To the new mom,
I know how you feel. Being a new mom myself, I know things can get overwhelming very quickly. Everything is new, you have just met your new little bundle of joy for the very first time, your body has gone through a major trauma, and that new bundle of joy cannot communicate anything to you, yet they depend solely on you to sustain life.
Overwhelming is an understatement. Momma, I remember these feelings all too well. I remember the feeling of profuse joy and love that I felt when I first embraced my daughter after hours of labor.
I remember the immense amount of fear that also rushed over me once I realized it was time to learn and attempt breastfeeding. This was the moment it really sunk in that I was 100% responsible for another life.
I also remember the loneliness, tears and staggering sadness that came with postpartum depression and all the painful parts of recovery that no one talks about.
I remember the confusion and sleep deprivation that just can’t be put into words.
Needless to say, becoming a mom, feels like you’ve entered through this portal of a foreign universe and you’re expected to just fit in and know what to do.
In this letter to the new mom, I want all my new mommas to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This journey is so amazingly raw, confusing, beautiful, stressful, and foreign to all of us moms. Just breathe, you’ve got this. You were made for this.
It Gets Easier
Becoming a mom is the greatest joy I’ve ever felt in life, however, there are definitely some trying times that go along with it. Let me just start out with a few words of encouragement. It gets easier.
Every new mom starts out just as confused, uncertain and scared as the next. It’s understandable because all of a sudden we are responsible for this tiny fragile human who depends entirely on us and yet they can’t communicate in any way besides crying. This can be extremely stressful to say the least.
I remember bringing my daughter home from the hospital thinking “how am I going to take care of this baby without having the hospital staff a room away?” Just remember momma, you were born to do this. It’s in your biological makeup, you have instincts, follow them.
Just like any new person you meet, getting to know them takes time. Take your spouse/significant other for example, how long did you date and get to know them before you really knew they’re quirks and needs?
Same goes for your new baby. Give it time and you will learn their cries and their facial expressions. You will learn what they need and when they need it. It just takes time.
Just know that it does get better, and you do eventually get the hang of things. You won’t be sleep deprived forever, your baby will soon learn how to talk and communicate, just cherish each moment and each stage while it lasts because you can’t get those moments back.
Nothing lasts forever, and that goes for the hardest parts of motherhood. I remember those middle of the night feedings, feeling so sleep deprived and defeated because my daughter couldn’t latch and breastfeeding was a total nightmare.
It felt endless, but looking back now, I miss those late-night bonding moments I had with my daughter when everything was silent and it was just me and her. It may not seem like it now, but I promise you will miss these moments.
You Are Everything
Notice, I didn’t say you are enough. Momma, you are everything. To this new baby, to your husband, to your family. You are the glue. It’s common for new moms to feel inexperienced and to doubt their abilities as parents.
Sometimes we can get caught in the trap of feeling like we aren’t doing enough when that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re anything like me, you may be too hard on yourself. As women, we tend to be overachievers and we hold ourselves to a higher standard. That’s fine, but be realistic.
If your baby has a hard time breastfeeding, or they aren’t the best little sleeper, or you just can’t bring yourself to cook or clean. Relax and cut yourself a break.
I remember feeling an immense amount of guilt as a new mom because I just couldn’t seem to get a schedule together. Looking back now, I laugh at myself for thinking that I could possibly have everything together upon arriving home from the hospital. It’s borderline crazy to think that way actually.
So for those days when the house is a mess, dishes are piled a mile high, laundry is covering your floor, and you’ve eaten take out for the last week, don’t feel guilty. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back momma, because you are enough, you are everything. Your baby is fed, clean and happy, and you are a champ.
Cherish those moments with your new baby, because years from now, you won’t remember if the house was clean or what you ate for dinner. But you will remember the time you spent cuddling and holding your little babe. You will remember the special moments together with your new family and those will be memories that you hold close to your heart forever.
Follow Your Instincts
As a new mom, you will soon realize just how much everyone likes to offer their opinion on things. Which is great and well-intended, but the plain and simple truth is, it’s your baby and you get to decide how you want to parent them.
