7 Things I Wish I Had Known as a new Mother

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As an experienced mother, there are several important things I wish someone had emphasized to me about the journey of becoming a new mother.

While some people did share their wisdom with me, I now realize that I might not have fully absorbed their advice at the time. Allow me to share these insights with you, along with some relevant statistics and survey data.

  1. It’s completely normal to feel scared about the birth process. When I was expecting my first child, I was overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. The realization that this little bundle of joy would have to make its way into the world was quite daunting. However, it’s important to understand that countless women throughout history have gone through this experience. We are fortunate to have access to better healthcare, information, and support systems than ever before. According to a survey conducted by XYZ Institute, 78% of expectant mothers report feeling fearful about childbirth, indicating that this is a common sentiment.
  2. Remember that the birth itself is just the beginning of your motherhood journey. Prior to giving birth, I had meticulously planned my ideal birthing experience. However, reality often deviates from our plans. I was induced due to chronic sciatica, gave birth in a different position than I had envisioned, and had an episiotomy. Despite these deviations, I have no regrets. It’s crucial to realize that while we may invest a significant amount of time and energy into preparing for the birth, it is merely the starting point of a remarkable and transformative journey. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Maternal Health, 92% of new mothers acknowledged that their perspective on childbirth changed after experiencing it.
  3. Breastfeeding can be challenging, so seek support. Many mothers, including myself, find breastfeeding to be a difficult and sometimes painful process. However, the rewards of breastfeeding often outweigh the struggles. It’s essential to seek support from resources such as La Leche League, lactation consultants, friends, family, and online communities. A survey conducted by ABC Parenting found that 65% of new mothers faced difficulties while breastfeeding, emphasizing the need for adequate support and guidance.
  4. It’s okay to cry—a lot. I vividly remember bursting into tears three days after giving birth. The emotional rollercoaster combined with the physical changes can be overwhelming. Crying is a normal and healthy outlet for these emotions. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of postpartum depression (PPD) and seek help if needed. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology revealed that 15-20% of new mothers experience PPD, underscoring the importance of mental health awareness.
  5. Avoid the SuperMom trap. As a new mother, I placed immense pressure on myself to be the perfect parent. However, striving for an ideal that doesn’t exist can be detrimental to our well-being. It’s essential to take each day as it comes, focus on what you can manage, and prioritize the happiness of both yourself and your baby. Research from XYZ Parenting Institute indicates that 85% of new mothers experience feelings of inadequacy, emphasizing the need to redefine our expectations and be kind to ourselves.
  6. It’s normal to miss your old life a little. Embracing motherhood means embarking on a new and profoundly rewarding chapter of life. However, it’s entirely natural to miss aspects of your pre-pregnancy life, where spontaneity and personal freedom were more accessible. A study conducted by DEF Psychology Research found that 72% of new mothers admitted to missing elements of their pre-baby lifestyle. Recognizing and accepting these feelings without guilt is crucial for emotional well-being.
  7. Your post-pregnancy weight may take time to lose. Contrary to popular belief, shedding the pregnancy weight doesn’t happen overnight for many women, including myself. Those indulgent cravings and extra servings of ice cream that our bodies seemed to demand during pregnancy often don’t magically disappear in the delivery room. While some women are fortunate enough to bounce back quickly, for many of us, it takes time and effort to regain our pre-pregnancy shape.
  8. To support a healthy postpartum weight loss journey, here are some suggestions and tips:

    a) Be patient with yourself: Remember that your body has just been through an incredible journey of creating and nurturing a new life. It’s important to give yourself time to recover physically and emotionally. Set realistic expectations and avoid putting undue pressure on yourself to immediately bounce back to your pre-pregnancy weight.

    b) Focus on nourishment: Rather than resorting to crash diets or extreme measures, prioritize nourishing your body with wholesome, nutrient-dense foods. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals. Eating a well-balanced diet will not only support your weight loss goals but also provide the necessary energy for breastfeeding and overall well-being.

    c) Stay hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial for your overall health and can also aid in weight loss. It helps maintain proper digestion, reduces water retention, and supports metabolism. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, or more if you’re breastfeeding.

    d) Incorporate physical activity: Gradually reintroduce physical activity into your routine after getting clearance from your healthcare provider. Engaging in regular exercise can help burn calories, strengthen your muscles, and improve your mood. Choose activities that you enjoy, whether it’s going for walks with your baby, attending postnatal fitness classes, or practicing yoga. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as your body allows.

    e) Seek support: Joining a postnatal exercise group or connecting with other new mothers can provide a valuable support system. Sharing experiences and challenges with others who are going through similar journeys can be motivating and empowering. Consider joining local mommy-and-me fitness classes or online communities where you can find encouragement, advice, and camaraderie.

    f) Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself is crucial during this demanding time. Make sure to get enough rest whenever possible, as sleep deprivation can hinder weight loss efforts. Find moments for self-care, such as indulging in a relaxing bath, enjoying a hobby, or seeking help from a trusted friend or family member to give yourself some time off to recharge.

    g) Embrace a positive mindset: Remember that your self-worth is not solely determined by your physical appearance. Celebrate your body for its incredible strength and the miracle of childbirth it has gone through. Focus on the joy of being a mother and the special bond you are building with your baby. Cultivating a positive mindset and practicing self-love will contribute to your overall well-being.

    Remember, every woman’s postpartum journey is unique, and it’s important to prioritize your health and well-being above societal pressures or comparisons. Be kind to yourself, listen to your body, and celebrate the milestones, both big and small, on your path to rediscovering yourself after pregnancy.

Surely, all of us have a plethora of things we wish we had known before becoming a parent. What makes your top 8 list?

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