Things I wish I'd known as a new mom

There aren't a lot of things I regret about my parenting experience. In fact, I'm happy with the decisions I've made. But when I think about the time my son was a newborn, I can only remember being overwhelmed by how demanding motherhood is. If I could go back in time, I may have gone a little easier on myself as a new mom.

The new mom phase is as exhausting as it is, without having to burden yourself with endless worries. But of course, that's exactly what we do! I know this is what happens to most new mothers. Can't blame them - they are sleep deprived, and have upon them the responsibility of raising a helpless human being.

If there is anything I could do differently when I became a mom, here are some of the things I would tell myself:

The things I wish I could have told myself when I was new mother.

You can leave the baby alone for a few minutes.

I felt that I had to entertain my baby every second he was awake. I felt that if he didn't see me for a few minutes, he would feel neglected, and that would make me a bad mother. This was a very impractical of me, of course, because ordinary things like using the washroom and having food became difficult. I shouldn't have felt guilty about putting him down, or maybe I should have tried babywearing. What happened instead is that I barely had any time to myself for the most basic tasks.

You don't need to have a spotless house.

I'm the kind of person who hates clutter, so I worried constantly about having a clean house. Obviously, that was far from possible with a newborn. I wish I had realized that there would come in time where I could clean the house to my heart's content, but right then I just needed to focus on my baby, who was growing up fast.

You don't have to look hot right now.

I don't think we ever feel as low about our bodies as we do soon after having a baby. I mean, everything goes haywire, and you don't know who you're looking at in the mirror. I wish I hadn't worried about that at all. There were so many other important things to think about, and I definitely didn't need to adhere to the false notion that I should look hot and sexy soon after giving birth. With time, I did become my earlier self - but not completely. My body has changed in many ways, and I'm proud of it, because I brought a child into this world, after all.

You can't always stop a baby from crying.

I tried my best to avoid having my baby cry. I fed him often, and I held him as much as I could. I burped him after every feed, and I rocked him to sleep. Despite that, he cried. It made me feel helpless and horrible. I thought only babies who had pain or discomfort cried, but that's only partially true. Babies cry as a form of communication. They may be sleepy, or cold, or overstimulated, and they'll cry. And there's no actual way to understand why.

The world will still be there when you get back to it.

I worried that everything about my past life was over. I thought I would lose all my friends, and I would never write again, or read a book, or watch a movie. Yes, motherhood brings about some drastic changes and it is overwhelming. Your life will change, but you will appreciate the beauty of it. You will lose a few things, but you will also gain a sense of fulfillment. You will eventually get back on track, even if it is a new you. The world will still be there, and you will find friends - some old, and some new.

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Janine Huldie said...

All of the above, I wish I could have told myself, especially that you can't always calm a crying baby. So, yes totally can relate and then some!! :)

Unknown said...

All too true! This post reminded me of how every time I had a bath or shower I would first set up my twins in their seats in the bathroom as I was too worried about not hearing them!

Kristi Campbell said...

Yes yes yes! I love this and felt so much the same during early motherhood. I freaked out when my son cried, I felt like I needed to be with him all the time, and would let him fall asleep on my lap. Then, I'd be worried about waking him so wouldn't put him down to do some much needed "me stuff." I did learn eventually though. And I had to laugh at "You don't need to be hot right now" because watching our bodies do what they do during pregnancy and afterwards is NUTS. I remember getting home from the hospital and weighing myself. I'd only lost like 8 pounds, and 7 of that was the baby. WTH?? Crazy times and lovely lovely post Tarana!

Notmyyearoff said...

Ahhhhhhhhh all so true - you could have been writing about me. I did once put the alarm on at night to make sure I didn't miss the night feed!!! :O I had obviously lost all my marbles :D

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

Yes, yes, and yes!!! Especially number one for me. Looking back I can't believe how much attention I gave my little guy! There's no way a second child is going to get that much attention.

Dana @ Kiss my List said...

These are all so true. I remember dragging the bassinet into the bathroom when I took a shower. What was I going to do if she started crying while I was in the shower? Nothing. Second kid? Left him in his crib, and he was fine!

Unknown said...

This is so beautiful and so perfect! I think many of us wish we could tell our new mom selves to relax a little bit. I know I did a LOT of things differently with my second child! :) I love the wisdom here!

Tarana Khan said...

It was a bit of a surprise to see how much they cry, and it's frustrating to not know why!

Tarana Khan said...

I always wanted to be able to see and hear him! In fact, the only time I took a shower was when my husband got home :D

Tarana Khan said...

Thank you, Kristi! The same thing used to happen to me - he would fall asleep on my lap, and then I was afraid to wake him up, and I'd just sit there with my phone.

Tarana Khan said...

No, you didn't! I would have done something like that too, I just don't remember.

Tarana Khan said...

Haha, I think the same!

Tarana Khan said...

I didn't even have the guts to do that. I simply waited to take a shower when the hubby reached home! Can't believe those days actually happened!

Tarana Khan said...

Thank you, Stephanie! I think there are certain things we only do the first time around.

Balroop Singh said...

This is a fantastic post, Tarana!! I could relate to each one of your points, as a mother and a grandmother! You always become wiser with each experience. xoxo.

Ameena said...

I wish I'd known that you can't always stop a baby from would have made me a much better, more patient mother for sure. It's been 9 years though and I STILL remember the incessant crying! :)

Great post for a new mom. I wish I'd read something like this before I had kids.

Tarana Khan said...

Thank you, Balroop. I completely agree about experience changing our perspectives so much.

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks Ameena. Sometimes we just learn the hard way, but that's life, right?

Unknown said...

I love this post - I often think back and have exactly the same thoughts as you do! I hope that one day I can put them to good use and know better next time around! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

Unknown said...

Fab post and so very true Tarana! I would also tell myself not to be so hard on myself to be *perfect* as its impossible!! :) Xx

Tarana Khan said...

Thanks, Caroline! We really must stop trying to be 'perfect' parents.

Chris Carter said...

I love this. Oh the worries and overwhelming madness of having this new infant in your care!! This is lovely for all new moms to read.

TheMissusV said...

So true!

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