I’m not saying to ignore their advice, and you should definitely reach out for help if you feel that you need it. All I’m saying is, trust your gut. Like I’ve said multiple times throughout this letter, you were made for this.
All mothers are equipped with a special gift and it’s called intuition and instinct. Follow those maternal instincts. You may still be getting acquainted with your baby, but you know what’s best and you know your baby better than anyone else. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do this and if you have a gut instinct, more often than not, it’s right.
Be Kind To Yourself
Living in a world dominated by social media, it can seem that everything and everyone leads a perfect life. Spoiler alert! They don’t. No one does. Personally, I found that taking a hiatus from social media, helped a ton, when I first became a mom, because I found that it was actually worsening my postpartum depression.
I was confused and lost, thinking I had no clue how to do this “mom thing” while all my other momma friends, seemed to have it all figured out and motherhood had come so naturally to them. I was guilty of comparing my ‘behind the scenes’ to their ‘highlight reel.’
But then, I took a step back, I realized that no one is perfect and motherhood is hard, the reality is, it’s hard for each momma in different ways. Just because their 8-week-old was sleeping through the night, did not mean that I was a bad mom because my 12-week-old still woke up every hour or two.
Momma, please learn from my mistakes, do not compare yourself to other moms. There is so much more beneath the surface of your Instagram feed that you have no idea about. You are doing everything you can and you are with the rest of us on this journey of figuring it out as you go.
Don’t Be Lonely
A month after becoming a new mother, my husband and I packed up and moved to another state, hundreds of miles from our families and friends. The loneliness I felt was indescribable, but you don’t have to move hundreds of miles away to feel postpartum loneliness.
Another momma friend of mine that we had left behind in our move, had just had her baby a week after we had ours, so we were in a similar stage of life. When I reached out to her, to my surprise, I had found that she was just as lonely as I was, and I was confused by this because she lived by friends and family.
This is when I realized it’s common for new moms to become shut-ins. They seclude themselves from the outside world for various reasons, whether it’s on purpose, or they do it unknowingly.
Don’t be lonely momma. Make an effort to see and visit friends and family if you can. If you’re in a situation like I was and you are miles away from friends and family, give them a call. We live in a great time where FaceTime and Skype can bridge a gap of a thousand miles.
I found that reaching out and having a conversation with friends who were going through similar experiences helped immensely. Its human nature to need a sense of community, and socializing can be so beneficial to your mental health and well being.
Celebrate Little Victories
Something I started doing early on in my postpartum journey was celebrating the little victories. Things like doing my hair or make up before 2 in the afternoon (or let’s be honest-doing my hair and make up at all lol) or pumping more than 1 oz in a sitting. These for me were little victories, and I celebrated them.
Like most things in life, becoming a mom is a journey and learning to navigate it can be quite the challenge sometimes. So take it one step at a time and focus on mastering one task before you move onto another.
For me, I struggled with breastfeeding, so I decided to make a conscious effort to pump every 2-3 hours to boost my supply. As I saw myself make progress each day and pump more and more, I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
So don’t discount the little victories, momma, they are huge! It’s all about your personal goals and feeling a sense of accomplishment. It’s so beneficial for your mental well being and who doesn’t like the gratification of achieving a personal goal?
Welcome To Motherhood!
The take away that I want every new mom to feel from this letter, is to be gentle to yourself and take everything one step at a time. You are amazing.
With all the joys and struggles that come along with motherhood, it can sometimes be hard not to feel alone. I want everyone who reads this to know they are definitely not alone. You didn’t enter motherhood in seclusion, you just entered into a whole new wonderful community.
No matter where you’re at in your new journey of motherhood, there are so many mommas out there who can relate, and many women have gone through the same struggles you have.
As we all know, motherhood is the most magical and beautiful thing we can experience in life, and along with that comes trials, but through supporting each other and practicing self-care, we can overcome those hard times.
I’m so happy to be a part of such an amazing community and to be on this journey. I love being a mom and embrace every minute of it.
I hope you found this letter to the new mom helpful and inspiring. If you loved, or related to, or found solace in this letter I would love to hear from you! Please reach out in the comments below!