According to a study from several years ago, it takes a whole year for a mother to recover from childbirth. It’s only natural that this a bit sudden change of priorities throws you out of balance, but with every passing day, self-assurance somehow starts rebuilding on its own; and the less stressed you feel, the calmer your child gets. Patience is the key, but it doesn’t mean you should be hopelessly roaming around your home waiting for a postpartum depression to pass. Don’t let it get the best of you, but take matters into your own hands.
Watch out for bad advice
Sooner than you get home from the hospital, friends, parents, and in-laws will be suffocating you with unsolicited advice on the best possible baby care. Everyone will always comment on the way you should be raising your kid; they want to believe they raised their children the right way and wish to pass along this newly-acquired wisdom to you.
If you listen carefully, you’ll notice they all have different input on the best way to hold the baby, or the best way to stop the baby from crying, and at first, it will just feel annoying; in time, you will suffer from a complete loss of confidence. Sadly, nothing will stop this torrent of advice, so you’ll have to create a filter. Dr. Susan Newman recommends picking one or two people whose input you’ll take into account – whether it’s your physician, your own mother, or your best friend who’s a mother of 3. The rest you’ll have to learn how to tune out.
Get out of that dirty tracksuit
We know… There are days when eating, sleeping and showering are considered luxuries you simply cannot afford, but letting yourself go completely doesn’t only cause crippling coffee addiction – it overwhelms you with feelings of self-doubt, which eventually lead to a ton of piled up frustration.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, whether it’s your husband who you want to take everything over for a couple of hours, or hiring a babysitter from time to time. Light up some scented candles and take a bubble bath; book an appointment at a hairstylist to get your hair done; go for a jog; or hit a few of your favorite boutiques to trade the smelly T-shirt and yoga pants for a new, trendy outfit. We understand you probably have no idea what’s IN these days, so you’ll have to follow up on the latest fashion news and hit the streets wearing something edgy and modern.
Remember – it’s not a competition
In some cases, fellow moms can be a source of support, but at times, their stories can be somewhat intimidating. Let’s put it this way – there’s a mother of a one-year-old in your group whose child already said its first words, while yours is still trying to comprehend ma-ma. Nothing can make you doubt yourself more than a friend whose perfect little baby girl does everything first. These mothers will always have a word of advice on how to help your baby catch up. How to deal with her? Repeat after us: we’re happy with our baby’s development.
Celebrate each milestone like you made it yourself
Because they are, partly, your own. Opt either for the old-fashioned, album-like baby book format or take advantage of one of the multitudes of apps. Remind yourself that with every single entry you make, you two did it – you are the mother, you are the one nursing the baby day in and out, you were the one who put a pillow behind their back the first time they sat, and the one holding their hand when they made their first steps. These milestones were a joint effort, and there are many more to come.
The bottom line
There’s no one-size-fits-all parenting method. Everyone’s constantly hovering over you, drowning you in advice, while not one person telling you it’s OK to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. You’ll experience a number of changes; some will be great, wonderful, even magical, while others will make you questioning your existence – at 3 am.