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I’ve often read or heard new mom advice about finding balance after birth. And I needed to write this, for every mom who struggles after having a baby. In most cases, there is no such thing as balance for new moms. And here is why.
When I arrived at her home and entered her room, everything reminded me of my first days of motherhood. Diapers and baby creams on the changing table, a milk pump near the bed, cute little onesies on a shelf. And the tired look on my friend’s face.
It was almost noon and she was still in her pajamas, surrounded by that chaos that seemed so familiar. She looked at me and I could tell that she felt bad that I found her like this.
I smiled and I told him how happy I was to see her. Then, I asked her if she would like me to take care of the baby for a while and allow her to have some rest, take a bath, eat a quiet meal, or anything else she would like to do.
She seemed so surprised and relieved to hear this. She came closer and hugged me.
“How did you do it?”, she asked.
“Managing everything with a baby. Finding a balance as a new mom. Not struggling to survive THIS.”
She emphasized the last word as she looked around. Then she stopped and looked at me as if she hoped that I will come up with a magic solution that will make all the struggles disappear.
“I didn’t”, I said. “I was exactly like you: tired, scared, exhausted. Feeling overwhelmed. Fearing that I’m doing everything wrong because it seemed so hard!”
It wasn’t the answer she hoped for. But surprisingly it made her feel better. Because she knew that she wasn’t alone.
We kept talking about this that day. And I truly felt that she needed to hear that other moms struggled too. That no one is fully prepared for all the changes that a baby brings. That finding balance takes time.
photo credit: Nina Buday / shutterstock.com
So I wanted to write about this, hoping that this message will get to many other new moms who have the same struggles.
There is no such thing as balance when you are a new mom. And here is why.
Emotionally, having your first baby is overwhelming. Suddenly you have this fragile human being who is totally dependent on you. It’s normal to feel confused and even scared.
In many ways, being a new mom is more about survival than is about finding a balance.
It’s like going through a recovery period after a big surgery. No one expects a patient to be balanced and thrive immediately after a big surgery. It takes time for the body to recover. For the patient to feel capable of doing everything they used to do before.
The same thing applies to the postnatal period. And even months after it. No one should expect a new mom to immediately adjust to her new role. To be able to manage everything she used to do before while taking care of the baby. To be balanced and not feel overwhelmed.
Finding a balance after a big change takes time.
It applies to every big change in our lives. And the beginning of motherhood is no exception.
It takes your body several weeks to recover after giving birth. And you should allow yourself at least the same amount of time to emotionally adjust to all the changes.
Those sleepless nights, those worries and concerns that sometimes overwhelm you, that feeling that life with a baby is more difficult than you’ve ever expected… All these things are normal! Every new mom experiences them.
It will take time for you to feel in control again. It will take time for your days and nights to be “normal” again. And that “normal” might be totally different from the “normal” you were used to before having a baby.
So, in the first months, don’t put pressure on you. Don’t expect to find balance.
Instead, give yourself time to adapt. Talk about your feelings with your spouse or a close friend. Let them support you.
Ask for help anytime you need it. And allow the people around you to help you even if you feel that you should make everything by yourself.
Allow yourself to ignore some other areas in your life and just focus on you and the baby.
photo credit: Nina Buday / shutterstock.com
That balance that you would wish to have again will come. One day you’ll feel in control again. One day you’ll stop feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Until then, try to enjoy every happy moment in the midst of all the chaos. Every smile, every giggle, every first new thing that your baby does. This will give you more strength and motivation to hold on and slowly conquer overwhelm one day at a time.
There is no balance when you are a new mom. But there is joy and emotion even in the most challenging days. And many little moments that will melt your heart.
Let them be your guide through all the struggles and challenges that you’ll face.
And anytime when you feel down, remember this: Even in the hardest day, when you are still in your pajamas at noon, when your hair looks messy and you have dark circles under your eyes, you are still that ONE person that can make your baby feel happy and safe. In your baby’s eyes, you are perfect.
And this is all that matters.
photo credit preview photo: Tomsickova Tatyana / shutterstock.com