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First-Time Moms: What Your Friends Won’t Tell You

First-Time Moms: What Your Friends Won’t Tell You

By Sara Wheat – Quality Assurance Coordinator, Legacy of Hope

As a new mother, when you announce your pregnancy, advice will start coming at you from all sides. Family members, friends, coworkers, and random strangers at the grocery store will suddenly have a burning desire to divulge all of the secrets to parenthood.

There will be the classic “sleep while you can!” mantras, along with other well-meaning suggestions. However, there are a few things that parents seem to forget as their children grow up – or rather, maybe their subconscious has chosen to block those things out. I’m here to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly truths of parenthood that your friends won’t tell you!

  1. Kiss your old self goodbye! As soon as you become a mother, you undergo a metamorphosis into a creature who is a superhuman multitasker, able to survive on little to no sleep and acutely aware of every person/possible danger within 1,000 yards of your child.
  2. You don’t need all the mommy Facebook groups. I know there are some good groups out there, but honestly, sticking to advice directly from your pediatrician or a trusted family member will serve you better. Sometimes those groups can be an overload of (often conflicting) information. If there’s a weird diaper issue or random rash that pops up, just call your pediatrician and get the peace of mind you need.
  3. Everyone has limits. You will reach yours eventually. It is okay to put your baby in a safe place and walk away for a breather. Adjusting to motherhood is hard. Establishing a routine with your new baby is hard, so it’s okay to need a break for a few minutes.
  4. The mom guilt will start to creep in early. Whether it’s nursing difficulties, returning to work, or taking a time out for yourself, the mom guilt monster will try to creep its way into your head to remind you of your precious baby that you could be spending time with. Remember that you are a supermom and that self-care is just as important as taking care of that sweet bundle.
  5. Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with you if it doesn’t seem to click right away. Remember, your baby is new to nursing just like you are! Whatever your feeding choices are, there are tons of resources available to you. UAB has lactation consultants on call 24/7. You can come in and see them in person for hands-on feeding assistance for free after your delivery.
  6. Motherhood can be lonely. Even with a partner or family support system, those long nights of feedings can run into sleep-deprived days. You will always feel that no one can care for your baby as well as you, which might turn into choosing to do everything yourself instead of accepting help. Ask for help! Give yourself a break, and lean on the village around you to get through those days.
  7. Remember to keep an eye on yourself. If you’re ever feeling overly sad or disinterested in activities that you used to enjoy, please reach out to your doctor. It is impossible to be a good mother or take care of your baby if you are suffering in silence. Call your OB/GYN, pediatrician, or family doctor. I promise that the care providers at UAB will provide a safe space and a judgment-free plan to help you get back on track.

Few people will tell you that motherhood is the hardest but most rewarding job any of us can ever have. Suddenly you’ll realize why mothers love the smell of their baby’s head. After hours of praying for them to sleep, you’ll be anxiously awaiting the moment they wake up. Your heart will grow to sizes you never thought possible to accommodate the love you’ll have for this baby. In the moments when you feel like you might break, somehow you will always have the strength to carry on.

Click here to learn more about UAB Medicine Women and Infants Services, including information on breastfeeding support and other assistance.