Before our baby is born, we don’t quite know what to expect in the newborn phase. We
typically think we are going to have a cute little accessory to dress in cute clothes and tote around everywhere with us. We don’t understand why people we know who have had babies had such a hard time. We often think “that won’t be me.”
Although the joy of a newborn baby is heartfelt and exciting, the reality can be vastly different than what was expected. Coupled with an imbalance of hormones, any type of birth trauma, sleep deprivation and any tension in the relationship, the transition can come with many challenges. The roller coaster of emotions is wild and it’s often hard to navigate this new territory.
To help, let’s talk about 3 things no one tells you about becoming a new mom, and how you can handle them.
1. Your newborn is a stranger—but only for a short time.
While you’ve nurtured and cared for your new baby for 9 months on the inside, you’ve never met before! Much of your time in the first few weeks and months will be spent getting to know each other.
To ease the challenges that come at this time, it’s critical that you accept the new normal; surrender to your new responsibilities and reality.
2. It doesn’t come easily—but that will change.
Many moms feel insecure and ashamed that being a mom hasn’t come easily to them. Babies do not come with an owner’s manual so make sure to acknowledge that this is new territory and allow yourself to feel insecure about the unknown.
As time goes on, your confidence grows and you will be able to anticipate your baby’s needs. Their cries will become a language you will soon understand.
Throughout our lives, we have worked hard and spent countless hours learning and
practicing any skill we consider ourselves experts in. And even then, we still always have more to learn. Give yourself the same patience and kindness to learn and practice at being “mom”.
3. Sleep deprivation—O.M.G
You think you are prepared for sleep deprivation until it happens. It is very serious and unlike anything you could have prepared for. Sleep deprivation is one of the main causes of postpartum depression and anxiety. It can cause a lack of patience, irrational thinking, tension within the relationship, an overall feeling of irritability and other challenges.
Your most important goal when it comes to sleep is to work toward getting at least one 5-7 hour stretch of sleep PER WEEK. Just one. Often times the way to accomplish this is by assigning shifts at night. Maybe not every night, but at least 1-2 nights per week.
If you do not have a partner that is able to cover a portion of the night so that you can get
some sleep, bringing in occasional overnight help, like a postpartum doula or night nurse, is a very effective and helpful option. It is absolutely critical to your health and the health of your baby.
If you are having a particularly hard time adjusting and not feeling any joy, you might be
experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety which is very common.
Approximately 20% of new mothers experience some form of postpartum adjustment mental health issue.
In most occasions, this is mild and can often be vastly improved by a good block of sleep and a short break. If sleep and a break do not improve things, talk to your doctor to make sure you are getting the help you need to be the best mom you can be.
The wellbeing of mom impacts the wellbeing of baby and we want the best for our babies. Happy mom, happy baby.
The most important thing to know about mild postpartum mental health issues, compared to others, is that they are TEMPORARY and EASILY TREATED so don’t suffer through it!
The newborn phase is a rollercoaster of emotions for every new mom and you’ll find yourself wishing it came with a manual! That’s why we created one.
The New Mom School’s Newborn Class Series is a 10-week program organized by baby’s birth month to provide you with support, education and community through the fourth trimester and beyond.
Our classes are OB recommended and it’s our mission to help every new mom feel confident, cared for and connected in motherhood.
You can register for a class now using your due date. It’s completely risk free.