Being a mother is an amazing gift, but being a first time mom is a very interesting experience. There are many books on motherhood, which offer great advice. Reading about motherhood and experiencing motherhood are two different things. I had my little one 5 months ago after 7 years of trying. Honestly I am elated to be a mother; however, motherhood is one of the most fulfilling and at the same time most challenging journeys I have ever embarked on.
There are seven things that I am constantly learning. Here they are
1. My life as I knew it has changed tremendously. Since the day I gave birth to my baby girl, I realized that my life now revolves around hers. If possible, I sleep when she does. If I can’t sleep, I take advantage of her nap time to catch up on work. I also am finding that everything I do or plan on doing has to revolve around her; my freedom as I knew, has kinda been taken away from me. For example if I need to go somewhere, I have to make arrangements(sometimes in advance) with my family to watch my daughter for me, especially when my husband is at work. As before I used to have more freedom to come and go as I please. But it’s one of those things I was told that I would not have once I announced that I was pregnant. Therefore it was to be expected.
2. It’s not about me. Sometimes when my daughter is crying despite her being fed and clean, and for some reason she can’t stop crying, I have to constantly remind myself to stay calm, to be patient and compassionate, and acknowledge that it’s not about me and it’s about my baby’s needs. I may have done everything right for her but there is always something that she needs. At this stage crying is the only way she can use to communicate with me. Although it’s frustrating but I get it. That’s why I try my best to decipher what she is trying to tell me by the different ways she cries.
3. Taking care of a newborn is a fulltime job on steroids. Just when I thought that taking care of myself was a task and a half, taking care of a newborn is on some other level. The day my daughter was born, I had a rude awakening and I had to tell myself that this is it. It’s a sink or swim situation. In other words I had an epiphany. My daughter did not ask to be born. She is my miracle baby and it is my job as her mom to care for her the best way I can; and when I feel drained I call on my support system.
4. Postpartum depression is real. I am glad that in this day and age we can openly talk about the things that are affecting women and postpartum depression is one of them. I am still experiencing it but not as bad as it was a few months ago. I feel that I am starting to get a handle and understand my new role as a mom. I do feel drained mentally, physically and emotionally everyday given the fact that I’m not only a mother to my own baby, I also work as a Forster parent. Taking care of 4 teenage girls with different personalities and issues is very draining and overwhelming. Seeking and asking for help is what keeps me level headed and grounded. I love to read articles and facebook posts about other women who are or have experienced postpartum depression; knowing that I am not alone gives me the courage to deal with my depression and to seek help when I need it. Having support from both my family, my husband family and my friends helps a great deal.
5. Self-care is extremely crucial. I always known about the term self-care, but I have never known how important it was until now. I had to make a conscious effort to take time to take care of me myself and I. By doing so, I am creating balance in my life. I can’t give if I have nothing to give. I can’t take care of others if I feel burned out. I realize that it’s not fair to me, my husband and my daughter.
6. Having a great support system,whether family, friends, or even a support group is also important. Acknowledging that I am not superwoman and knowing that it takes a village to raise a child help me understand that I would definitely need help with my baby.
7. Admitting to myself that I don’t know it all. As a Haitian woman, I do feel sometimes that I act like I know it all because I always made sure that I educate myself on certain things. I always want to know the good the bad and the ugly so that I can make informed decisions. This has work for me all my life until I had my daughter. I came to the conclusion that I actually don’t know it all and that motherhood is an experience and it is experienced differently by different women with different walks of life. Therefore I constantly seek knowledge and advice from the women who have come before me and have experienced motherhood in their own way. Women like my mother, my step mom, my aunties and especially my 90 year old grandma. These women have been there done that and can write a book about motherhood if they wanted to. I truly appreciate their knowledge that sometimes cannot be found on Google.
That’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to leave a comment about your experience as mothers. I would love to read them. Just keep in mind to be respectful always of other people’s opinions.
Thanks for reading. Until next time.