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Amy Kovarick Offers New Mom Advice
Amy Kovarick, M.A, a mother, life coach and speaker, is co-author of Baby on Board: Becoming a Mother Without Losing Yourself and host of the internet radio show “The Empowered Mother.” She is the owner of Empowered Motherhood LLC, where she has helped hundreds of women across the country become mothers without losing themselves. Amy is a professional certified coach with the International Coach Federation. Here, she shares her expertise on how to get through the first 30 days of becoming a new mom.
What are some of the feelings and emotions associated with the first 30 days of being a new mom?
The emotions I think of first are the positive ones. Many women feel overpowering emotions of pride, awe, wonder, joy and relief. One of the most common emotions is a “high,” not just about the baby, but about every aspect of yourself. It’s the feeling, “If I can do that, I can do anything.” After childbirth, I think most women never look at themselves the same again. They see themselves as infinitely more capable.
Is everyone really that upbeat?
Even new mothers who are incredibly happy usually also feel overwhelmed, shocked and panicked to some extent. Just the reality of postpartum exhaustion, bleeding, night sweats and lousy bladder control is shocking! I believe a roller coaster of emotions go with change in general. When you experience drastic change, it might be exciting and fun but usually there are other feelings, as well. When we work with moms-to-be and moms, we emphasize that it’s okay to have all of these feelings. None of them are bad; none of them are wrong.
It’s as natural to feel overwhelmed, as it is to feel happy. After all, new motherhood is the job with the steepest learning curve. You’re not only taking on a new job, but it’s a 24/7 commitment, and usually you have little preparation other than doing some reading or taking a few short classes. It’s on-the-job training. It’s ongoing and you can’t quit. What other kind of job would a woman take on with that description?
How can new moms overcome their fears or combat them?
You don’t want to combat them; you want to surrender to them. Be wide open. Embrace all the feelings; don’t push them away. Expect the unexpected. Think more about how you want to be with change, than trying to wrestle it to the ground. And be forgiving to yourself.
Who is it important to be during the first 30 days of being a new mom?
It’s different for each woman. It’s about setting your personal intention, over and over again. How do you want to be in this moment? How do you want to be in the first 30 days? How do you want to be after the first 30 days? Do you want to be hanging on tight and closed and scared or do you want to be open and loose and curious and forgiving? In our book, we have you literally write out your intention as a reminder that you can choose how to be today. One of my favorites is the mom who wrote, “I am one passionate, bulldog new mama!”
In Baby on Board, you talk about creating a “foundation for motherhood.” What does that mean?
It’s a process where you identify your values, determine what beliefs you choose to hold about your new life as woman and mother, and create your intention. I recommend that women write their Foundation on a piece of paper and put it next to the rocking chair, on their bathroom mirror or next to the baby’s crib. This is one way to stay connected to who you really are in the midst of being a mother.
What other tricks do you have for new moms?
I always tell women to do a toothbrush check-in. We figure that most new moms end up brushing their teeth each day and when they do, they need to ask themselves, “What’s working well? What do I need? Who do I want to be today?”
How can new moms thrive—not just survive—during the first 30 days?
In the first 30 days, you should make life easy. Have a really simple routine. Lean on everyone. Let them help you. Leave the house. Find other news moms, whether it’s a support group for you or a mommy-and-me class for you and your baby
The first 30 days can really deplete you. It might be filled with challenge, colic, poop, sickness and tiredness, but you still want it be transformational, to be this beautiful ushering in of your new life.
The way to thrive rather than survive is having the tools and self-knowledge and the ability to self-reflect. When we wrote our book, we asked expectant mothers, “Who do you want to be as a woman and mother? What do you most want to bring to your child?” These continue to be important questions throughout your life as a mother.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
“I’m an enthusiastic learner.” That’s my belief. When I express it openly and confidently to the people around me, then I’m golden.
The best thing about change is...
How alive you feel in the middle of change. No matter what else, you are alive and you know it!
What is the best change you have ever made?
There have been a lot of them but the most recent best change is when I got pregnant. At the time, I was a little concerned about work but I wrote, “Being a mother is going to bring me to new levels in my career,” and so it has!
For more information on Amy Kovarick, visit www.empoweredmotherhood.com.