Encouragement for New Moms

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Post by Contributing Writer, Emily P.

This Mother’s Day signified a special time for my family and I. Not only was it my first mother’s day as a mom, but we also announced the coming of our second little one to extended family. As I look back on my year as a new mom and look ahead to the coming of a new life this fall, I am reminded of the unique struggles, lessons, and joys of early motherhood.

My first year as a mom was filled with so many changes, emotions, experiences, and struggles. Blissful naivety paved my passage into motherhood. As I anticipate the arrival of another little one, there are two principles I’ve learned along the way that I will be quicker to implement the second time around: giving myself time and making life easier.

Whether you are a new mom or expecting a little one soon, I’d like to share with you how I’m taking these principles into this next year, where, in a way, I’m becoming a “new mom” all over again…but maybe with a little more experience and patience under my quickly expanding belt.

Giving Myself Time

I am a reformed perfectionist and a recovering control-freak. I always want to do things better and quicker, but the early months of motherhood is a time to let go of expectations and be okay with going into “survival mode” for a while. These are ways I’ll be giving myself time:

  • Time to get back in shape. After my daughter was born, I got on the scale and was mortified that I was 30lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. None of my clothes fit. I had literally two shirts that I felt comfortable in. I wanted to lose all the weight immediately! It took awhile to accept that the pounds would come off, but in a matter of months, not weeks. The added fat is there for a reason: my baby needs it. I realized I needed to give myself a good year to lose most or all of the weight.
  • Time to get back in a routine. Routine is comforting during seasons of great change. For us control freaks, letting go of old routines and embracing the somewhat chaotic routine of nursing for 12 hours a day can be a difficult transition. This time around, I’m keeping priority on helpful routines like meals and bedtime, and letting go of secondary routines like play dates and library reading groups.
  • Time to heal. Birth is extremely demanding on the body. Supposedly us redheads bleed a lot during birth. I followed suit by obligingly having a double hemorrhage and passing out due to blood loss. My bleeding didn’t stop until about 8 weeks, and until then, I couldn’t stand for more than 20 minutes without extreme pressure. [Michele’s note: Me too.] Sometimes I wondered if I would ever feel “normal” again. I did, it just took…you guessed it, time.

Making Life Easier

With all the energy and determination of a woman who clearly never had a baby, I resolved to do cloth diapers in our apartment without laundry facilities. I kid you not, I registered and received a washboard from Amazon at one of my baby showers.

Thankfully we moved into an apartment with a laundry room before the baby came and I was spared from the daily task of bending over a tub scrubbing poopy diapers.

Instead of trying to ease the load of those first weeks, I now realize the unneeded pressure I put on myself to “do it all”. I think it’s hard for us as women give ourselves permission to take the easy route once in a while.

It’s more important to be rested and enjoy those first special weeks than to save some disposable diapers from going into the landfill. With that in mind, here are some things I’m doing with baby #2 to help ease the load:

  • Disposable is easier. For the first couple weeks we will be using disposable plates/cups/utensils and disposable diapers will be on hand for those days when washing diapers seems like an insurmountable task.
  • Watching some TV is easier. When the new baby comes, the TV will be turned on at times, and instead of feeling guilty, I’m going to make special memories with my daughter as we snuggle up with the new baby and some snacks for a little tube time together.
  • The freezer is easier. Receiving meals from friends and family is a wonderful blessing, but those seemed to end all too soon and my husband and I were left ordering out more than we’d like out of sheer exhaustion. Before the baby comes, I’m planning on making extras of dinners each night and freezing them for easy postpartum meals.
  • Others helping is easier. After the birth of my daughter, I was willing to accept help, but not so willing to ask for it. While it can be difficult to ask for help, I realized that my friends and family love to help and feel needed and appreciated when I allow them to do so.

This time, I’ll be asking for help on things like babysitting, running errands, basic housework and meals. [Michele’s Note: If you don’t have willing helpers around, you may need to pay someone, like I did. You may be able to get doula recommendations from a local midwife or school.]

