There is ever no shortage of parental advice that you’ll get before the baby comes out. And guess what? When the baby is born, there’s even more incoming. Everyone wants to tell you how to do it right. And all of these can be overwhelming especially when you’re just a new mom in a sleep-deprived mode with your body just recovering from the nine months of pregnancy and hours of labor.
“I’m Glad Someone Told Me”
This essay became viral as quickly as it was posted. Mom and blogger, Stephanie Sprenger posted this as response to another viral essay on new motherhood ‘They Should’ve Warned Me’ written by Jenny Studenroth Gerson.
In this essay, Stephanie tackled the fact that transitioning into motherhood is not going to be rainbows and butterflies like Jenny’s. A lot of them suffer from postpartum depression, breastfeeding struggles, and a whole lot of other challenges and emotions. And it’s important that they are also given a voice and support.
In her essay, she said,
“I believe that all mothers, regardless of how smoothly or horrifically their transition to motherhood unrolled, should be part of changing the cultural dialogue about new motherhood. It is so beautiful, powerful, important, magical — of course it is. But it can be hard, and it doesn’t come naturally or easily to many women. Our babies don’t all coo blissfully and sh*t unicorn glitter. Sometimes they never stop crying. Sometimes we have no idea what to do with them. As I read Gerson’s article, I kept thinking, How would a woman suffering from postpartum depression feel while reading this? Defective, discouraged, humiliated, I suspect. Perhaps even like a failure.”
After it went viral, her email was flooded with thank you messages. And so to further empower new mothers she teamed up with Jessica Smock, co-founder of HerStories and her editorial partner, to launch a social media campaign. This encourages moms to share “real, honest support and advice they received about motherhood or things they wished they had heard” with the hashtag #sogladtheytoldme.
But don’t worry we got you. Being a new mom in itself can already be a strange mix of fulfillment and exhaustion. So we compiled some tips from the moms themselves to guide you on this new journey. And yes, we’ve included some from the long list of advice from the campaign!
Advice and Tips for New Moms
Is the baby asleep yet? Then you should definitely do as well. But if you have a few minutes to spare then read on.
1. Don’t be afraid to ignore advice
Everyone will reach out and give you advice whether unsolicited or not. It’s valuable to listen to these as they provide you perspective from another experience and can definitely help you form your own opinion. But it’s also important that you know that you can totally ignore advice and that doesn’t make you a bad mom. Thing is, they’re still talking from their experience and that was what worked for them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be right for you.
Trust your gut
Listen to your motherly instinct. Nine times out of ten, it’s right. And don’t be afraid to do things differently. It’s okay. For example, breastfeeding is not everyone and if you try other methods then that’s fine.
Don’t forget to remind yourself that you know what you’re doing
No one knows your baby more than you. Just go with your gut and everything will be fine. If it doesn’t it’s fine. There’s no such thing as perfect mothers so take that learning with you. You’re doing it right. You’re doing your best in figuring it out. You can always be a better mom tomorrow.
2. Just be present
You don’t have to be a superwoman everytime. Dr. Colleen Crowley, Ph.D., M.A., LMFT, a mother, child psychologist, and co-founder of Brushies, shared something about this. She said, “Most mamas in today’s culture think they are supposed to be busy doing so much for their children…What babies need more than anything is a present and self-aware mama who is gentle with herself and grounded.”
She also added that, “This grounded presence is what helps wire a baby’s brain for the rest of their life.”
Nothing Goes As Planned
Whatever is going to happen will happen. That’s how life is. So the best thing to do is to stop planning. Relax and accept. This mindset will totally change how you experience these moments. You will be less anxious and more present.
Know that you’re doing amazing!
It’s not easy. So heads up, mom! You’re doing amazing and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
3. You have a superbody
It’s hard to transition from a pre-baby body to post-partum and it’s understandable that you don’t like parts of your body. But here is one thing you can remind yourself according to Katrina Scott, co-founder of Tone It Up, “There is so much pressure to ‘bounce back’ post-baby. Our bodies are not the same as they were pre-baby—and they shouldn’t be. They are stronger.”
She also added, “I want every mom to know that you are a superwoman. You created a miracle and your body is remarkable. Let’s all treat ourselves with more love, patience, and compassion. Our bodies are not the same as they were pre-baby—and they shouldn’t be.”
Celebrate your body because it’s doing amazing things and so are you!
Keep yourself nourished
We know that it’s tempting to try and get back to your body before the baby. But this is not the time to cut those carbs or take a diet plan. It’s important that you are healthy for your baby. So make sure that you’re getting calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate.
Sleep when you’re baby’s sleeping
If there’s one thing moms agree for sure is that you need all the sleep that you can get. So when your baby is sleeping, sleep. When you’ve got time, sleep like you’ll never get to sleep again. You really need that recharge.
4. Allow people to help you
You’re not a bad mom if you pass your baby to your mum or your sisters or even your help. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need to remember that you also need to take care of yourself so when other people are available to help you out, let them.
Take that time to nap, sleep, or just simply relax. Remember that you can’t fully take care of your baby if you’re not at your best.
It also helps to join in a local community of mamas. There you can get support and encouragement from moms like you. It also fosters an environment for a healthy exchange of ideas that could benefit both you and your baby. Just remember to know the limit and you can choose to ignore advice.
5. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and for your partner
It’s okay not to be in love with every minute of motherhood or your baby. It can be exhausting and when it does, you need to take a step back. Take a break. This is self-care for the mind. If you take your physical health as a priority then it’s also equally important to do that for your mind.
And of course, as much as a baby needs time and attention, don’t forget that you still need to make time for you and your partner. This is a good time to foster an even stronger bond between the two of you.