As a new mother, do you feel snowed under with life changes that come with a new baby? I vividly remember this difficult time. Before we had out first child, I was on the management staff of a local treatment center. It was an office filled with a lot going on, people that filled my day with problem solving skills, adult conversation – a great deal of mental stimulation.
After my daughter was born, and the family and friends had all left, I suddenly was alone with this incredible Silence. For the first few days it was rather enjoyable, no one to interfere – just me and my girl. But, then it became overwhelming. My days were filled with the monotony of feedings, changing diapers, naps, more feedings, more diapers, and less naps. The mental stimulation was absent, and I was starting to get depressed and not sure of how to cope with this new world I had really wanted, but had not anticipated.
This can leave many new moms feeling like a failure, inadequate, and even depressed. If left unresolved, this can be unhealthy not only for us, but our children as well
1. Recognize this is a definite life change
The difference between working full time and being a full time stay at home mom can be huge. At work, you have a set schedule. You know when you begin and end. As a mom, you are always on duty. At work, you may have a support staff to help you make phone calls, handle email and other errands. As a mom, you are the support staff. For some moms, just seeing the difference can be helpful.
2. Get Connected
God has created us to be in community with others, and to support one another. Galatians 6:2 tells us to “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Check your paper for some local mom’s groups, or local churches for women’s bible studies. Call your local gym to see if there are any classes for new moms. Exercise is a great way to meet new people.
3. Ask for help.
One of the things I have noticed as a counselor is the freedom that comes from admitting we are struggling. Somewhere, as women we believe that to ask for any help is sign of weakness. We begin to isolate and stay to ourselves. King Solomon saw the importance of asking for help: Eccl 4:9-11 “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm?”
Find a few other people that have walked the journey of parenting that you admire. Feel free to ask them questions. There is wisdom in many. We have all heard kids don’t come with manuals. All the more reason to ask other people for their advice.
4. Be open to redefine yourself.
It is okay if you feel like you are not the same person that you were before you gave birth. Parenting changes people. It tends to reshape priorities, and bring a sense of relaxation when needed. Those that are able to parent with a sense of humor seem to enjoy it more. The newborn days were a growth time for us as parents and our daughter.
5. Be Flexible
There are many books that stress the importance of getting a newborn into a schedule. I concur that babies do better when they have a routine. However, as they grow and develop their routines change. Flexibility is an essential for survival.
Making the transition from work to home can feel like a whirlwind. Being intentional about getting connected, and asking for help will help you rebuild the stability you may be seeking. Flexibility and openness will result in growth, allowing you to be a better parent.
(All Scriptures from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers.)
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