There are so many curve balls & feelings you are not ready for when it comes to being a new mom. If you’re a new mom, you don’t have time to beat around the bush. If you know a new mom, send this to her immigiately – I said what I said. So let’s get into it. NSew Mom you need to know these things
What I’ve learned in my short time as a tiny person’s butt wiper & milk maker:
You NEED Fellow New Mom Friends
Friendships change. They just do.
Some of it is people assuming (wrongly) that you don’t want to hear from them because you are busy.
Some of it is because you will want to talk about different things now, and your kidless friends can’t exactly relate the same way you couldn’t exactly relate before you popped a bun out of your proverbial oven.
When you say, “I’m tired” because you’ve been keeping a whole human alive 24 hours a day everyday and you’re kidless friend who was out with friends last night says, “oh, girl. I know what you mean. Me too!” I’m just warning you – you will still love her, but there will come a point when you also want to punch her. Not hard, but just a little. Because it aint the same….At. All. New Mom you need to know these things
You gotta know your audience. And there will be some things you just can’t relate to anymore with some friends – not that you can’t relate on other points of life and support each other in a ton of ways and still be fantastic, close friends. But it feels good to have those people who know exactly what you mean when you say certain things.
Plus, you need new(ish) moms and experienced moms in your corner. Experienced moms will help you know when not to panic about things and will be able to give you that good wisdom. However, I have noticed that mom-ing has changed a lot in the last 10 years. There’s tons of new stuff out there from toys to breast pumps to remedies to apps to the healthcare system – that, unless they have had a kid in the last decade, they won’t really be able to speak to. It is massively helpful to be in about the same place at the same time with someone – it will do wonders for your mental and emotional health to have those people to check in with.
If you don’t have anyone, now is the time to be intentional about finding them. You NEED them in your corner. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Vent. Cry. This is a necessity.
You Need to Know That Recovery Takes Time
People often ask if motherhood was like I expected. Tbh – I didn’t have any expectations. I had no idea. I just figured I’d let it be what it was, I’d find out when I got there. The biggest surprise, though, has been the recovery period – both mental and physical. Maybe I thought somewhere in the back of my mind that I’d be up and at ‘em, ready to get back to my old life like I hadn’t missed a beat in a month, maybe 6 weeks. Nope.
It took monthsssss for me to recover – which, in some ways, I’m still doing in mind and body. Look, motherhood is like getting on a rollercoaster for the first time. You’ve seen a rollercoaster, therefore, you “know” what’s coming. You’ve heard other people describe them. You walk up the stairs of the ride – all the while understanding, “I’m finna get on this roller coaster.” You sit down, take a deep breath and shakely put on the safety harness, nervously knowing the concept of what’s ahead but still not steeped in the reality of it. Then it starts – it jerks forward and climbs and the moment you get to the top you’re like, “wait….what have I done?” and then you’re off and you aren’t sure which way is up or down or if you’ll ever walk on solid ground again and it’s fine and cool but also ohhhh noooo another drop you didn’t know that was there and this one is steeper than the last two and you start to question if you’ll even make it out alive I mean you know you will but will you also aren’t sure and it’s fun but it’s not and you are obsessed with this rollercoaster but you are like why didn’t anyone really tell you what this would be really like and what is happening right nowwwwww?”
Friend, eventually you do get to solid ground again. Eventually. You’re still a little dizzy and wobbly, but at least you’re on the pavement. And how long that lasts, I’d imagine, is different for every mom. For me, I didn’t feel any type of solid footing until after about 6 months. And I’m still get the wobbles after 10.
You Need to Give Yourself a Break
Ask for ALLLL the help – set it up beforehand if you can
You need help. You do. Need. You might also want it. But, even if you don’t, you will need it. Ask the people in your life – moms, aunts, friends, sisters – whoever – who you know love you for help. Have conversations about what that help will look like. Will you need help with the house – having someone come hold the baby while you cook or do housework? Do you need someone to come hold the baby while you nap for a while? What is your setup for going back to work? You and your husband/partner will need to communicate on how you will help each other – and how the other people in your life will help you. You need help.
