Dear new mama,
What I want to say, in a nutshell, is go easy on yourself. If you’re anything at all like me (i.e. a type-A teacher) you want to be great at being a mom from the get-go. Maybe you have read books about the nifty schedules you can put baby on, or maybe you want to be the kind of mom who goes from moment to moment and just sees what baby needs.
Whatever way you are planning to go, if it goes differently, forgive yourself. Know that you are still doing an awesome job, even when it feels like you have no idea what you’re doing. Try not to punish yourself for being upset or disappointed, overwhelmed or frustrated.
It seems like society and the media put so much pressure on us to be happy and joyful, in control and just doing a fabulous job taking care of the baby (and ourselves!) right from the beginning. But your body and hormones are going through a huge shift, not to mention your lifestyle. It can be an easy and smooth transition, and I wish that for you with all my might.
In case it’s not, though, it’s ok and you are absolutely not alone. I think for most of us it’s harder than we will admit, especially on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Whether the birth goes differently than you were hoping or the first few weeks or months are difficult, it’s not your fault in any way.
These are the things that nobody told me, and when my baby refused to stay on the schedule I planned for him and the birth I wanted turned out to be incredibly traumatic for me, I didn’t know it was OK to be upset about it. I thought (and I was told) that the problem was ME. I let things spiral and worsen for months because I had no idea that motherhood could be so difficult or that there were complications like mood disorders and genetics and my own difficult childhood that could cause me to stumble on my own journey.
But you don’t have to do that, mama.
You can start by forgiving yourself right away for having negative thoughts and feelings, and if they overwhelm you, you can ask for help and know that it’s the best possible thing you can do for yourself and your baby. You’ve got this. You’re not alone.
We mamas are right here with you.
The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit http://postpartumprogress.org/community/.