It's not uncommon to hear a new mom say that she was surprised by this or wish someone told her that. Although every birth experience and postpartum journey are different, there are some recurring hurdles that new moms face and wish they felt more prepared for. Below are three of those common struggles and action items you can take to feel more ready for this next stage of your life.
Many new mothers report wishing they knew more about what could happen to their body right after having a baby. Perhaps it's a combination of not wanting to alarm the mama-to-be and that the topic is still considered taboo in our culture. Either way, expecting first time mamas deserve to receive information designed to prepareand not scare.
To avoid feeling shocked by the physical ailments you may (or may not, it's different for everyone!) face, buy yourselfpostpartum healing itemsin advance. Sometimes the hospital or birthing center will send you home with some very basic freebies, but it's better to err on the safe side by stocking up. You could end up needing them all or only a few, but knowing you are equipped with whatever you might need will reduce nerves and anxiety about the recovery process before you go into it. Store them in a box or basket in your bathroom so they are ready to help you when you need it.
Making Time for Yourself
You've heard the old sayings about how one cannot pour from an empty cup. But when you're a new mom focused on your beautiful baby, it can be really easy to forget about making yourself a priority. If every ounce of your love and energy is going to the baby, you will eventually feel burned out. Making time to care for yourself will help you care for your baby with more patience and energy.
To feel a bit more prepared for this common struggle, gather some self care items that you know will encourage you to take a minute for YOU amidst all the caring for baby. Put them in a spot that you walk by every day so they serve as a visual reminder. Take it a step further by putting a post it note on your mirror to do something for you today. Even if it is just ten minutes while baby is napping, the smallest act of self care can go a long way. You know yourself best, so make sure to round up items that you're likely to use. Here are some ideas if you are drawing a blank:
- Shower Tablets
- Meditation Apps
- Bath Bombs
- Face Mask
- Essential Oils
Meeting Other Moms
It can be hard to get out of the house during those initial months after baby arrives. As you are healing and your family is settling into a new reality, you want to listen to your body and not rush the process. During this period however it is very natural for feelings of loneliness to emerge, even if you have a lot of support. One thing that can really combat that feeling is being around other moms that are in the same stageof motherhood as you. It may seem like an easy thing to do, but it's very common for new moms to feel like they don't know how or where to make mom friends, even if they consider themselves to be a social person.
Doing a little bit of research ahead of time is something you'll thank yourself for later. This way, when you are ready to get out of the house and socialize a bit, you don't have the excuse of not knowing where to start. You'll recall a few things you found online and be more inclined to just go for it and show up, which is a wonderful act of self care and love. Here are some things you can research in your area:
Local Library Baby Story Time:
Most local libraries offer baby and toddler reading groups. Not only is it a good way to get out of the house for an hour, but it's a no-pressure way to meet other moms in the same stage of motherhood as you. And it's FREE!
Facebook Groups for New Moms in your City:
Most cities have private groups where you can post questions, ask for support, go to arranged meet-ups, etc. Search for "new mom support group" + your city and several options should come up. Once you click "Join" you will likely be asked to answer some questions before being accepted. The questions will be basic and are only to assure you are truly a pregnant or new mom joining the group for authentic reasons. These are also great to join during pregnancy as you can ask experienced moms any questions and read other moms' posts.
Mommy and Me Groups:
There are lots of paid classes and groups that you can enroll in with your baby. In these classes there is most often a professional leading the group who can answer your questions and help you feel supported. The other babies will be a similar age to yours and the communal feel of seeing the same group of parents each week can be really helpful.