After having my first baby, I remember feeling so isolated. So alone. My whole world had just changed, but it was just a normal week for my friends without babies. I remember even going out to get lunch with friends shortly after, and not once did anyone ask me, “how are you doing?” SMH.
There were questions about how my baby girl was sleeping, how much she pooped, and other typical baby questions. I can still recall leaving that lunch date and just crying my eyes out on the way home. I called my sister (who has three children), so I knew she’d get it. All I had wanted was to go talk to my friends like friends. And to my surprise, as I’m sitting there trying to nurse my baby in public for one of the first times and not let my boob pop out of my shirt, worrying about germs everywhere and whether or not she was eating enough, I realized that my gossip girl days might be over. I’m sitting there stressing about everything instead of enjoying my time out. I truly think that from that moment on, I isolated myself from those friends. In a military lifestyle, it made the already difficult transition to motherhood even harder.
If you’re a new mom, find some mom-friends! I know right now you say that you don’t want to go to mom groups or mommy and me play dates. I thought the same thing! But trust me, after a few months of sitting at home talking to yourself, you need some mom-friends. I decided to join a local MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group in Georgia, with reluctance, but ultimately being so happy that I had a few hours a week to talk with other moms in a positive place. I also loved finding a SLAM (Sweat. Like. A. Mother) workout group (where I worked out already) that had a bunch of moms there, and it was a super motivating environment.
The “mom group” for you is out there, but it’s like going out on a first date… you might not get along or connect the first time. See if it’s worth the second date; and if it is, try again. If it’s not, move on. Your “tribe” is out there somewhere. Even Facebook has groups of supportive mamas (don’t get sucked into the drama and judgement-filled ones though. They exist and they’re awful).
Is it selfish that I also remembered feeling very confident and comfortable being pregnant; I loved the attention I got. I’m normally not someone who loves attention, but when you’re pregnant, everyone wants to say hi, everyone asks questions, everyone is just very positive and it’s intoxicating. Even though it can get tiresome, you miss it when it stops happening all together after baby is born.
It’s my hope that if you’re reading this blog post that it’s because you have a friend or sister who is about to have or just had a baby and you want to do the most you can to help them. Here are some ways you can support the new mom:
When I asked some of the Moms in my Mommy Feeding Family Community what they’d add to this list, here were some of their answers:
The truth is, becoming a mom is most thankless job in the world. However, that really doesn’t matter because - to us mamas - it’s the most rewarding thing one can go through. Our emotions can run crazy, but beyond that tough mama bear exterior, we are trying to balance the old life we had and the new life we've begun. We still want to be your friend. We still want to feel included. If you're trying to help your BFF, sister-in-law, or fav coworker out, try any of the tips above. I promise, it won't go unnoticed!
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