Jackson and me, Mother’s Day, 2012.
This weekend is Mother’s Day, and while for me it’s a happy day I enjoy, I keep in my thoughts all the women for whom this day can be challenging to get through. I’m also thinking about the brand new moms out there — the ones who will be celebrating Mother’s Day this year for the first time on the other side — as a mom. The first year of motherhood is pretty intense, to say the least. After the jump, twelve moms share what they wish they would have known as brand new moms that might have made the transition a little smoother.
“I wish someone had told me that you won’t feel quite like yourself for the better part of a year…in many ways. For example, it wasn’t until my son was nearly a year old that I felt connected to my husband sexually again. It was around the same time that I finally felt that I had autonomy back in regards to my body. It was around that time that I finally began to recognize a smidgen of the ‘old me.'” – NerdieNikki
“As long as you are doing the best to your ability, you aren’t failing your kid. Newborns are pretty easy: eat; sleep; poop; attention. Hormones are nuts. Your mental health is a HUGE priority as a new mom, and accepting that you are good enough goes a long way.” — Shelly F.
“The first twelve weeks after the baby is born is basically a fourth trimester of pregnancy where your body still doesn’t feel like your own, your sleep is really messed up, and your hormones are nuts, and now the baby is on the outside which is slightly more comfortable, but a whole lot noisier and more exhausting. Forgive yourself for everything in those first twelve weeks, and do whatever you need to stay on the saner side of well enough. Also, childhood is full of stages, and in the first year of life, those stages can come every week or two and leave just quickly as they arrive, so don’t get too hung up on negatives OR positives, because they’ll likely pass in a few days,” — Dear Wendy
“If you follow your mom’s advice to use bag balm to soothe sore nipples during breastfeeding, wipe it off before you put your nursing pads back on – ouch!” — Kari G.
“New motherhood can be a lonely experience. Along with packing a hospital bag, you should plan social activities for yourself after the baby is born because you will miss being around your good friends. Don’t let logistics stop you from a girl’s night out (or in).” — Siddiqui S.
“I wish someone had told me how much friendships can change. I found I didn’t have the time to go hang out somewhere for hours on end. I also didn’t want to! I invited people around to my place, but if I did it again, I’d try to schedule structured catch-ups like lunch or dinner rather than vague or late night plans. I also have no time for long phone calls. I was always someone who picked up the phone no matter what, but soon after I had a baby, I stopped answering calls altogether and would text when I was free.” — Lisa B.
“As the mom of a premie, I wish someone would have told me not to sweat the milestones. Comparing your peanut to other little peanuts is a thankless task. Also, very important: find a bakery or coffee shop that you can wear your baby to when the fussiness gets overwhelming. Carbs help.” — Jamie B.
“Don’t wear white pants after giving birth.” — Mandy D.
“Everybody tells you: ‘the hardest part is the not sleeping,’ but nobody tells you about those moments when you feel like you are not going to make it, or you feel lost when your baby cries because you don’t know what to do, or you feel like a failure when you have to give your baby formula. But also, no one can really explain to you the love you will have for your child — the warmth you feel when you hear your baby laugh for the first time, and the certainty that you would do anything for him or her.” — Marcela F.
“Don’t worry about cleaning your house. Don’t worry about putting on makeup. Don’t worry about what all your visitors think about you. Just lie in bed and think about your baby and yourself. That’s it. You two are the most important; everything else is noise.” — Obrett
“Be prepared for some very mixed emotions after having a baby. The impact on my relationship with my husband was transformative and our previous division of labor went out the window, which was difficult for both of us. Also, I wish I had never listened to anyone who told me to ‘enjoy every moment.’ Motherhood is an all-consuming rollercoaster that is impossible to enjoy every moment and that sets up unrealistic expectations and perceived failure.” — Rebecca L.
“I wish I would have known how WONDERFUL motherhood would be. I would’ve gotten knocked up years ago and had a buttload of kids!” — Addie Pray
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