Written by Monique Larocque
How prepared did you feel when baby came? Did you read all the books, organize everything, feel like you couldn’t be more ready? I felt this way too…
As a first-time mom, I often found myself thinking “Hello, why didn’t anybody tell me or warn me about this”. I remember my first eye opening moment was when I began to breastfeed. Everyone always made it look so easy, and very rarely talked openly about struggles. Let me tell you the struggle was real, I never knew something so wonderful could be so challenging, beautiful, upsetting and amazing all at the same time. Nothing and no one had prepared me for my breastfeeding journey.
Then there were the explosive poops!! Why didn’t anyone warn me that once you take the diaper off, your sweet baby could continue to projectile poop all over the place. *Disclaimer- never change a newborn on the couch and always be ready to catch, cover, and redirect the sneaky poop monster escaping from your baby’s bottom.
As my sweet baby boy continued to grow throughout his first year; literally in the blink of an eye, each moment was so bittersweet. He would reach new milestones, and I would celebrate, but I would also be a little sad because my baby was a little different each day. It never dawned on me how fast time goes and how much my baby would change in a year. I wish someone had prepared me for the array of emotions I would feel as my baby grew.
Sometimes as first-time moms, we can often feel lonely. Everyone else in our world is working or focused on their families, and then there is you and baby all day long. Don’t deny that the thought hasn’t crossed your mind, what are we going to do all day? Let me tell you, you are going to throw on some clothes, put your hair up (sport the mom bun) and take you and baby to the many infant programs and play groups your community has to offer. There are many free opportunities and paid programs you can become a part of. Hello Mom friends! I wish someone told me how special these bonds would be for myself and my son. We were fortunate enough to meet three moms and their babies and over the last year we have all joined programs and watched our babies grow together. It’s pretty amazing when you meet people who love your baby as much as you do! Don’t be afraid to get out there and meet other moms.
Mama bears… It’s OKAY to not keep up with the Jones’. We know as a mom you have superpowers that allow you to juggle everything, but it’s okay to not do everything all at once. We have a natural inner voice that tells us we need to do everything, but, some days, we can’t get anything done! Your baby is so small for such a short while, the cleaning can wait. Truth is you are going through your day trying to remember if you ate something, maybe you are nap trapped, finally getting a chance to use the washroom, and bless the day you got to have a shower!! No one tells you that having a new baby brings you waves of time and no time for anything other than that sweet little human you brought into this world.
While finding your rhythm with baby and life, you will also need to find balance for self care. Once baby arrives, you become so focused on meeting their needs, it is easy to put yourself on the back burner. Hmmm… what’s that smell, that’s right, it’s you, you haven’t showered in a few days. It happens!!! When days become nights, and nights become days and suddenly, a week has gone by. If no one has told you, take care of you too. Sleep when baby sleeps, shower when you have extra hands, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It took me a little while to find this balance, but it’s important to remember your baby needs the best version of you that you can give, so take care of you too Mama.
Lastly, every time you question yourself or something going on with baby, DON’T believe everything you read online or on social media, it will drive you bananas. I did this all the time, “my son has a tongue tie” better join online groups to learn more, “ my son wakes up every two hours” better join a sleep group, “What’s that rash on my babies face” better search and find out what medical information I can find online. Let me tell you, you begin to believe everything you read, you start worrying about everything and drive yourself wild. I wish I would have been told more to trust my own instincts and to follow my own gut. I could have saved myself the extra pressure I was putting on myself and I could have spent some time focusing on my partner or self care. When you have big concerns, the best thing to do is consult your doctor.
Being a new mom is such an incredible journey. Slow down, be present, take pictures, videos, document moments, because in a blink of an eye they won’t be babies anymore. You got this Mama. Trust yourself and love your baby!