Tips for new moms: A girlfriend’s guide to birth and the 4th trimester (part 2 of 2)
[Read Part 1 here.]
12. Give yourself some grace.
Some days, as a new mama, you will feel incredibly accomplished. Other days you will feel like it’s a struggle just to find time to shower… much less cook, clean, run errands, and whatever else you want to do. Especially during your “fourth trimester” (the first three months post-partum) give yourself time to find your groove. Do what you can, but give yourself grace for what you can’t.
13. Be prepared to be hormonal.
Unfortunately the emotional rollercoaster doesn’t stop as the pregnancy gives way to birth. Your hormones will still be raging for a while. If you have really high highs and low lows for a period, don’t be alarmed. You might cry easily or anger easily, but this will also pass with a bit of time. (Case in point: When my baby was a few weeks old I was singing “You are my sunshine” to him as I changed his diaper. When I got to the line “please don’t take my sunshine away” I burst into tears. My husband walked in to find me a blubbering mess and asked me what was wrong. “I just love him a lot!!!” I responded as I continued to cry my little eyes out.) Apparently that’s normal.
14. Reach out to others.
You have a lot to process right now as your life changes. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and make sure you keep talking. Talk through your emotions and your expectations. Talk through your fears and anxieties. Talk about your joys and talk about your challenges.
15. Be honest with yourself related to the “baby blues.”
If you feel like you have the “baby blues” then take it seriously and find out more. Research or talk to your health care provider to see what’s normal and what’s more serious. There’s no shame in having the “baby blues” or even in having depression, so if you suspect you need help, then get it. You’ll be a better mother for it.
16. Don’t try to get your old body back, aim for your best new body.
Even as a thin person who didn’t gain a ton of extra weight during pregnancy, I still needed to realize that my body will never be the same. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s the progression of life moving forward. Don’t live in the past and spend time dwelling on what used to be… Instead, spend time making the most of where you’re at and where you’re going. (And enjoy those big boobs if you’re normally a size B like me… they don’t last forever either!)
17. Write baby milestones down on a calendar as they happen.
We all love to think we’re going to capture everything in a baby book or a blog, but sometimes we don’t have a firm grip on the reality of the work that will be. Write your baby’s milestones on a calendar that you can refer back to when filling in the baby book. As much as you think you won’t… you will forget. (And it sure beats scrolling back through months of your facebook status updates to try and remember what happened when!!)
18. Early on, establish goals for you time and husband time.
Even if these aren’t set in stone, at least have them in place and try your best to follow-through. You’d be surprised at how quickly a month can go by without having taken time out for yourself or for a date with your husband or your girlfriends. Be as deliberate as absolutely possible to prioritize these. You’ll be a better (saner) mom because of it.
19. Don’t be ruled by your insecurities.
Becoming a parent inevitably unearths fears and insecurities. Instead of being alarmed by this or feeling like it disqualifies you or makes you a failure, realize that having them exposed is part of the process of dealing with them. Give yourself some grace, learn, grow, and rise above them.
20. Cuddle your baby as much as you want. (You can’t spoil a baby.)
He will only be tiny once (and not for very long), so don’t be too eager to start schedules and routines and rules. Just snuggle in together, let him sleep on your chest, and do as you please… especially for the first couple of weeks. Both you and your baby will be happier for it. Plus, he’s just a wee little thing – he needs you more than you probably realize.
21. Take a million photos.
You will never get this time back. Take as many photos and video clips as you want. In fact, take more than you want. You can always delete them later. If your husband forgets to take some with you in them, order him to do so. I’m so glad to be in lots of the photos from the first few days… I really was there at the birth and I have photos to prove it!
22. Remember that you can only do what you can do.
No parent is perfect, but the parent who loves deeply, commits whole-heartedly, faces challenges with dedication, and cares for their child the best they know how… that is what qualifies you for greatness in parenting. You are the best mom your baby will ever have so don’t sell yourself short and don’t get trapped by lies that tempt you to think you’re not “good enough” or “competent enough” or “anything-else enough”. This must become your mantra: I’m a great mom, I’m a great mom, I’m a great mom.
Read part one here.
Dear friends, if you are an expecting mom, did you find this two-part post helpful? And if you’ve already had your babies, what’s the best advice that you were given as a first-time-mom and/or the advice that you now give to other expecting moms?
learning more all the time,