Having a baby is a HUGE life change — one that is both incredible and incredibly hard at the same time. There are so many emotions surrounding the birth of a baby, and I think one of the best things to do to prepare for that is to have realistic expectations about some of the feelings and hardships that might come up during those first few months. While you may experience a love you have never felt before, you also might feel lonelier than you could have ever imagined, or may not be bonding with your baby the way you dreamed you would.
While there is no perfect solution to feel constant joy throughout those first few months, there are some things that can help with the transition to motherhood (or to more than one child if this isn't your first rodeo!). While I work specifically with families, helping everyone to get the sleep they need, here at Sleep Shop, I think it's just as important that everyone gets the emotional support they need as well. Here are some things you can do to help find the joy-filled moments the first couple of months with your new baby.
Self-Care. Find some time for yourself. This could mean going on a quick run (when you get cleared to exercise), getting your nails done, or taking a long bath. You can even just lock yourself in your room, and veg out. It doesn't matter what it is, but find something to do by yourself that helps you recharge. As moms, it's hard not to feel guilty doing this, but DON'T! You need some alone time now more than ever.
Talk It Out. If you're feeling lonely or overwhelmed, make sure you find a safe place to talk through it. Maybe it's a good therapist, your partner, a friend, or your own mom. Just find someone you feel like you can be honest about your feelings with about what you're going through. Sometimes just getting it off your chest makes you feel better, but talking through these feelings will help even more.
Slow Down. Take it one day at a time. Things change constantly with newborns. It can be overwhelming (especially when you're sleep-deprived) and seem impossible to find your rhythm, but just know each day is a new day. Just because today was horrible doesn't mean tomorrow will be. Taking things one day at a time can also help us enjoy the moments day-to-day and not be anxious about what's to come.
Date Night. If you have a partner, make date night a priority even if it's at home while your baby sleeps! It's so easy to put your relationship on the back burner, but it's something that can bring you so much joy when you invest in it. A baby is a big adjustment, but don't forget that it won't be the only thing that makes you happy. Your relationships are a huge part of you feeling connected and adding happiness to your life.
Do You. From the second you share your pregnancy announcement, you're inundated with advice and information. Remember there are a lot of ways to parent. Don't compare your way to everybody else's way, or your baby to anyone else's baby. Make sure you're doing the things that feel most natural to you and that you believe in. As moms, we get so caught up in trying to do it perfectly. While there's no way to be the perfect parent, there are a 1,000 ways to be a good one.