If I could say one thing to my postpartum self, it would be this

You’re not doing it wrong. It’s just hard. 

There is a lot that goes into post-partum. So much more than I could have imagined. You realize you can actually love something with your entire being, that you can function with no sleep (maybe not very well), and that you will worry and stress about so many things you never knew existed. 

I wish someone would have given me a few more pointers for my emotional self during the newborn phase. Below we give some real advice from real parents, for you to look back on during the postpartum days. Our main hope is that the more real and raw we can be about postpartum, the easier it can be for new mamas. 

mom holding newborn baby

Expectation vs Reality

Honestly, this was (and definitely can still be) the hardest thing to allow. But if I could go back to my postpartum self, I would try SO hard to embrace it. The amount of stress it would have relieved is immense. 

To have a clear understanding in mind before the birth of your child is so helpful. Here are what others say: 

@Lizzywonone: It’s going to be hard and nothing will go as planned. The baby is not meant to sleep long so just accept that as fact. When baby is able to take a bottle leave him with your partner and they will better understand your duties.

@looloobell_: Just go with the flow and follow babies lead. I feel like often times we try to micromanage things. With kids especially babies thats just not a realistic approach. Things may seem hard at first but it does get better! 💖

@kp.sscarlett: Surrender, let go, and trust that you know your baby the best.

@monspods: Trust your instincts. You know best what your baby needs. And stop yourself from going down the google rabbit hole. There is so much conflicting advice out there that it can drive you insane!

@jmdykema: Just take it one day at a time and give yourself grace ❤️

@mrs.k.gibby: Let go of all your expectations- of you, your baby, your husband- you’ll be so much happier if you. It’s new for everyone.

baby on a changing pad

Help & Relationships

Asking for help and clear communication with my spouse was not something that I excelled at during the newborn phase. If I could go back, I would say yes more than I said no. And not need everything done the way I do it.
Here are what other mamas say about asking for help and the relationship with your partner:  

@bmax991: If you have a partner be patient - their parenting may not look like your parenting but they’re adjusting and finding their footing with you. Micromanaging them is exhausting and not worth it in the long run...promise.

@kels_garofalo: Relationships are TESTED. If I had any advice, make sure you and your partner have a strong and I mean STRONG relationship and solid communication. You will hate each other at times but it gets better!!

@madi_r_kelly: ASK FOR HELP. Cry it out if needed. You got this. It’s all temporary. It gets better 💖

@tiffanynharding: Anything said and done in the newborn phase with your partner isn’t to be brought up ever again. You’re both hanging by threads and it’s easy to get at each other. Have grace, you’re both learning, no matter what # kid it is.

@eyeconomics: Make a list of things you feel comfortable having people help with so when people offer help you can give them specific tasks or choices.

baby in an infant play mat

New motherhood + your feelings

I remember that feeling that I just did not have my sh** together. (I still feel that often). But, it was a huge emotional toll in postpartum. 

If you need, come back to read this: you are the best at being your babies mama. If you can hear these words and rationally know you are, but you can’t allow yourself to FEEL these words, talk to someone. Friend, therapist, partner….just ask someone to listen and not give advice so that you can spill all the feelings you are having.

Here are some other gems from mamas who have been there too: 

@jenniferrose91: It's NORMAL to feel alone, confused, scared, guilty, exhausted, defeated, annoyed. You name it, you will feel it. Motherhood is an emotional roller coaster. It's okay to feel it all.

@shiva.bear: Do something just for yourself no matter how small, every day. If you don't, you'll notice YOU going more and more down the bottom of this ever-growing list. 🙌

@caffeinatedcusswords: It’s okay not to feel okay. Everybody shows all the cute, snuggly, blissful moments of new parenthood. But there’s a lot of crying—yours and the baby’s—and uncertainty—yours and the baby’s—so give yourself some grace while you navigate this new incredible journey.

@ultramoooo: You might not feel a connection with your baby right away, but this will grow and you will love this little one like nothing else... it takes time.

@mylifeunscripted_4: Yes, all you do is feed the baby and change the baby and pump for the baby. It’s not forever, it gets better after the first month! You and baby are getting to know each other, just give it time 💜

@rebeccahhawkins: Try not to “get back to normal” too quickly. Enjoy your tiny dictator while they are still tiny and you will figure out how to do the stuff you enjoy with them eventually.

@mybeautifulblunder: Patience with yourself, your body, and your mind!!!

@akobz13: Some babies aren’t good sleepers! Remember to take advice with a grain of salt. Don’t feel guilty if something is NOT working for you or your fam.

@carlyk20: Don’t compare yourself to moms with more than one child! They may seem more put together and like they got things figured out but remember that they had to learn with their first one too to get there! It’s a big learning curve but be patient with yourself

@the_princess_joanna: You need a thing to get you out of mommy mode. Do a fitness or art class, go to the nail salon, work a part-time job that's fun for you, something that is routine, and guard that time. I really wish I wouldn't have made myself be a mom 24/7 and doing something just for me. I love my kids but I love them better when I have consistent breaks.

Motherhood is the best ‘hood and we are all better if we band together as a community. If you are reading this and have questions, want to vent, want to cry together, want to share your experience, etc. - send me an email and I would be happy to chat!

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