Dear New Mom
Congratulations on this exciting, scary, life changing moment in your life! The minute that test came back positive, everything changed even if you haven't realized it just yet. Almost a year ago, I was in your shoes and let me tell you that you will never be ready for a child coming into your life. Doesn't matter how many books you read to prepare yourself, outtings with friends who have kids, casual conversations about the ins and out of parenthood or even babysitting. Looking back on this last year, I felt it was important to share my experiences of motherhood so far and shed light on the most important things I wish someone would have told me was I was pregnant.
Photo Credit: Be You Images Photography
Mom Tribes are real and simply amazing. I've always had a close bond with my girlfriend since I am an only child, but I never told I would be "one of those moms" that was a part of a "mom tribe". I'm such an independent person for things that I couldn't wrap my head asking for help or advice from other moms. That's what google is for right?! Yet the outpour of friends and aquantiances that reached out after I announced my pregnancy was Overwhelming and I appreciated so much connecting with each and every one of them about their experiences. Seriously, I could not have gone through the ups and downs of pregnancy/motherhood these last few months without my core "mom tribe". It's so easy to connect with them about things that your husband or even family can't understand! Those girls (you all know who you are) were my lifeline, my voice of reason, my patience and my cheerleaders supporting me through every decisions I've made. Whether it's a group of your girlfriends that all have kids, a FB group you feel comfortable asking questions on or a friend at your local mommy and me class that you enjoying spending time with, it is so important to have a someone to chat with it. If you know someone who is pregnant, reach out and connect with them. Being a new mom can be scary so it's nice to have adult contact instead of being in a world of poopy diapers 24-7. And if you happen to be a new mommy reading this, I'm here if you have questions :)
Not everything will go accordingly to plan and you have to accept this. This is something I had to learn early on and still struggle with sometimes, because let's face it I'm a perfectionist. I like to plan ahead as much as possible down to the smallest detail. But when you are pregnant, you have to embrace whatever bumps come along the way. So many things are changing between your body, your lifestyle and spiritual sense of self, it is important to stay as grounded and calm as possible. I remember feeling ashamed when I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes 28 weeks into my pregnancy and angry since "this wasn't a part of my plan". I wasn't expecting to have to check my sugar level on daily basis, see a specialist or even watch what I was eating. It took me weeks to accept that this was not something I could have predicted, controlled or prevented. This was something that biological was happening to my body as a result of pregnancy hormones and I needed to come to terms with it. Although I still planned for everything as much as I could, I've learned that I have to take things one day at a time and accept that most plans will likely be altered once you are a parent. It's simply the nature of the beast.
Breastfeeding is a full time job and isn't for everyone. And guess what? That's OK! The best advice I can give to a new mommy who wants to breastfed is have patience especially in the first few weeks. This is a brand new experience for both you and your baby, so it does take a few weeks to get into a rhythm. Try to be patient with yourself too. It's not easy being a new mom and breastfeeding/pumping is exhausting, so make sure to ask for help from family and friends when you need a nap, a glass of water or some words of encouragement. And don't be afraid to pump or feed wherever you have too. Malls, bathrooms, cars, in the middle of store, you name it I've likely feed or pumped at some point in the last year. Heck I even traveled with breastmilk within in the United States, Mexico and South America. I never thought I'd have the ability and stamina to breastfed my daughter for 10 1/2 months, but when I was ready to be done I was done. I felt no shame in giving her formula and no one who shame you for doing what works for you and your baby. The most important thing is giving your baby the nutrients they need and doing what works for you..bottom line.
Stand your ground on what your gut is saying. I've gone through difficult times when family and friends aren't supportive of decisions I've made or how I'm choosing to parent Penelope Rose. It can be lonely, frustrating and emotionally debilitating when you feel all eyes on you nonetheless judging eyes commenting on your every move. Truth be told I still struggle with this. Going through the daily motions of being a full time Ad Executive, Wife and Mom can take its toll on my normal optimist outlook on life. I can admit that I've had my moments of feeling like I couldn't do "this". Many of tears have been shed along with numerous prayers for patience & understanding. Looking back and even into the future (ala Bran Stark), I'm so thankful for this difficult moments because they made me stronger. They helped me learn that I have to stick to my guns about certain things and compromise when it comes to others. So through all the hormonal changes, commentaries, stereotypes and boxes you are trying to check off, know in your heart that you are doing an amazing job! You are enough! You are appreciated! Your opinions, decisions and parenting style is not wrong no matter what someone tells you. DO YOU!
Last but not least, enjoy every minute of the ride! Do everything you want to do. Eat everything you want to eat. Ask every question you can possibly think of. Document this beautiful moment in your life because in a flash your tiny human will be here and everything will be different yet again. You're new constant will be change, since no day will the same. Yet no matter what is happening, good or bad, this rollercoaster ride is worth every minute of it. So there you have it New Mom, I hope this will helps even in the smallest of ways and wish you the absolutely best!