“I am a new mom expecting her first child. I’m struggling with being excited and dreading the change. I’m excited but at the same time I don’t want to be a mom. Will my life will forever be changed? I want my child but also my life and freedom.”
Simultaneous feelings of excitement and dread are authentic responses to the enormous responsibility of motherhood. Many new moms grieve the loss of freedom and self they enjoyed before baby.
Your life will change after baby as your world tips towards the care and rearing of your child. Motherhood shifts priorities; sleep becomes a precious commodity, just taking a shower can be your biggest accomplishment of the day. Life is no longer about you. It now includes a tiny human who depends on you for survival.
Along with all the changes a baby brings to your daily routines, a baby also brings a fresh perspective to life and the opportunity for you to deepen your understanding of compassion, patience, and love.
You can be a Mom and Still be You
Amongst all the changes in your life, a new baby brings a loss of self. Some first time moms say the identity change from pre-baby self to MOM is the hardest part. Over the next few years you will learn how to incorporate “mom” into your self-concept. You will still be you, but a slightly different version of you. Your beautiful unique personality that reverberates through all areas of your life will also illuminate your new phase of life as a parent.
Taking Care of your Needs is taking Care of your Baby
With baby competing for your attention, you can feel like you are losing touch with your needs and inner self. Tending to your wellbeing is beneficial for you and baby. During the first year of baby it is okay to shower, take a nap, meet-up with friends, go on dates, and even spend time alone. Moms who take just 15 mins a day to love on themselves report higher satisfaction and functioning in their role as mom. So, take a break and take care of you.
Keep it in Perspective
After baby, your pace of life and freedom will look different, but that doesn’t mean life has to stop. Bringing baby home does not mean saying goodbye to activities and relationships you enjoyed pre-baby. You can still meet up with friends, travel, go on dates…However, instead of just picking a time and place there are other things to consider such as: allotting time for pumping, hiring a sitter, and packing a diaper bag to name few. Planning outings with or without baby is imperative, because maintaining your sense of freedom as a new mom plays a vital role in preserving your sanity.
The challenges motherhood can feel overwhelming and downright scary. You will have moments when you feel inadequate and not up to the task. Remember you can do this! Keep asking questions, connecting with other moms, leaning on your support systems and most importantly: Self Care! Self Care! Self Care!
You are going to be one beautiful mom!
allison jean loftus MA, LPC
Rochester MN Moms Blog provides an anonymous “Ask the Counselor” service for those who are seeking guidance and perspective about life circumstances.