To the New Mom: You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out

The experience of being a first-time mom is a beautifully unique position in life. It’s a time filled with firsts and moments of awe that you’ve been given this child to raise and love. You experience the firsts right along with your baby– from the first eye-connected coos that light up your heart to the first time you are called “mama” in their sweet little voice. We also experience the hard firsts like boo-boo’s or having to say goodbye-for-now as we head back to work.

Motherhood involves much learning and growing as you bloom into the mother you are meant to be — just as your child is blossoming into who they are meant to be in this world.

As a first time young mother, I just followed along with what I knew from growing up as I watched my siblings and cousins being welcomed into my family. Now, as a mom of five children at home, my family is complete. I look back to where I was eleven years ago when my oldest was born and I see not just how she’s grown in the blink of an eye, but how I’ve grown as well. In the time she’s grown from a baby to a preteen, both her and I have changed substantially.

I went from following along to forming my own path. After my first baby, I began exploring the type of motherhood that felt more right for me, pouring myself into education and discovering just how I wanted to experience pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

I went from an induced hospital birth, to a home water birth. I went from OBGYN care to midwifery care, where I felt more like a person and friend than just a chart. I went from not wanting to feel labor pains and seeking out an epidural to wanting to embrace the fierce, primal side of my femininity. I decided to use the challenge of labor to empower myself and accept the waves as they came, feeling like I had climbed Mount Everest after my babies were earthside.

As a new mom, I was shocked by the extent of my sleep deprivation (for three years she didn’t sleep through the night!) and the amount of negativity I allowed because of it. My Facebook feed was filled with my complaining then; now I’ve evolved to embrace this season and find the joy even amongst the sleepiness and grumpiness. With each baby, I also learned tips and tricks to teach my babies how to sleep more independently, learning how to watch and listen for their cues to settle them in more easily. I learned to cherish myself more, and that I’m more than a mom. I’m a woman with my own passions and talents outside of motherhood, and I need to tap into them in order to feel fulfilled.

We evolve not only in learning to do things easier or more confidently, but also in the simple preferences that help us in our mothering and nurturing.

I went from disposable diapers to adorable patterned cloth diapers and back to disposable again (because by my fifth baby, I had enough laundry to keep up with!). I went from using the dress-like sleep gowns to realizing I hated them! For my sixth baby, I ditched them all and went to all zip-ups because it was much easier and less bulky to change diapers in the black of night.

We evolve as mothers, transforming from nervous new moms who’re scared of making a mistake to more experienced, confident moms– knowing we may make mistakes, but we’re doing our best. We evolve through our choices, both physically and emotionally. Perhaps we choose to birth differently or approach tantrums or sleep issues differently. We live and we learn, right along with our children. Each new season with our children brings more firsts and opportunities to constantly grow and learn.

If you are just beginning your own evolution as mom, keep pushing on. It isn’t always easy to find the path that works best for us. We feel the growing pains of mistakes and lessons learned. But through them, we feel our own mothering wings flourish as motherhood changes us from the inside out.

Leah became a mom at 19 years old and standing short at 4 foot 11, she is now a mother of almost 5 and a birth mother in an open adoption. Not letting age or size stop her, she's conquering her dreams while being surrounded with yogurt smeared walls and mountains of laundry. You can find more from Leah on her blog, The Grace Bond.

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