By Guest on August 17, 2012 2

Reflections From a New Mom

This is a guest post by Leah Innis. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out our guest post guidelines.

It’s often said, but the transition into motherhood was both the best and one of the most challenging times in my life. After the arrival of my son, I could not imagine my life without him. The blessings and overwhelming love I felt for him were so real.

So were the baby blues. The transition, for me, encompassed many emotions I never realized I would feel as a new mom. I didn’t expect joy and happiness to parallel feelings like anxiety or guilt. I quickly learned the paradox of new life and recovery—and how it occurs during one of the most fragile and precious moments of life.

Yet, now that I have been through a small piece of the parenting puzzle, I can reflect back on what helped me through the transition. So often, it seems advice is given for how to care for a baby, but the mom (and dad!) are left out of the equation. For me, it helped most to know that others had been through the same thing. My hope is that my story can help encourage new moms like me.

Here are my reflections after 10 weeks:

  1. It’s OK to cry. We were not made to feel 13 emotions at one time. It is overwhelming, but it will pass. It might take time.
  2. Get out of the house once each day. The sunlight and change of scenery is so nice, and babies tend to like this also. If the weather isn’t favorable, go to Target (some of my son’s best naps happened there!).
  3. Find other moms to connect with and share ideas.
  4. Always have snacks on hand.
  5. Be honest with your doctor about your questions, emotions and physical healing.
  6. No overnight visitors until at least one month.
  7. Let the guilt go. (This one is tough.)
  8. Turn off the phone.
  9. Try to document or record important events. It’s fun to look back on the memories! Write out a birth story (but, OK, sugarcoat the TMI stuff a little) even if you want to be the only person to read it.
  10. Laugh!
  11. Work out a schedule (if you’re a scheduled type of person) for the day and work in quiet time or break time for yourself and your husband.
  12. Don’t feel bad if you want alone time.
  13. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want alone time.
  14. It’s not anyone’s business how you feed your baby.
  15. Let go of your expectations. Life does not always go as planned.
  16. Be proud of the successes (even if it’s a trip to the grocery store for the first time or figuring out how to put on a Moby wrap).
  17. Call for help from professionals…even at midnight. Bonus points if your call is transferred to the on-call physician.
  18. Remember to thank those who supported you through meals, gifts and words of encouragement, and pay it forward to another new mom.
  19. Don’t run out of Diet Coke.
  20. All other things can wait. It might feel selfish, but work, family trips and housework can happen another day. Holding your baby cannot.

Most of all, take advice given (such as this!) for what it is. Luckily, you will forget most of the advice you’re solicited. Only you know what to do; and your baby loves you for this.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23

 

Facebook Discussion

Facebook Discussion

Guest

  1. I am due November 17th and my in-laws are coming for the week of Thanksgiving. This has been the plan since they found out I was pregnant, but I am a little worried about it now. They are absolutely wonderful and I am excited they get to see the baby, but I feel like I will need the first few weeks to find myself as a new mom and get adjusted without any visitors. You mentioned no overnight visitors for the first month. Can you expand on your thoughts about that a little?

  2. Hi Elizabeth,,

    First and most important, congratulations on your upcoming arrival! Through talking with other moms I have learned that everyone’s experience is different. Family and visitors can be a true blessing through help and encouragement as a new mom.

    Visitors were never a bother to me, but I found that I liked to be alone and do things on my own. This is just who I am…but because I have a hard time accepting help, I wonder if this increased some of my anxiety? I worried about my guests’ sleep, as our nursery is next to the guest room and I was nervous about how each night would go. Looking back, this is a silly thing to worry about.

    My reflections are personal to my experiences, so you might find that overnight guests don’t cause this same worry for you. I struggled with wanting privacy, especially as I was figuring out breastfeeding. I spent a lot of time nursing and pumping trying to increase supply and sometimes I felt lonely being behind a closed door for so long. I felt a bit guilty, too, that my son wasn’t with family or friends who were visiting. If you have overnight guests, it can be helpful for you if you feel comfortable nursing in the same room as your guests if you choose to breastfeed. Family can make good overnight guests for this reason, plus you might find that you appreciate if they are able to cook, help with housework, or hold the baby while you rest. Ultimately, trust your instincts. I wanted alone time, while I am sure other new moms prefer to have company. Sometimes it is hard to know what you want until the time comes:). If you think about privacy vs. having help, hopefully you will find the path that will bring you the most peace with your decision. Best wishes!

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