If I could go back and tell my first-time mom self one thing about motherhood, it would be this: expect it to be fun.
There’s so much negative talk in our culture surrounding birth and babies and newborn habits that we’ve convinced new moms that “terrible” is normal for this season. (And that makes things like post-partum anxiety or depression even harder to recognize).
In an effort to be sensitive and honest about the struggles, we’ve made motherhood all about the hard parts. And that‘s just not the whole story.
Of course, some days will be rough. You might be tired. You will probably need help.
But expect to have fun.
5 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself With A Newborn in Tow
1. Keep up your hobby.
Everyone says you should “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
But sometimes it’s even more restful to read, garden, or rearrange your furniture for a few quiet minutes.
Whatever it is you love to do, be intentional about making time for it. You were someone before you were a mom, and that someone still matters.
2. Say no if you really want to.
Committing to dinner, a party, or really anything at all is tricky when you have a newborn with a weird sleep schedule and the need to eat every few hours.
If you don’t want to do it, then say no.
3. Eat for the joy of it.
Good food is healing, and that’s your body’s main priority right now. Stock your kitchen with foods that you love and eat well.
4. Own your feelings.
Your hormones are working on finding a new normal now that you are sustaining a baby outside of your body instead of inside.
While you’re coming to a balance, it’s helpful to recognize any Big Feelings that come up and work on releasing them.
5. Connect with your people.
When we’re processing such a big change to our lives, it’s normal to pull back emotionally. Just make sure that you don’t pull back from the people you trust the most.
Be mindful of giving good conversations, quality time, and kind words; that kind of investment almost always comes back richer.
There are more than 3 million women experiencing a post-partum mood disorder right now. It’s very common and very overcome-able. If your body needs additional support coming back to a balance after your baby is born, research your options and reach out to someone you trust for help.
Let’s get a convo going in the comments: What was your post-partum experience like? What helped you find joy during your earliest days of motherhood?