Making It as a New Mom
Handling the New Mom Ups and Downs
A baby turns a woman’s life upside down upon arrival. Even though you have eagerly contemplated and anticipated that day, most women are blindsided by the reality of being a new mom. “Most women are over-prepared for labor and delivery and drastically under-prepared for postpartum,” reports Pam England, certified nurse midwife and co-author of Birthing From Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation, which spawned a support web site at Birthingfromwithin.com. She explains that women are often overwhelmed by the incredible physical, emotional and logistical challenges of the first weeks.
The reactions of new moms run the gamut—elation, anxiety, frustration, awe and fear—and all are completely normal. Alexandra Bourbon, mother of a two-year-old boy, was expecting a “blissful” time of being a new mom. “I was shocked by the fatigue, raging hormones, how long it took my body to heal, and just how much I had to learn to care for my baby,” she reflects. Lisa Proctor,* a mother of one, admits being overwhelmed by the birth her child. “I was so thrilled to have our daughter, yet a secret part of me wondered if I could give her back just for a day—those first weeks and months were so hard,” she says.
Experts agree that women need to know that they are not alone in having a wild ride as they adjust to their new role. A woman can’t control the first days of motherhood, but she can choose how she wants to approach this new life. “Learning to accept loss of control is an integral part of both birth and motherhood,” says England. This is a time of surrender, great learning and new experiences.