5 Things I wish Someone Told Me Right After I Had a Baby

1. Immediately it’s all about the baby. For nine months, you lived in the special club of pregnant women. It was all about you. People constantly asked how you were feeling. People who did not even know you saw you, glanced at your belly and smiled. Strangers asked “when are you do” as if they are planning on camping out at the hospital to wait for your bundle of joy. The minute the baby arrives, it is all about the baby. “How is she sleeping?” “How big is he now?” The words “How cute” are uttered to describe your newborn and not your belly. While you are as overjoyed as the rest of the world about your baby, it feels strange to go, overnight, from receiving so much attention to receiving so little. Make sure to surround yourself with other new moms (like at Big City Moms luncheons and events) so there are people who can relate to how YOU are feeling… not just how your baby is feeling.

2. The Rule of 4-8-12: In general, every four weeks things seem to get that much easier when it comes to being a mom. In part this is because with each passing week we are getting more of a routine for ourselves, and things don’t feel as foreign. Also every four weeks early on are time for developmental milestones for many babies. By week four many moms have figured out the breastfeeding routine and a baby has figured out the nipple situation. By a month into their child life many moms realize breastfeeding just isn’t for them. By week 8 many babies start to smile, giving parents the physical reassurance that they are actually making their baby happy with all the hard work they are putting in is actually paying off. Week 12—the magic number most moms hear for when their child should be sleeping through the night. While this is often not the case, y week 12 many babies are sleeping longer stretches of time, and mom and dad are getting a bit more rest. THERE IS NO WAY TO MINIMIZE THE EFFECT THAT SLEEP DEPREVATION HAS ON OUR LIVES! By week 12 many moms can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as nighttime sleep goes. Try and remember that when struggling at any given moment, it is normal to feel what you are feeling early on and in just a few weeks you will likely feel so much better in your new role as mom.

3. Men are not multi-taskers. While you may have figured out before the baby comes that your husband is at his best when he is focused on a single task, it will be highlighted after the baby arrives. While as a mother you will find the ability to change a diaper, make a bottle and write thanks you notes, seemingly all at the same time, generally speaking dads can only do one thing at a time. This is a common source of stress between new parents. Moms feel like they are doing everything and dads feel like they are trying but can’t do anything right. Try and keep in mind that this is the nature of most men and not just your husband. He is trying—be as patient as you can—and look for what he is doing right instead of trying to make him do things exactly the way you would do them.

4. You may love your baby but not love being a mom. There is an expectation that you should immediately love your new role as a mom. This is often not the case. Having a baby often results in a feeling of loss of control. During the first few weeks after your baby arrives, you give and give to your baby without even receiving a simple smile in return. Motherhood is not a glamorous job, and you may find that you do not love your new role during this time. Do not feel guilty if this is the case…this is a common feeling… and it is not permanent!

5. New Moms Lie: Ok, they may not outright lie but new moms often paint the picture of their lives the way people really want to hear it-not necessarily how they are experiencing it. This happens both consciously and unconsciously. On some level they may not even be aware of they may feel like by telling others that their baby has colic or that they are not good sleepers is somehow a reflection on their ability to parent. Telling others things are going fine or “I love everything about it” somehow also gives people a sense of control that everything is great. As a new mom lots of people will try and give you advice. Take what works for you and when it comes to other new moms try simply to identify what others are saying and not to compare yourself to others.