Let’s be real. There’s nothing normal about suddenly becoming responsible for a tiny human and keeping it alive. The shock of it all took me by surprise. Nothing can really prepare you for motherhood. Especially when it’s your first time. There is so much that is unknown during pregnancy, labour, delivery, and those first few weeks and months that follow in ‘the trenches’. You don’t know how it’s all going to happen. You don’t know how you’re going to feel once your life is forever changed.
Some people appear to transition beautifully and easily – taking magazine-worthy posed pictures with those f’ing monthly stickers (you know the ones!), leaving the house day 3 postpartum with hair and makeup done, and generally getting back into the swing of things seemingly unfazed. What?! Were no other moms terrified of their new responsibility? I call bullshit. Note to new moms everywhere: stay the F away from Facebook! It’s guaranteed to make you feel even shittier while you’re just trying to figure out how to leave the house today. Or shower. I remember one particularly tough day when I was crying because I wasn’t taking those monthly pictures with the onesie stickers. I felt like the worst mom ever. All I saw in my newsfeed was posts about being madly in love instantly with your tiny human, people loving every.single.second, and just how perfect it all appeared. I knew this was not the full picture. But a sleep-deprived brain will tell you otherwise.
Time is really the only thing that will help with the transition. Not what you wanted to hear, right?! I know. But it’s the truth. Or at least it was for me. When I finally ventured out of the house solo with C for the first time, I felt like a superhero! Seriously, just the thought of leaving the house some days was daunting. On this big outing to the grocery store, I recall seeing another mom, and she was wearing her baby in one of those baby carriers, shopping with ease, and she seemed calm. Just her and baby. She was my hero. I dreamed of the day when I’d be able to do the same. I, on the other hand, was walking around nervously, just trying to figure out how to not appear paranoid about the possibility of a crying baby in public. Sounds silly? That was my normal in the early days.
When you’re feeling ready, connect with other moms. I didn’t have a lot of friends nearby with babies. What really helped me was going to early years centres to be with other moms. This was very daunting at first, and sometimes I left those places in tears, but they were generally helpful. They run some wonderful programs for new moms. Just being around other moms, especially as a first-time mom, was such a great way to normalize my experience. I saw all of the everyday things that I was going through: crying babies, crying mommas, tired moms, happy moms, and moms just winging it. It wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops and perfection like it was on Facebook. It was real. And that made me feel normal.