Becoming a mom for the first time is a strange and amazing experience.
The moment you hold your new baby in your arms for the first time, you are no longer just a woman, a wife, or a girlfriend, you are now a mother.
Becoming a mother changes you in a way that you’ll never really understand until it happens. I know because it happened to me.
Deciding to Have a Baby
I never wanted kids.
I had younger brothers and cousins growing up. I bathed them, changed them, fed them, and watched them grow. I felt like I had already raised babies, why would I want to do it again?
I also always thought that babies were weird and pregnant women always made me think of the movie “Alien”. Not the most maternal thoughts.
When my husband came along, we had the baby discussion. I told him I didn’t want kids. He had a daughter already and I told him that he needed to be okay with her being his only child.
Though he wanted another child, he didn’t push me. I appreciated that more than he’ll ever know.
Fast forward 3 years, 2 moves, and 1 wedding and now we’re talking about a baby. I don’t know what happened. I went from never wanting kids to actually discussing the possibility. I blame it on the hormones.
I also began to feel more comfortable with the idea because of my husband. I felt comfortable enough in our relationship, as well as comfortable enough with him and his ability to be a father/help me out, that I began entertaining the thoughts.
So we started trying. Well, really more like stopped trying to prevent it. I have endometriosis, so having sex is hard (aka painful). It can also cause some infertility issues.
I was off of birth control for nearly two years before we got pregnant. Even though we weren’t trying to stop a pregnancy, it was still a bit of a shock to the system when I found out that we were having a baby.
Becoming a Mom for the First Time
I don’t think it fully hit home that I was having a baby until I found out that he was a boy. At that moment he went from being a thing to being my son. It was an amazing experience. It really was something that I never expected.
People used to tell me all the time that having a baby would change the way that I thought about babies. That really was something hard to believe. Here I was trying to unravel nearly 30 years of thinking. It was a lot to process.
I was also having some difficulty even believing that I could be a good mother since I spent the majority of my life not even liking kids. I thought that this would automatically make me a bad mother.
It took a lot of convincing on my husband’s part. And I still didn’t really believe it until J was born. The moment I held him for the first time, I cried.
Later on, while he was getting cleaned up, I looked over at my mother and told her, “I get it now”.
I finally understood what everyone kept telling me about becoming a mom. That I would change the way that I looked at children and go from being my own person to being someone’s mom.
It’s a humbling experience.
Adjusting to Being a Mom
Though I accepted my new role as a mother relatively quickly, adjusting to my new life really took some time.
Some days I felt on top of things, and other days I felt like I was drowning. The hormones and the sleep deprivation certainly weren’t helping either.
Then we had breastfeeding problems that led to me becoming an exclusive pumper, and then I developed some postpartum depression and anxiety around 9 months after he was born.
Every day is a learning experience, but every day is also a new opportunity for me to grow.
I try to take things in stride these days and appreciate the opportunity that I have been given to get to know my beautiful little boy. I enjoy watching him grow and learn and explore the world around him.
My Advice for a New Mom
Learning to accept that your life will be different the moment you become a mom for the first time is the big thing. Knowing that though doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty for missing the ease of your previous life.
We’ve all been there.
Here are some tips though to help make the adjustment period easier.
It’s going to be okay
No matter how crazy life becomes, or how overwhelmed you feel at the time, just know that everything will be okay.
You are stronger than you know and you can handle anything that life throws at you.
Just take a deep breath and tackle the problem one step at a time.
Enjoy the little moments
I’m convinced that motherhood is all about waiting for the brief moments of joy in between the moments of crazy.
Take the time to appreciate those little moments when the happen.
Those baby giggles, smiles, and snuggles will not always last. Enjoy them while you can.
No one loves being a mom every day
It is okay and completely normal to not love being a mom every single day. That does not make you a bad parent. It makes you human.
On those bad days, make a little extra time to do something for you. Practice some self-care, call a friend to watch the baby, or just take a minute to yourself.
It’s okay. Take the time that you need to mourn the loss of your old life. Being a mom is hard. It’s okay to not love every single second of it.
You don’t have to do it all by yourself
They say that it takes a village to raise a baby, and they are completely right.
You don’t have to do everything by yourself. To be honest, you really shouldn’t. Lean on your partner, your family, and your friends.
They are there to help and support you. Let them do that. You will feel better and your baby will be happier knowing that you are.
Ask for help
Do not ever feel embarrassed to ask for help. Raising a baby is hard, really hard.
Have a friend come over and watch your baby for an hour while you take a nap, or keep you company on days when you’re struggling.
And when in doubt, call your mom. She would surely love to have some time with her grand baby while you take a much needed shower and eat some real food.
Trust your instincts
Moms have amazing instincts when it comes to their children. Learn to trust yours.
If you feel that something is wrong, don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. You know your baby better than anyone else.
Trust that gut, Mama. It won’t steer you wrong.
Adjusting to Motherhood
So for those of you like me out there, know that there is hope. Even if you don’t feel bonded to your baby right now while you’re pregnant, there is still time.
Some women don’t bond with the baby even immediately after it is born, and that’s fine too. The one thing I heard time and time and time again is that every mom, every baby, and every pregnancy is completely different. Though I hated that statement, it is completely true.
How you feel about your baby and when it happens it unique to you. So don’t worry if you spend your whole pregnancy feeling like you have an alien growing inside you. I did.
And don’t worry if you’ve had your baby and you still don’t feel this overwhelming love and devotion to it. It happens. This baby has turned your life upside down. It is okay to feel a little off about the whole thing.
Now if the off feelings continue, or if you feel like you might hurt the baby, then that is something else and you should talk to your doctor. Even then it is nothing to be ashamed about.
As moms we tend to spend too much time beating ourselves up for not being the perfect mom.
Guess what? None of us are perfect and we probably never will be. We all have our struggles to go through and we are trying to figure it out the best way we know how.
So don’t feel guilty, and don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t going exactly how you planned. Nothing ever will. The sooner you can come to terms with that, the happier you will be.
Until then just remember to breathe. Relaxation is something we moms never really do. So try.
Whether it is for an hour, 5 minutes, or just 30 seconds, go take some time for yourself.
Wash your face, take a shower, do your nails, just do something for you that will make you happy. The laundry can wait. Other than the baby, the only other person you need to take care of is YOU.
How are you adjusting to becoming a mom for the first time? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!