Becoming a mother for the first time is an amazing experience. Your new baby will bring you more joy than you can possibly imagine. Holding your little one for the very first time is a feeling you will never forget.
We would be lying if we said first-time motherhood was not also a tad bit anxiety-inducing. Moms worry about all sorts of things before – and after – their precious babes come into this world. Some of the most common fears include not bonding with your baby, an inability to breastfeed, or accidentally hurting him or her.
Worrying is perfectly normal. You know what is not typical? Expecting you will be a perfect mom right out of the gate. The truth is, no mom ever is on her game 100 percent. There is no such thing as the perfect mom. Whether she has one child or five, motherhood is full of surprises and every mom makes mistakes.
While you still have time to plan, here are some helpful tips to soothe those first-time mom jitters.
Tip #1: Pick and choose
One thing that is certain when you are pregnant is you will receive a ton of advice from well-meaning people. They will share their secrets of great parenting. Some will be more insistent than others about what you should and should not do once your little one arrives. The truth is what works for one mom is not necessarily going to give you the same results. Take for example the age-old advice to “nap while your baby is napping.” While that sounds great in theory, some moms simply may not need to nap when their baby is sleeping. It is perfectly OK to choose which advice works best for you and ignore the rest. Every baby is different, and every mom is unique, too.
Tip #2: Lose the germ obsession
Do not get us wrong. We are not suggesting that there are not steps you should take to keep your baby healthy. Obsessing over germs is not the best approach. It is the quickest way to drive yourself mad. Keeping your baby away from people who are feeling under the weather is the best approach. You also can ask visitors to kindly wash their hands before holding your baby and to avoid getting in their little faces. Babies are irresistible, but it is best to ask others to keep their lips to themselves to help prevent the spread of disease. Remember to be smart about protecting your baby’s health without going overboard.
Tip #3: Do not sweat the bad days
Tending to a newborn is can be challenging at times. It is important to remember you are not a bad mom. Sure, you may have a bad day here or there, but one bad day does not make you a bad mother. Not every day as a mom will be filled with endless joy. Babies and children get sick. Sometimes they refuse to eat healthy food. There will be times when you are exhausted and longing for a little time for yourself. Sometimes you will make the wrong decision when caring for your child. All of this is normal. When you have one of those days, do not sweat it. Own it. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that tomorrow is another day.
Tip #4: Share the work
If your partner is part of your pregnancy and child-raising journey, make sure to include them. New moms can be a bit fanatical about worrying that no one else but them can take care of the baby. While it may feel that way, we promise it is not true. It is just your anxiety playing tricks on you. Handing over the responsibility to your partner provides new moms with a chance to tend to their own needs. Yes, you will still have your own needs outside of caring for your baby, and that is perfectly acceptable. Take a nap, soak in the tub, or watch your favorite show while your partner spends quality time with the baby.
Tip #5: Find your tribe
Yes, your partner should be your first line of defense when you need help. If your partner is not a part of your parenting journey, it is time to find your tribe. This is the group of go-to people you can count on when you need them most. They know when to step up to the plate (and when to keep their unsolicited advice to themselves).
Tip #6: Leave the mess
You know who has a perfect home that always looks immaculate? No one, that’s who. When you become a parent, your house becomes a lot messier. It is just a fact of life. The sooner you accept it, the more at peace you will be with it. Even if you have piles of laundry in places they should not be, and last night’s dinner dishes are still in the sink, it is A-OK. What matters most is you and your baby are happy and healthy. Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to leave the mess.
Tip #7: Take time for yourself
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects up to 1 in 7 women. Some of the warning signs of PPD include a loss of pleasure or interest in things you previously enjoyed and eating more or less than usual. New mothers with PPD also may experience racing, scary thoughts. While it is normal to have some anxiety over becoming a new mom, if you are focused on your fears to the point it is interfering with your ability to parent, it is time to reach out for help. Even for women who are not experiencing PPD, it is easy to become overwhelmed when you are a first-time mom. That is why it is important to take time for yourself each day to unwind. If you are worried or anxious, if you are struggling emotionally or physically, then reach out to a trusted friend and speak with your healthcare provider immediately.
A trusted partner for first-time moms
Care Net Pregnancy Centers is a trusted partner for first-time moms. We offer pregnancy and parenting education designed to walk you through the process and prepare you for all the joys and challenges of parenthood. We ensure you are ready to meet all the basic care needs for your baby and have the support you need to succeed. Contact us today to learn more.