It’s taken 15 months, but I can now see and admit that I often felt lost and alone those first few (6!) months after giving birth to Kaiden. I had tons of support from family and friends, but I was in my own head a lot. Am I doing ok? Is Kaiden big enough? Is he meeting his milestones? What if something happens to Kaiden? To Vishnu? To me? Simply put, I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and constantly questioning everything.
I now know this is very normal. I mean, think about the before, during, and after of new motherhood. It’s intense…to say the least!
Also since giving birth to K, I’ve thought a lot about what I would say to other news moms to [even slightly] reduce their anxiousness around the journey they’re about to start. It’s hard because every journey, every mom, and every baby is so different. That’s the beauty of it, but nonetheless, I would want my new mama friends to know that I see them.
So this one’s for you, new mamas…
I see you, new mama…walking around like a zombie. Ugh, sleep deprivation! Trust me it will get easier. While you may never sleep as deeply again (you know, the whole heart walking around outside of you thing!), your new family will find its own rhythm. And I know it’s annoying when everyone and their mom says this, but try to sleep when the baby sleeps (at least a few times a week).
I see you, new mama…struggling to feed your baby. Anxious if your baby is getting enough milk if you’re breastfeeding. Anxious about pumping and feeling like a human cow. Anxious about offering formula. I see you, and I want you to know it will be ok. You will figure it out one way or another. And take it from me, fed is best. Formula is not the devil. Do what’s best for you and your baby.
I see you, new mama…struggling to connect with your significant other. Vishnu and I have a pretty strong relationship, but it’s definitely changed a lot since Kaiden was born. Pre-baby, we had all the time we wanted/needed to hang out, talk, and do things to strengthen our connection. Now all of that takes a bit more work and energy. In the early days, we were definitely a good team. But there are no practice sessions when it comes to parenthood. You literally jump into the game and play your heart out for the rest of your life. So with that being said, it took a while to figure out what works for us. When to pass the ball, when to run…you get it! Our playbook changes every now and then, but we’re more agile than before. It takes time, my friend. The one thing I can say is communicate, communicate, communicate. Neither one of you is a mind reader, and this new third wheel may throw things off for a bit. But keep talking and acknowledging each other.
I see you, new mama…worrying about the future. This is probably the #1 thing I struggled with on a day-to-day basis. The unknown future. It’s so scary to think about, especially when the most precious thing in your life is a little human who depends on you completely. But I promise, it will be ok. As I like to say now, the future you doesn’t exist yet, but the present you does, so take care of her so she can take care of her baby. And everything will happen as it should in due course. Don’t give away your present joys for the unknown. Take it from me…it’s not worth it.
I see you, new mama…feeling vulnerable. Not only do you now have a new baby, but you also gained a new body and a new mind/brain. Everything is different now, so I don’t blame you for feeling vulnerable. I did and still do to this day. But again, please cut yourself some slack. You grew a human inside of you for 9+ months. You created a freaking miracle. It will and should take 9+ months to get back to you. A new you, I should say. Even though the feeling of vulnerability won’t just go away, you are a lot stronger than you think you are you. You were meant to be your baby’s mama, and you are just who he/she needs. Don’t forget that!
I see you, new mama…trying to be supermom/wife/everything. PLEASE try your hardest to remove this label off your back. I’m not saying you’re not super, because you are. I want you to take that pressure off because you’re human. You will make mistakes, and you’ll learn from them. You will let people down, and you’ll learn to be ok with that (and so will they). You will need to rest, and you’ll learn to ask for help. But only if you remember that you too, like the rest of your family and friends, are a human being. And if this just doesn’t resonate, remember that your kid needs a happy mama, not a perfect one. It’s absolutely a must to throw away the superXXX label and take care of yourself. I can’t stress this enough.
Above all else, new mama, I hope you know you’ve got this! It won’t be easy, but there’s no one better for the job.