Motherhood is a beautiful yet stressful time in our lives. It is filled with more love than you can ever imagine, but at the same time you don't recognize yourself or your new role. It's okay to have all the feelings. We all do even if we don't talk about them. Here are some things I wish someone would have told me about motherhood.
You will find yourself again!
It doesn't happen right away, and it may be a different version of yourself, but with time you will feel whole again. You will get to shower and get dressed and even drink your full cup of coffee before it cools. You're in the thick of it right now, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
You will sleep again!
After baby is back to birthweight, stop looking at the clock when you wake up at night. It's exhausting and defeating, and babies are not supposed to sleep long periods of time in the beginning. A lot of people make a lot of money from sleep consulting, but in my experience, a lot of sleep patterns are engrained in your baby no matter what type of training you do. It will get better, and you and your baby will sleep!
Stop comparing yourself to others!
This is your own unique experience, no one else's. Each mom and baby go through different stages at different times, and that is okay. All babies are different: different sleep patterns, feeding patterns and personalities. Just because one mom gets a baby who doesn't sleep long stretches or is more fussy, doesn't mean that baby isn't a "good" baby. All babies are good babies! And remember that social media shows the good parts of people's lives; the real parts aren't photographed with beautifully thought-out captions. We all go through hard times, I promise. You are not alone!
The sweating, milk leaking and tears will all slow.
Those early postpartum days feel messy and exhausting. Once the hormones level off and you get into a new routine, things will start to come together.
Give yourself grace!
Becoming a mom is hard. The laundry and cleaning can wait. Let yourself take a shower, drink your cup of hot coffee or take a nap. Everything else will get done eventually.
Ask for help!
Everyone wants to hold a baby, but you have other things that need to be done. Have a list of chores that people can come over and do for you. Cook meals, do laundry or clean, so you can rest and recover.
And some more than others. Remember, crying is how babies communicate with us and tell us they need something. Some babies are more sensitive than others and cry more often.
Have a community!
Have friends whom you know and trust on speed dial. Have your support systems and know who they are before baby arrives. My sister was a wealth of knowledge after my first was born.
You want to look back on motherhood and enjoy it. A lot of time is wasted on worrying and overthinking. Trust yourself and your intuitions when it comes to your baby. You know them better than anyone else! If something feels off, reach out for help or advice. And if things feel harder than they should be for you, reach out to someone you trust. Sometimes we need help, and that is okay
Kelsey RN, BSN, IBCLC