Being a new mom is one of the greatest chapters in a woman’s life.
There are so many changes that happen, and while you can’t plan everything, you can prepare.
As I’ve gone on my own journey into motherhood, I’ve found the information to be so incredibly helpful in feeling more prepared, which has increased my confidence.
It’s a great idea to learn a thing or two about being a new mom ahead of time, as it can help you navigate the new chapter with a bit more ease and a bit less anxiety.
The list below includes 9 things new moms need to know based on all my research, experience, and working with clients who are mothers with kids of all ages.
Pre-baby you were likely a rockstar at getting everything done. With this new season as a mom, that likely won’t be the case. This means that a lot of things that used to get done, now won’t. Allowing things to fall by the wayside, whether it’s the dishes or laundry or something else, is okay.
When you make peace with the messiness of being a new mom and all that comes with it, you can drop the need to “get it all done” and fall into the beauty (and mess) that is the new phase of motherhood.
While every woman’s experience with breastfeeding is different, it’s very common that it’s not easy. Knowing this ahead of time can be useful as you embark on your new journey into motherhood.
If it’s hard for you, don’t feel like a failure or beat yourself up. It’s hard for so many women.
Whether you breastfeed, use a breast pump, have a lot of breast milk coming in, use formula, or something else, you are doing what’s best for you and your new baby and that’s what’s most important.
Ina May’s Guide To Breast Feeding is a book I highly recommend on this topic.
In the book The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson, the author talks about how important it is for the mother to be mothered.
I love this analogy.
You, as the new mom, start on the journey of mothering a baby, and at the same time, you also need to be mothered.
What this means is that you need to be taken care of. You have needs, too. When you have a baby crying and experience sleep deprivation, it can be hard to get your needs met.
For this reason, coming up with a plan for how you can be more supported during the “fourth trimester” postpartum phase is crucial.
It’s unlikely that everything will go exactly as planned when your new baby arrives.
And pregnancy was likely a taste of this. Whether you went past your due date, failed your first glucose test, had your epidural fall out (like my friend did), or something else, you’re already familiar with things that might not go as planned.
Expect this to continue into the first couple weeks and really the first couple of months of motherhood.
For a first time mom, there can be so much pressure that you put on yourself to know everything and do a good job. But aiming to “be a good mom” can get you into so much trouble. It’s a bar that you’ll likely find so hard to meet. This is why I love the “world’s okayest mom” shirt that I own. Sometimes I’ll be an amazing mom and other times I’ll be not so great. But I’m the mom and this is what you get.
When you relieve yourself of the pressure to be better and do better, you can allow for the messiness of motherhood to be part of the journey and that includes things not going as planned.
As you start to take care of your new baby and quite literally grow a human, you’ll need to be supported yourself.
So, get used to saying yes when help is offered.
This means that if your mother in law or neighbor offers to go to the grocery store for you, say yes. Even if it seems like something you can do, say yes anyway. The less you have on your plate, the better.
As you start to transition into that fourth trimester phase, you’ll likely find the pull to “get back to your old self.”
Try to put this off and not rush the process.
One of my clients got back on her Peloton after six weeks before she was approved and it caused her a lot of pain and she ended up taking a few steps back in her recovery.
This is where information ahead of time can be so helpful. Really understanding that this new phase of being a new mom is something to lean into with your whole heart and mind can be the best thing for you. While our society tends to reward moms who “bounce back fast” this can be detrimental to your health.
Give yourself permission to go with the flow and take it easy.
Just like your baby needs to be taken care of, so do you. And while your self care routine is going to look a lot different with a new baby, having a small intention to practice a little bit of self care can go a lot way.
This may mean that while your husband has your little baby girl, you sneak off to take a shower, a bath, a short nap, or journal about how you’re feeling.
It can be as small as 10 minutes. It just needs to be met with your intent to take care of yourself for that short amount of time.
As human beings, we tend to project our current state into the future forever.
When I was pregnant in my first trimester, I was incredibly nauseous and it felt like it was never going to end.
The same can be true of any challenging season where we project that pain out into the future.
Reminding yourself that it’s just a season and it will pass can be a really useful way to think about the challenges that come with the fourth trimester.
As the transition into becoming a mom can be very challenging initially, there’s still space for you to find small moments of contentment every day.
It will likely take intention, so as you seek to find moments of joy, remember to get the support you need in a community of likeminded mamas. This is the work we do inside Grow You, my virtual life coaching membership for moms.
Becoming a mom is full of changes, some of which are amazing and others of which are challenging.
Remember to give yourself grace, and know that you’re going to do both: an amazing and messy job and that this is part of the journey—a beautiful and messy one.