I hit a feels-big-to-me milestone this week as I said hello to the 30 week mark in this pregnancy. I can remember when I was just barely out of my first trimester and still feeling super sick, I saw a friend post on Instagram about being 30 weeks and immediately wished that I, too, was already 30 weeks. Now of course it feels like it happened in the blink of an eye. As I do get closer to d-day for this little one, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about Parker’s first few months. The first three weeks were actually surprisingly calm. My mom was in town for the first week and a half and Parker and I even survived our first couple of days solo without her or Aaron. At three weeks, though, we hit a couple of bumps in the road with feeding and I suddenly found myself googling anything and everything related to breastfeeding and pumping. As a new mom, it felt like seemingly small issues could just consume you and steal the joy out of what is such a fleeting phase anyways. I had babysat and nannied my way through life for so many years, but now this was my babe and I so desperately wanted to feel like I was doing the absolute best job 100% of the time, which I’ve learned, is a totally unreasonable expectation. For this round of our Real Talk series we thought we would dive into what it looks like to find your confidence as a new mom. So from the perspective of trial and error, here’s what I found in my own journey, though this will certainly vary from mama to mama and baby to baby. I’m actually very much looking forward to the other perspectives on this topic as I get ready to embark on newborn life, part two. (Be sure to check out the other posts from Design for Mankind || A Daily Something || The Fresh Exchange || The Sweetest Occasion || Ave Styles || Apartment 34 || Oh Lovely Day || Design Addict Mom || The Life Styled)
Do what makes you happy: This is an unfounded and unscientific opinion, but I think happy babies have happy moms. So if walking to the coffee shop and getting a latte makes you happy, do it. However, if attending baby music class because you think you should do it for your baby doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. For me, I knew I had to get out of the house every day. (These were some of my favorite things to do in those early months.) If being out of the house stresses you out, though, don’t. Should you start to feel guilty about any of your decisions, just repeat after me, ” Happy babies have happy moms.”
Go with your gut: If you ask five different moms what they think about something, odds are you’ll get five different answers. I do believe in getting opinions and researching and reading about different topics, but at the end of the day don’t spiral or fixate on something too long, go with your gut and give it a chance to work.
Remind yourself that you are completely capable: People have been raising babies for hundreds of thousands of years, without the help of Google. You already have everything you need.
Don’t compare: You don’t have to give birth to, feed, or raise your baby the same way that your best friend / sister / neighbor does. Your values, opinions and experiences get to inform the decisions you make for yourself and this little precious life. Don’t feel guilty about not doing the thing that everyone else is doing.
Set Reasonable Expectations: Give yourself time to settle into this new mom thing. Don’t expect to be able to clean the house, make dinner from scratch, catch up on emails, and enjoy your baby all at the same time right out of the gate. Don’t expect to feel like your old self any time soon. I don’t think I really felt like myself for the first year after Parker. I remember thinking I felt like my old self and then months later looking back and realizing how much of a haze I was still in. Be patient with yourself.
Applaud yourself for the things that go right: Whether it’s a long nap, a healthy check up, or just a happy baby, take credit for it. You did that! You are awesome! You should be drinking out of a ‘World’s Best Mom’ mug right now! It will help balance things out the next time you’re troubleshooting a sleepless night or a cranky baby. When that happens, repeat after me, “Babies will be babies. This too shall pass.”
Take care of yourself: 20 minutes in the morning to take a shower and get ready to some extent goes a long way to adding some normalcy to your new routine. Make time to get your nails done or read a book or go on a date with your partner. Remember, happy babies have happy moms.
What did you find helped you to find your mom confidence? Any tips for other new moms out there?
You can read the rest of the posts in this series, here.