You have been waiting 9 long months to have your sweet baby. During pregnancy, you dreamed about quiet days spent sipping on decaf coffee while cuddling your sleepy newborn (because you wouldn’t drink caffeine when breastfeeding).
Now you have your sweet baby, but motherhood might feel very different then you expected.
You are still healing from your birth. It may hurt to walk, sit, or lay. You’ve been bleeding for the past 4 weeks, and it doesn’t look like it is going to stop any time soon. You are trying to breastfeed, and this may or may not be going well. Either way, you know that decaf coffee is a joke, and you are spending your days drinking as much coffee as possible so that you can keep your eyes open.
On top of these physical changes, your emotions have also changed. Most likely, you are experiencing feelings that you’ve never had before. Feelings like, the love you have for this new life, and a mama bear sense of protection. You may also have feelings of fear, sadness, and overwhelm.
Mama, you are NOT the only one struggling to make it through the day. At this time, everyone is probably telling you, “You need to take care of yourself” and “Sleep when the baby sleeps”. You are probably thinking: “I don’t even have time to shower, when am I supposed to take care of myself?!” What you need are some simple, practical strategies that you can use to help you feel less overwhelmed as a new mom!
7 Realistic Ways To Feel Refreshed and Recharged
1. Be kind to yourself
If all you do in a day is snuggle your baby, feed your baby, and be present for your child – you have done enough. If the dishes don’t get done today, that’s okay. If the laundry waits one more day, oh well. Allow yourself to be present in the moment with your baby without laying judgement on yourself!
2. Eat one healthy meal a day
I’m not asking you to create a fancy, gourmet meal. But, if you can manage to throw together one healthy meal every day, I promise you’ll be glad you did. Or even better, ask someone to make this meal for you. So often people want to help, but they are not sure what to do. Asking someone to make you a healthy meal will help fuel your body, and give you the energy you need to take care of that small baby.
3. Connect with another adult
Mama, if you feel alone and can’t remember the last time you talked to another adult, please make a call. Call up a friend, your partner, or a member of your family. Have at least one adult conversation every day. Or connect through social media. If you aren’t sure where to start we have a great community of moms here.
4. Limit your “Google” time
I know how easy it is as a new mom to google every single thing your baby does. It can be so easy to fall into the google spiral and start to believe that you are hurting your child with every little thing that you do. Instead of googling it, try to trust your instinct as a mom (it is there!). What do you think will be best for your baby? Decide on how many things you will allow yourself to google a day, and stick to that! Your mind will thank you.
5. Choose sleep
When there is an opportunity for sleep, take it and don’t feel bad. Especially if you have a child who doesn’t like to sleep. If people are pressuring you to go out, when you know you don’t have the physical capacity to go out, choose sleep. You know what your body needs. Sleep deprivation puts a mama at risk for maternal mental illness. You need your sleep more than you need clean laundry. Choose sleep.
6. Ask for help
You don’t have to be super mom. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. But let me give you a little insider secret (from a mom who has been there)… ask for help with chores. Instead of asking someone to hold your baby, ask them to do the dishes or help with laundry. You are the mama, and you birthed this tiny human! Take the chances to cuddle them when you have them (unless of course you need a break, in which case – take it!). Either way, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
7. Know the signs of mental health issues
So many moms that I have worked with struggled for much longer than they needed to because they thought their feelings of anxiety or depression were normal. It is normal to feel tired as a new mom, but it is not normal to stay up all night because you are so paranoid something will happen to your new baby. It is normal to worry about your baby, but it is not normal to have new thoughts that scare you. If you are worried that you may be struggling with a maternal mental health issue, please reach out for help! To learn more about maternal mental health issues check out this article, this article, and this article.
We are here for you!
Being a new mom is amazing, beautiful, and really freaking tough at times. We hope that this survival guide will help you feel less overwhelmed as a new mom, so that you can be the best you can be for yourself and for your family!
We believe in talking about the joys AND the struggles of motherhood so that no mom ever has to feel alone. We are here for you and want to support you!