The early months of motherhood are exhausting, but by giving myself time and trying to make life a little easier, I hope to find more balance and peace during this upcoming exciting time.

What have you found helpful during the early months of motherhood?


Emily and her husband make their home in Portland, OR and enjoy the community and camaraderie of life in the city.  After the arrival of their baby girl in the spring of 2010, Emily quit her job and dove into homemaking headfirst and wholeheartedly.  Emily is passionate about helping others become self-sufficient through simple and sustainable living.  Find Emily’s latest adventures at Sustainable Food for Thought.

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7 comments to Encouragement for New Moms

  • Thanks, Emily :)
    I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above. The freezer totally helps!
    By the way, we’re in Portland, too. Seems there are a lot of mamas in Portland who are blogging these days!

    [Reply]

  • what great encouragement! i completely agree … as a new mama to my 6 week old josiah, i connected w/so much that you shared. it can be so hard to give ourselves grace, and time … to heal, and to get back to feeling “normal.” i’ve been asking that very question – when will i feel normal again!? as a homeschooling mama to our 11 yr old daughter, that feeling of pressure to “do” and “be on” feels even more compounded.
    i am learning, slowly … grace for this season that i need to savor as it’s already passing.
    thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Thanks for this post! I will be having our first little one any day now and hope to learn to be a little less of a control freak. Of course, the month of bedrest helped with that a little… God has a way of teaching us what we need to learn! :)

    [Reply]

    Emily P Reply:

    @Mariposa,

    Hi Mariposa!
    God certainly does teach us what we need to learn, and I often think of the verse from Hebrews 12:11 –

    “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

    I’ve always wrestled with being a patient person, and often prayed for God to increase my patience towards others. Becoming a mama has been THE BIGGEST teaching/shaping tool for me in becoming more patient. My hope is that we as mothers will let the sleepless nights, the personal inconveniences, the feelings of inadequacy, and all the “painful” experiences of motherhood, train us to yield peaceful and righteous fruit. So often we want to be in control while God teaches us, but it’s in the moments when we feel least in control when we can be shaped the most.

    Blessings to you as you anticipate your new little one!
    ~Emily

    [Reply]

  • Rebekah

    Emily!

    I loved this post! I am nodding in agreement to all your 2nd baby resolutions – I have resolved to do all these same things when we have our second as well. As the oldest child of a large family, I blithely assumed that I knew what I was doing before my first arrived. But the part I was absolutely and totally unprepared for was the emotional stress and physical toll of caring for an infant. I had a touch of post-partum depression that I was totally blind-sided by. Nursing was difficult. Sleep was a vague memory from my very distant past. My newborn cried and fussed most of the time she was awake. It was rough. Plus, I delivered via emergency C, so my personal recovery time was difficult.

    On the topic of healing, here I am two years + later and I’m still slowly recovering from some of the childbirth complications. I would encourage new mamas NOT to ignore “minor” health symptoms. Get them checked out and resolved. It’s easy to put your own needs off when you have a newborn to think of, but your health and recovery is critically important to being the best parent you can be!

    And I really liked your description of yourself as, “reformed perfectionist and a recovering control-freak.” LOL. Me too.

    [Reply]

  • Jenn S

    I just our second about 3 weeks ago! I definitely agree with you on all of it. For me, my recovery with the second was significantly easier. I hemorrhaged with my first and had a pretty tough recovery, but my second has been the complete opposite. My midwife is constantly telling me to slow down because I feel so great. I hope it is the same for you! People gave us a lot of diapers so I don’t plan on using cloth for a while. I am really grateful for the extra time to get back on my feet and bond with my little girl!

    Also, I took alpha everyday for the last two months and when I hemorrhaged again this time, I didn’t feel half as weak. I am still taking it and my bleeding has stopped. Also I am taking extra iron supplements too till I am completely healed. I think this has helped with recovering. Thanks for your post!!

    [Reply]

  • Great article – thanks! I am going on almsot 3 months now with my little guy!

    [Reply]

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