A Memo to the First Time Mom: 15 Things You Need to Know
9. FYI: Some babies don't sleep! Sleep is actually a very developmental thing and the first six week of a child's life can either go smoothly with no bumps in the road at all... or it can be like the rest of us with quite a few bumps in the road. I highly, highly recommend Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Get the book before you have the baby and read up on sleep development and what to expect in the first four months.
10. If the "baby blues" last longer than two weeks, talk with your doctor. The fluctuation of hormones after delivery are crazy, but they should be evened out after the first two weeks. If you are feeling not connected to your baby at all, please speak with your doctor or another trusted medical person.
11. It's okay if you get frustrated with your baby in the middle of the night when he or she won't go back to sleep. This doesn't mean that you don't love your baby or that you are a terrible mother. One thing needs to be clear: Don't act on that frustration and if need be, wake your partner up to take over. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture in some prisoner of war scenarios.
12. Get out of the house as often as you can with that newborn! You'll be amazed by how portable newborns are. They can pretty much sleep anywhere and at any time. Go out on a date. Go and see a movie. I promise once the baby gets to three months, you'll begin to be tied to a nap schedule.
13. Life will seem overwhelming but honestly, you will look back on this time when you have other children and realize how special it really was. It's so hard as a first time mom to keep things in perspective; you feel like a novice and there really isn't a clear cut instruction manual that comes with your baby. You will never have a time where you can focus on only one baby without being distracted. You won't have another time when you will feel like you aren't constantly trying to juggle everyone. You will miss the afternoons spent holding your child as he sleeps on your lap. You will miss the simplicity that only one child brings into your life. Of course you won't realize this at the time which is why I'm telling you: Cherish this time and understand that it is as easy as it's going to get.
14. Get connected to other moms who are in the same stage of life as you. I can't tell you how many times I'd call my mom in a panic and she would explain to me that it had been 28 years since she had a baby and she just couldn't remember. Whether it's a moms group that you can find online or a group that meets in a church, it is imperative that you meet women who are in the same place as you.
15. Even with all of these annoying body changes, emotional stresses, and unplanned situations you will never regret the decision you made to have this child. You may even want to do it again! I mean look at me...I'm on my third pregnancy which means I'm going to go through this infant stage for the third time. How crazy is that?!
Chin up and remember to laugh as often as you can, let yourself cry when you really need it and don't be afraid to ask for help. No one expects you to be perfect, none of us are, and the sooner you realize that perfection isn't what makes someone a good mother, the sooner you'll be able to experience your full potential. You can do this and you will do it. You are the best mother your child will ever have and no trying situation or unplanned event can take that away from you. Ever.
Bert, a now veteran mom, who vividly remembers being a first time mom.