You did it… you brought a beautiful baby into this world. For 9 months, you suffered aches and pains. You heard endless badgering on what to do and what not do regarding your baby. You became vulnerable and hypervigilant to yourself and the world around you. Take a moment and be proud of yourself – relish in the knowledge that you took pregnancy day by day, fighting the challenges it brings, and you made it here.
I think as new mothers we tend to get lost in the thoughts of others and their opinions rather than our own. This brings us back to the badgering from others about what you ought to be doing. Not only do you hear this on a regular basis, but when you get those few moments to yourself to look on social media and you see a mother on Instagram with her baby in their stroller with a fit and toned body after having a baby two months ago, you may think to yourself, “How do they do it? Am I doing something wrong?”. Momma, I’m here to tell you right now that you are perfectly fine where you are. Instagram shows the highlight reel of the mother, but they don’t show the trials they go through much like the trials you are going through. In fact, authors Alison Rogers and Erin White of Breathing Space for New Mothers: Rest, Stretch, and Smile – One Yoga Minute at a Time say, “the comparison game is the only game we play to lose”. It’s time to take a moment and read these few tips or words of advice:
Do not compare yourself to other women
Again, this goes back to the quote mentioned earlier. It’s hard for us to not compare ourselves to other women and become upset with ourselves because we aren’t in the same position as them. Momma, you’re doing it too. You’re raising your baby to the absolute best of your ability – you do not need Instagram or social media to prove that to others. 9 times out of 10, a lot of the celebrity women that you follow on social media that have children, have additional support from a nanny, a personal trainer, or maybe even a personal chef. Not all of us can sit in the lap of luxury, and that’s OK! Each journey is different for each mother. Don’t allow yourself time to compare your journey or tweak your journey to make it look more like the ones you see on social media. Focus on taking care of yourself and your precious baby.
Go easy on yourself.
Motherhood is complicated especially new motherhood. This is a completely different experience for you, and it is a learning experience. Please do not expect to get everything right; don’t beat yourself up when you don’t have all the answers. In fact, use this time to reach out for help. It is so important to make sure that you are taken care of so that way you can provide care to your baby. If you have family that can support you, lean on them during this time and get that additional support. If you need a break or someone to talk to, talk to your best girl friend (or guy friend!) and get all your emotions out there. To take it one step further, ask for the additional support if you need to attend therapy sessions to get back on track (post-partum depression is real, and we are here to help you). The importance of this is to not be so hard on yourself while you are learning. Your baby still loves you.
Breathe, breathe, breathe
You’re tired, you’re frustrated, you’ve been pushed to your limits. Take a few moments out of your day to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. While you are breathing, I want you to think about all that you are doing to help your baby and yourself. Understand that you are doing absolutely everything that you can – and you are doing your best. Just be with yourself for a few moments and realize that you are capable, you are relentless, you can do this.
I think it’s important to remember that it’s OK to not have all of the answers, and it is perfectly fine to take motherhood day by day. I just want you to know that you are not alone in this. I want you to understand that your emotions, your feelings are completely normal with everything going on around you. If you are a first-time mother, this is a totally differently worldview for you, and I want you to understand that this is a learning experience. You are doing the best that you can. If this is not your first time being a mother, you are still encouraged to practice these tips as you raise your little ones. I hope that these tips help you as you begin your journey through motherhood and immerse yourself in this beautiful opportunity as you continue to learn more and more about your baby.
Thank you, and take care!
Graduate Counseling Intern
Step by Step Counseling LLC