Dear New Mom,
From the moment I became pregnant, it felt like the world was whispering messages of “not enough.” I didn’t drink enough water, get enough sleep, consume enough leafy greens. The stack of pregnancy and parenting books on my nightstand was a testament to how much I had left to learn, and the baby supply catalogs and formula samples that magically found their way into my mailbox proved that I didn’t yet have enough sheets, blankets, diapers, swaddlers, wipe warmers, or pacifiers, and that I had yet to find the perfect crib for the perfect nursery.
I think many pregnant and new moms experience this feeling of “not enough,” because the truth is that when we bring a baby into our lives, we embark on an experience and life career that none of us were trained for. All new parents muddle through to some degree, but for some of us, the Warrior Moms? That feeling becomes crippling.
What began as worry during my pregnancy quickly spiraled into obsessive anxiety. Suddenly, the burp rags weren’t straight enough and needed to be refolded, again. The counter at a local deli wasn’t clean enough, and so I could not eat there, lest I put my unborn baby in danger. I believed I wasn’t a “good enough” wife or mother-to-be, and that my husband would be happier with someone else. These thoughts consumed my days and nights, and I had no idea they weren’t normal.
What I want you to know, you amazing New Mom, is that you are enough. You are so very much “enough,” that I can’t even begin to put it into words. If you are finding yourself struggling to navigate this new role as a mom, you are not alone. Being a new mom is hard. There is no magic answer, no instructor’s manual for your baby, and no right way to prepare or care for your child. When we pile on the pictures of perfect motherhood that are plastered all over our social media streams and pop culture outlets, it’s easy to see why we feel so inadequate.
Over the last 7 years with Postpartum Progress, I’ve met a lot of moms, and so believe me when I say, you are just the right mom for your child and you are already everything that she needs.
And, if like me, you find yourself consumed by worry and fear if it’s causing you to not recognize yourself, please know that it doesn’t have to be that way. You deserve to be well and to experience your pregnancy or adoption and postpartum period with a healthy amount of new mom worry, without dread or fear. There is hope and help. And we will be there beside you, every step of the way.
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/.