Dealing with this pandemic and all its ups and downs has been overwhelming. We try our best to stay sane and regain some sense of normalcy, but as things start to open back up, we are really realizing just how different our world is going to be. Nobody knows this better than first-time moms. Bringing a new life into the world in and of itself can be nerve-wracking, so with all this chaos and all these changes, it just makes the journey that much more daunting. DON'T FRET THOUGH SUPER MAMAS! We've got you with these tips!
The time for regular physical gatherings has temporarily been suspended, BUT, we can (and should) still stay in touch with others virtually! Take advantage of social media. There are so many local and national Facebook groups, Instagram pages, and Twitter accounts with new moms out there just like you. You don't have to go through this on your own. There are also apps you can download like The Bump or What To Expect that have message boards and forums where you can swap stories, find advice, and learn some awesome pregnancy and parenting hacks! What's so awesome about apps like these is you also get a fun baby tracker, coupons and discounts, and countless recommendations for products from real moms like you!
Get out there and find your #MomSquad!
Don't Skip the Exercise
Depending on where you are during pregnancy or post-partum, you may need to take a bit easier than usual, but (unless your doc tells you otherwise) don't get too sedentary! Whether it's a walk around the block, some gentle prenatal yoga, or a quick and easy bike ride, moving your body releases stress and helps promote a healthier lifestyle for you and baby!
Take Time for Self-Care
It's easy to get so wrapped up in all the negativity in the world around us and forget about our own needs, but your mental health is too important to overlook. Here are some easy suggestions that definitely count as self-care:
1. Take a nap- If you're still waiting for baby to arrive, don't feel guilty if your days are getting shorter. You're not lazy, just busy creating a human! If baby's already made their grand entrance, then you're probably feeling the burn of exhaustion. Don't feel ashamed to take a nap when baby does!
Laugh- Whether this means reading a funny book or popping on a funny movie, laughter truly is the best medicine.
Get dressed- Getting up and getting dressed can help you get yourself into a more "normal" routine AND make you feel more motivated during the day. Putting on a pair of pants is definitely self-care.
Don't get dressed- YUP! I know we just said the opposite, but if you have a day where you're just feeling like hanging out in your jammies, just do it! Just remember to be kind to yourself! This kind of self-care DOES NOT make you lazy or selfish.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Time that drive to the hospital, make a checklist for your go-bag, watch swaddling tutorials on YouTube, and learn the perfect temperature for formula (trust us, it's one of those cool mom science things)... Get yourself prepared! While some things may be instinctive, having other details already second-nature will be SUPER helpful.
Get Help Whenever You Need It
Pregnancy is hard. PARENTING is hard. If you're struggling, don't hesitate or feel ashamed to reach out to family, trusted friends, or a mental health professional. You have NOT failed. It truly does take a village sometimes!
If you're reading this from the perspective of a friend or family member of a first-time mama, to help make sure you LISTEN, interact and check-in regularly, send some groceries or supplies, and offer to babysit.
Keep Some Things in Mind...
1. You're not fragile- When you're pregnant for the first time, it's easy to want to put yourself in a little bubble to protect baby, but your kiddo is actually pretty darn safe in there! Your body is designed to withstand so much while still protecting that tiny life inside of you. During pregnancy or even for a period postpartum, you may need to be a bit more careful than usual, but you are NOT incapable. Don't overdo it trying to prove anything, but certainly, don't let anyone make you feel like you "can't do this or that." If you have any questions about what you should and shouldn't be doing, talk to your OB!
2. You don't need to take everyone's advice- Your Great Aunt Sue is probably not a parenting and pregnancy expert. Everyone has their own way of doing things and that is okay! Everyone makes mistakes and nobody, though they may protest, has all the answers. We will warn you that mom-shaming is a very real thing, but just know that if your doctor isn't concerned, you probably shouldn't be either. Just stay healthy, do your best, and get someone QUALIFIED in your corner!
3. Not all pregnancy, birth, or postpartum experiences are the same- So your bump isn't as big as someone else's or your bleeding a little longer than you thought postpartum... Don't freak out! No two pregnancy experiences are the same. They're as unique as the little one you're carrying in your tummy or arms. Whether it's a home or hospital, vaginal or cesarean, epidural or fully natural birth, stop comparing yourself to others and just enjoy the journey! Of course, report any concerns to your OB or pediatrician.
4. You probably don't need all the stuff you think you need- It is so easy to overprepare when you aren't fully sure what to expect. In fact, everyone's "essentials" are different! Before you go breaking the bank, make a little pro's and con's list for all the items you THINK you need. Use your mom friends or those social media mom groups as a sounding board for what items were worth the splurge and which weren't! You may find that the "convenient" Self-Rocking Baby Sleeper Turbomatic 2000 just can't beat your loving arms!