New Moms Need Encouragement More Than Advice
They say nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood. From my experience, that was certainly the case. It wasn’t until I survived labor and delivery and was cradling my first babe that I started to get it. I felt like I had officially been initiated into the mommy club, joining millions of women who had gone before me. It was the most amazing feeling in the world, but it was also one of the most overwhelming.
That gorgeous baby boy, with a name that we gave him, was ours. OURS! The minute he came out of my womb, he was completely dependent upon us for everything. We would actually be taking him home to live with us permanently. Life was no longer only about us, but every decision we’d make would affect him as well.
Those decisions are endless, starting right from the very beginning. Should I breastfeed or formula feed? Send him to the nursery or keep him in our hospital room? Sleep train or go with the flow? Co-sleep or crib? Pacifier or no pacifier? Swaddle or no swaddle? Go back to work or stay at home?
It's complete overload and so much to process when you're dealing with all those postpartum hormones and emotions. Your world truly changes overnight. You can read and plan as much as you want, but the truth is you don't know how you really want to do things until you start living out your new reality.
When I think back to those early firstborn moments things flood back into my memory. I loved my hospital stay. Going to a U.S. maternity ward these days, or a "family birthing center" as many are now referred to, is practically like spending a couple days at a spa. After you get through the hard stuff, you're just pampered for the next couple days! I LOVED everything about it and was in no rush to get out of there.
But then the time comes, and they discharge you. You excitedly dress your tiny human in the adorable going home outfit you've been imagining him wearing for months.You carefully and somewhat awkwardly place your babe in the car seat and take the giddy going home picture, so overjoyed to start your life as a family.
Then you get in the car, and you realize that you are taking this baby to YOUR HOUSE. How in the world did they put the stamp of approval on this? And it hits you. You have no idea what you're doing.
But somehow you pull it together, welcome your baby inside your home, and start unpacking everything from the hospital. The busyness of it all distracts you for a while. That along with staring and thinking about how cute your baby is for about 98% of the day. Your precious miracle, now living and breathing in the great big world.
That first night is rough. At least it was for me. You're on your own, figuring out night feedings, how to swaddle, and if you're anything like me you didn't sleep a wink because you're too busy checking that he's still breathing for the 176th time. But you make it through, and the sun rises in the morning, its rays more beautiful than you've ever seen as they offer hope of a new day and new life.
The next few weeks continue to be full of new experiences, trusting your motherly instincts and figuring out what makes you the best mom you can be. This is where it can start to get a little tricky. You start to realize that your personality plays a big role in how you take care of your baby. Just as your baby was created uniquely, each of us moms were also created uniquely. We were given our specific babies for a reason, and even though we're new at this whole mom thing, we have an innate ability to feel and know what's right for our family and kids.
It can get tricky here because at this point, you've probably been influenced by a variety of people who are near and dear to you, and maybe some who aren't. Some of the things they do and advice they give make a lot of sense to you, and some of it doesn't. It doesn't mean one of you is right and the other wrong. It just means that each of us resonates with a specific parenting style because of who we are, and who our kids are.