Congratulations on your new bundle(s) of joy! Childbirth is a phenomenon of nature and you did it! Carrying a child to full term is no mean feat and you made it. You have done something that’s incredibly miraculous albeit terrifying. Your life has changed forever and we welcome the blessing of your little one(s).
You may not know this yet but you’re doing a great job mama! So far so good even if you are exhausted out of your mind. This journey you’ve just begun is the most rewarding experience. The joy is in the journey of learning what works, learning from your mistakes, and marveling at the work you’ve put in to raise your child.
Maternal mental health is something we deeply care about at Gabby Cares and we know how isolating this period can be. There are so many mixed emotions that come with motherhood. One minute you’re in awe of your child, the next you’re mad at them, and the next you’re crying because you don’t know what to do. This wasn’t meant to be easy but I’ll tell you right now that you are capable enough to be a good mother.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as a new mom: (PS: You may not have heard this before)
You are not a bad person for having intrusive thoughts. Have you found yourself thinking: “Maybe motherhood isn’t for me” “I can’t seem to get anything right” “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “I’m not patient with my kids.” You didn't have a manual coming into motherhood so it's normal to harbor the thought that you aren't doing things well. However, if you persistently think this way, we recommend therapy because you may be struggling with postpartum depression.
Motherhood is experiential which means you learn by doing. Your experience as a mom is built day by day so welcome all the ups and downs. The perfect mother doesn’t exist. Release yourself from the expectation that you should always be on your A-game. Embrace the mistakes because they’ll make you wiser and also equip yourself with as much knowledge as you can. You’ll figure things out as you also grow along with your child.
Research shows that new parents are unhappy. This is not to say that you are doomed to unhappiness - no! We often associate the birth of a new child with positive feelings of excitement but we must also acknowledge the mental strain of breastfeeding, exhaustion, isolation, and relationship breakdown. With this knowledge, you can become more intentional about seeking happiness outside your parenthood. Invest in your hobbies, pursue your interests, and spend time with people who bring you joy.
It’s true what they say - “It takes a village to raise a child”. Ask and keep asking for help on this journey. Ask your family and friends to step in when you feel like you’re at your wit's end. Hire help if you can afford it. Just don’t do this alone. Join online mom groups or the ones in your community. Surround yourself with available help - people on speed dial you can depend on to be there for you.
Resentment might be the one feeling you never expected as a mother. This doesn’t happen to every mom, but if you feel this way, remember this: Other moms like you are struggling with complex feelings towards their kids, spouses, or other moms. You won’t always love being a mom. You might hate what motherhood takes away from you; time, energy, dreams, body, etc. You might question whether you did the right thing to become a mother.
Mom rage is a tough emotion and it often grows when you’re overwhelmed or burned out. It can ruin your life and parenthood journey because you become so mad at everything and everyone. For this, consider getting professional help to equip you with the right skills to manage triggers. You can also start practicing mindfulness and meditation to keep you grounded in the present moment.
The days will be really long sometimes but the years will fly by so fast. Cherish those moments with your babies because they grow up so fast. As I said earlier, you are also growing alongside your baby - be gracious towards yourself mama. Raising a human being is a privilege you get to have and one that’s so sacred because you are shaping someone’s life. It will feel like magic and it will also feel like chaos - it’s all part of this journey.