You Do NOT Need to Compare Yourself
Be your own superwoman. I’ve heard the whole “your journey is your own” thing but I’ve never lived it quite so literally as I have in this season. Postnatal hormones are wild, pair that with sleep deprivation and you’ve got quite the cocktail for nonsense. It seemed for so long (and still does 5.5 out of 7 days – which means I’m doing better) that I could not get anything accomplished that wasn’t related to keeping my child clothed, dry & fed. NOTHING. And any time I’d try I’d be too tired or I was in such a brain fog that by the end of the time I had the only thing I had gotten done was…nothing. I’ve never, ever been so frustrated in my life.
I was talking with my mom one day about all the housework, writing, dancing, sleeping, anything I couldn’t seem to get a handle on. “But,” I would say, “There are women out there who have babies and work traditional full time jobs and have other kids on top of that and they seem to be able to function. They can do it, why can’t I,” I asked her earnestly as the tears were treading in the ducts of my eyes, ready to span the length of my cheeks.
She said to me, “yes, they can. You can’t look at what they do. You have to be your own superwoman.”
You have to be your own superwoman. I still repeat that to myself when comparison tries to infiltrate my psyche. Your journey of motherhood will be your own. And whatever that looks like for you, make it the healthiest it can be, give yourself all the grace and be your own superwoman.
God’s grace is sufficient for all of the things you do or don’t do in a day. Sit in that grace as you delve into this new, consuming, vast calling of motherhood.
You Need to Know That “Wife” You Disappears for a Bit
For a while. You have a whole human being that you have to meet every need for. Even with help, it’s exhausting. Mom-ing is different from dad-ing, aunt-ing, grandma-ing, and everything else.
One day I looked up and was like, “have I talked to my husband in the last couple of months? Have I hugged him? Should I…like, make some sort of effort to look like the person he married? To sound like her? How might I go about that?” And then I realized I was too tired to begin to remember my own name and then I had to clean up some poop.
I felt immense guilt. Still do sometimes because she is not back yet. I’m starting to remember pieces of her, though.
Listen, “mom you” has to take over for a little while. Your energy is spoken for by your offspring. And that has to be ok with the both of you. And, here’s what I’m learning, I expected her “back.” I expected all of me “back.” But, sis, she ain’t coming. She’s buried under the rubble of infinite diapers and 3 am feedings. R.I.P.
And of course she is gone. How naive it was of me to think I could go through something as transformative and world altering as childbirth and go back to being the same old G.
You will discover “wife” you – but it is a rediscovery and a recreation. All of you is, really. You will be different – your priorities, your capacity, your needs, wants…it all shifts. The previous way of living breaks apart – it’s supposed to. It has to. You will feel the tension of the new drop kicking the old out of the way. That is normal.
Finding new “wife you” is an intentional journey. You will have to put your marriage back together in a way that it is prioritized above the offspring, which is a feat. It is a necessary one that simply takes time and requires both of you to have grace for the process.
You Need Jesus
You NEED Jesus. YOU need Jesus. You need JESUS.
That’s all of the ways I could think to say it. Full disclosure – I gave into the new mom tiredness and resentment and the self pity of it all because I couldn’t hold life together – Jesus and I had fallen off, big time. I made no room for Him and, unsurprisingly, it showed.
I promise you that you will hit your limit – you will slam head first into a wall of exhaustion, guilt, disappointment, unmet expectations and/or sadness of some sort. You will look to your husband or your child to make up for the gap in your emotions. They cannot – no matter how amazing they may be.
This was something I had to be reminded of – the only person who can help me fill in the gaps in energy & emotions is Jesus. Das it. You need Him. You do. And, at first, there’s not time for hour long Bible studies and prayers. But Jesus meets us right where we are. Calling on Him doesn’t have to look like anything – it just has to come with a willing heart. While you breastfeed or wash a bottle or whatever duty you are engaged in – just have a convo with Jesus. He will meet you where you are.
You are called to this. You are equipped for this. You are anointed for this and you are doing an amazing job!!
What else do new moms need?