You are a super woman!
As a new mom, you have grown and birthed a tiny human being. That little person is completely dependent on you for food, shelter, love, and compassion. And you are doing it. You are helping that little person to thrive!
Whether this baby is your first or your tenth, in the process of helping your baby to grow, chances are good that you are doing some serious growing, too. Your sleep patterns have probably changed. Your eating and showering patterns might also look pretty different from the old days. And the thoughts that occupy your mind with a new baby might be pretty different, too.
Flexible moms who are ready to bend and grow with their babies are amazing. But know this, new mama: you do not have to do it all alone.
Who makes up your support network? Do you have supportive family members, either nearby or available by phone? Do you have friends who back you up no matter what? Are your neighbors there when you need them? If you have a partner, what role does he or she play? Are there professionals, like healthcare providers, doulas, lactation consultants, and counselors who can help you navigate all of the new learning that comes with a new baby?
Once you know who makes up your support network, ask yourself what you need most from those people and write it down. Do you need a meal that you can pull from the freezer on a day that cooking is just not going to happen? Do you need someone to pick up some groceries, move some laundry from the washer to the dryer, take your restless and displaced dog for a walk, hold baby so you can take a nap? Do you need someone who will talk to you or someone who will listen while you talk?
Pair up the people in your support network with tasks that are a good fit. Maybe your mom would do better buying food than walking the dog and your best friend would rather hold the baby than cook. That’s great. We all have different strengths – find a way to let each person in your support network shine.
Here’s the real challenge. The next time you talk with someone you love, and you hear those questions – “How are you? What can I do to help?” – your job as a new mom is to believe that they really do want to help. Your job as a new mom is to ask for, and even more important, accept that help.
Think about how great you will feel nestled into the support of your community. Think of how great your friends and family will feel when they can make a real contribution. Will there still be hard times? Of course. As a new mom, you are learning so much so fast, and there are always hard moments when you are working that hard. But when you are honest about what you need, and you include your community in meeting your needs, those hard moments may be a little less hard. And the great celebrations mean that much more when you can share them as well.
President, Colorado Doulas Association