Several of my friends are currently pregnant with their first and some who’ve recently had their little bundle of joy. As I watch them navigate the changes their bodies are going through, their emotional ups and downs, I want to reach out to every single one of them a give a big, long hug. Because I’ve been there. Looking back at the whirlwind when the boys were first here, I remember the stress, obligations, and expectations. The anxiety, the pressure. So much pressure. If I could turn back time I would have told myself these things. And with that retrospect, hopefully it’ll comfort some of you.
Trust in yourself. Trust in your instincts. Yes, learn as much as you can, read as much as you can. But honestly, we are all just kind of winging it. Trust in your ability to mother your child how you see fit. There will be so much advice coming from all different directions. By all means heed the advice, it’s usually coming from a good place, from people who care about you. BUT don’t sway when your gut tells you otherwise; stand firm in your beliefs. Ultimately, you know what’s best for you, your child, and family.
Dust Yourself Off. When you fail and you will, dust yourself off. Stand up and try again. There is always tomorrow. Mothers are doing the best they can with what they have. And some days it doesn’t work out according to plan and that’s okay. There will be many days ahead with many learning curveballs. Don’t sit and dwell on the negative, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Move on, stay focused, and stay positive. Brush yourself off and overcome the next challenge that is surely heading your way.
Accept help. And ask for help. This is a big one. Trust me, you will need the help. If there is help around or offers, TAKE IT. Don’t feel guilty. Family and friends who are offering to help, love you. Let them hold your baby while you hop in the shower. Let grandma babysit while you sneak in a 15 minute power nap so you can last the night shift with a newborn baby. It takes a village to raise a child, don’t reject the village. As a society, we’ve become more and more isolated with our nuclear families and have lost that sense of community. We were meant to do this together. So when the chance comes along, offer your help to a new mom and when that offer is returned, graciously accept.
It’ll be okay. I should have told myself this more. I should have believed it. I should have had that mantra playing over and over when I was exhausted, emotionally drained, or worried about everything. Breathe, it’ll be okay. I promise you. They grow older everyday, inching closer to every milestone. Kids don’t come with manuals but if you let yourself relax a little, the journey will be more less stressful. Remember to trust your gut, advocate for your children and your beliefs; remember to breathe, you’ll get there.