5 Things I Wish I’d Known about Adjusting to Motherhood

mommy and baby
Image via Anna Cerasani Photography

My expectations of myself, my new baby, being a stay-at-home mom after teaching, and all that went along with my visions of motherhood, were very high. I was so excited to get started. Then I got home, sat down, looked around, and bawled. The hectic hubbub of the hospital was gone. I was home and looking at this little person who needed me for everything, and the enormity of it all suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. (Not to mention my postpartum hormones were in full force!) I feel like I should have known better than to expect rainbows and butterflies, but yet, somehow I thought that’s exactly what I should have been feeling! It had been a whirlwind. I think every one of my family members, good friends, and their second cousins had been to the hospital to see me and my brand new, perfect, angel-faced daughter. As awesome as it was to have everyone see me in my post emergency C-section glory, I was ready to get home. Honestly though, it had been nice to have the company. My husband was interviewing for a new job and had to leave the hospital pretty quickly after my daughter was born so that he could make his interview on time! It was a little (okay, a lot) crazy!

When I felt overwhelmed as the mom of an infant, it made me feel like a total failure. I would think, “How come I can’t make this work? Moms have been doing this since the beginning of time. What am I missing?”

It took a little while, but we worked it all out. I was able to really enjoy my daughter’s first year of life. But, if I could do it all over again, here’s what I wish I would have known.

Image via Nicole Hempeck
Image via Nicole Hempeck

Change of Pace – My life was busy before my daughter was born. I was either a full-time student with a part time job, or I had a full-time job, a husband, and a home. There wasn't a lot of down time. Then I stopped working to stay home with a newborn who napped for 2 hours, twice a day, for most of her first year of life. The change of pace was something that was not easy for me. It took some getting used to, and I had to get out of my comfort zone in order to find a balance that worked for both me and my baby.

MORE:  A Letter to First-Time Moms-to-Be}

Image via Flickr/surlygirl
Image via Flickr/surlygirl

Adjusting and Support –  My husband ended up getting that job that he interviewed for, and shortly after my daughter was born, I was in a new town where I didn't know anyone, and a good hour and a half separated me from my family. I had to force myself to get to know my community and get out and find “mom groups” and interact with people. It made a huge difference! It was really hard for me to be without adult interaction. It made me feel good to know that there were other mothers out there who were in my boat, and that community of support really helped!

Image via Flickr/Kristina
Image via Flickr/Kristina Konczos

Staying “me” – It was often hard to just feel like me. I felt like mom all the time–most of my cute clothes still didn’t fit, the ones that did had spit up on them, and I smelled of breast milk. My husband really helped me by encouraging me to do things that were just for me. Not for me and the baby, or for us as a couple, but just for me, even if it was to just go out with a girlfriend or to get out and exercise.

Image via Flickr/photosavvy
Image via Flickr/photosavvy

Reality – When I felt overwhelmed as the mom of an infant, it made me feel like a total failure. Here’s the secret ladies–we ALL have those feelings. Stop comparing yourself to what you see of other moms, you will go nuts! Every mom has different challenges, but we all have them. Not one of us makes it through unscathed!

MORE: 10 Ways Dads Can Help First-Year Mothers}

Image via Flickr/photosavvy
Image via Flickr/photosavvy

Mother Really Does Know Best – Don’t go crazy trying to heed everyone’s advice (even mine!) You are the mom now. No one knows your baby like you do. If your baby does best with a binky, don’t let the binky-haters get you down. You have to make the choices that work best for you and your family.

The cliché that babies grow up too fast is most certainly true. If you’re not enjoying your baby’s first year, push yourself out of your comfort zone and make it work. The one thing your baby needs, more than the name brand diapers, more than the perfectly decorated nursery, is a happy and healthy momma.

What has been your biggest adjustment to being a new mom?

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5 Things I Wish I’d Known about Adjusting to Motherhood

Jeanna Strassburg is a wife, and mother of three, who enjoys kitchen dance parties and summer time! Jeanna received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April of 2007. She enjoys spending her time cooking, cleaning and tending to the proper duties of a stay at home mother… NOPE! Truthfully, she enjoys eating the food, but not making it or cleaning up after it. She likes to have a clean home, but loathes laundry and dishes. Loves her children, but coul ... More

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  1. Profile photo of LIZ says:

    at first sometimes you feel stock, but when time comes by, you prioritize and learn to adapt to your new and happy life

  2. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    A well written article it is! I can relate to adjusting to totally new environment. I am still lacking the adult interaction that I had but I’m getting by. I am having hard time finding moms like me in the community.

  3. Profile photo of Erin Erin says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was completely sideswiped by a complicated labor and emergency c-section after a totally healthy and pleasant pregnancy (well, for the most part!) . Due to massive blood loss and an infection from the c-section, I was unable (yes, physiologically unable, despite my best and most desperate efforts) to produce enough breast milk for my daughter, and she was becoming critically dehydrated. After hearing all of the miracles of breast milk and the “evils” of formula, this was heavy blow. I tried and tried, pumping as often as possible, drinking Weleda tea and taking fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements, offering the breast before every bottle feed, but my milk continued to come out as a mere trickle. This experience was so far removed from what I had expected! I thought I’d have my gorgeous baby, go home, revel in breastfeeding her, and that she would sleep peacefully for hours while I tidied the house and got some sleep myself! Well, NO! She slept peacefully and for hours, but only in my arms! And while I loved holding her squishy, sleepy body in my arms, I got no sleep in the day myself, the laundry piled up, I didn’t have time to eat, and I had horrible thoughts that I had made a huge mistake in having a child. To top it off, I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. A horror story, you may think…but no! My baby is thriving and developing brilliantly! It took a few weeks, but with lots of support from my husband, family, and friends, and some medical help, I got my head back together and began to love this journey of motherhood! It’s not a picnic every minute, but the joys far outweigh the pains.

  4. Profile photo of Regina Regina says:

    My kids only have me and their dad. My parents died when I was 16 and my grandparents one died before and the other after she lost my mom it was just to much For her to handle. As for my husbands parents he lost his dad and his mom went into a depression and doesn’t do anything with anyone. So my kids don’t have anyone but us. I’m a stay at home mom and I have four kids and one on the way. Our children are 15, 10, 2 and 1 and this one is to be born after the youngest twos birthdays. I don’t have family and theres no moms here where I live that get together. So I’m with them 24/7 and it gets very overwhelming at times but I’ve learn that even when they get into stuff and tear up things I’ve been blessed with kids that I love and love me with all my faults. I’m still learning as a parent and I wouldn’t change anything in my life. Even tho there is no me time its more important for me to have time with my family cause you don’t know when it will be your last. I have sisters but they have drug and drinking problems so again its just me and my husband and we are just fine with that.

  5. Profile photo of Anna Anna says:

    If woman focus on how everyone else raised kids then there would be nothing to learn. Unless you already have a baby you never really know what to expect. It’s all about exploring didn’t ways to do things.

  6. Profile photo of Jenny Jenny says:

    All of this is good. My husband is in the military and we live far away from all of our family so in one aspect we don’t have to worry about people visiting initially and we have time to bond just the 3 of us but at the same time it is scary to least not have my mom close by and other member for support.


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