chaos.