The birth of a baby is a momentous occasion and impacts a new parent in countless ways. In the weeks and months after baby is born, a new mom may feel lost and disconnected with her former self. For our entire lives thus far, we have defined ourselves as a student, daughter, sister, wife, colleague, professional…and now we take on a new role: mother. Managing this shift applies to new dads as well. While it sometimes feels like accepting this new identity means loosing a bit of oneself, that need not be true.
In order to find balance, it is important to reflect on the changes that have taken place. The following questions may help you to explore your thoughts and feelings about your new life and new role.
• Have my expectations for who I thought I would be as a mother been met? If not, how can I become comfortable with the realities of my new life and “cut myself some slack”?
• Do I have enough time for myself to do some of the things I enjoyed before the baby?
• Do I feel comfortable in my decision to go back to work/not go back to work?
• Do I have a community of new mom friends with whom I can connect and share this journey?
New parenthood brings many changes to our lives and our selves. Take some time to consider the major transition that has taken place and be compassionate with yourself as you navigate the new world of motherhood. And when you find yourself asking, “Will I ever just go out for coffee with a friend again? Will I ever have time to read a book just for the pleasure of reading? Will I ever be able to enjoy my hobbies again?” answer with YES! In time, you will find a balance…as you have in the past. You will wear many hats, and wear them well.
Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, the co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into motherhood or moms who may need a little refresher.
Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind—to support women in their journey through motherhood—it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.