Parenting

Becoming a First Time Parent (Adjusting To Life As a New Mom)

Being a mom was always something I knew one day I would become. I loved the idea of creating life and bringing a baby into this world to care for and watch him/her grow into a beautiful and happy little human. I was always aware of how much hard work and time consuming being a mom is. This is why to me it was clear that my moment to be a mother would be when I knew I was ready.

While being a mom was something I always knew I would become, I didn’t rush into it. My husband and I dated, lived together, traveled, made career changes, got engaged, got married, and then decided it was time to become parents. Even when we decided we were ready, we didn’t particularly start trying. It was more like we stopped not trying (if that makes sense). We just knew we were prepared for a baby to come but we wanted them to come when he/she was ready to come to us.

Finding out I was pregnant was one the greatest days of my life. As I was becoming aware that I in fact was pregnant, it felt so surreal. It almost felt like I had an out of body experience. Like I floated out of my body and just saw my self sitting there waiting for my brain to process the news. As I made my way to my husband I almost felt drunk and could barely walk. I finally made my way to him and gave him the great news. It took a few seconds for him to process the big news as well.

A few days later we went to our first baby appointment and it was official that we in fact were going to have our first baby. We were also able to determine exactly how far along I was. Then it instantly became all about taking care of our little piece of love that was growing inside of me. Everything I read was baby related. We signed up for the baby classes and took them. We made it to all the appointments. Got the nursery put together and organized. Then the day finally came. After a whole night at the hospital at 9:58 AM on January 23, 2016 Emma Nicole was born.

To say our lives changed forever is an understatement. They always tell you that you will never really be ready to have a baby. There will always be a reason why the timing is not right. This is why we decided to just let nature take its course and for the baby to come to us when they were ready to. Mentally and emotionally preparing for a baby definitely helped. The long sleep deprived nights were really hard but we knew they were coming so it wasn’t a surprise. We didn’t always have the answers but we knew where to find them. So that helped us stay calm and learn how to tend to our baby and learn what she needed and learned what certain cries meant.

The thing is, we spent so much time preparing how to welcome the baby and how to be parents we sort of forgot how to live life. How different things would be after she got here and how much we would really have to adjust. How the things we did before wouldn’t be the same anymore. Now, I’m not talking about doing fun things like movies, going out to eat, taking spontaneous trips, etc. We always knew we would have to give those up for a while. I’m talking about not taking into consideration how much our day to day routine was going to change. And that’s when things really got hard.

Getting ready for work, going to work, going to the gym, grocery shopping, and all other daily things regular people do are all things you don’t really think about how much a new baby will affect. At least for us it did. And, it’s one of the big things that contributed to me being affected by postpartum depression and for it getting worse and worse.

I’m the type of person who has to have a daily routine. I typically have a to do list of things that need to be done everyday. I wake up at the same time and start my day with the same routine. After Emma was born this was impossible. I typically couldn’t even take a shower until like 11 pm when she was sleeping and it would have to be a quick one. I would be afraid that she would wake up in the middle of me showering wanting to eat.

I was able to have Emma sleep trained relatively quickly and on a schedule. Eventually she had a wake up time, feeding times, nap time and a bed time. By the time I went back to work she had her own routine. But, I still didn’t know how to fit everything else in between. I did meal prepping, my husband helped me with the house work, my grandparents stayed with us for a couple of months so that was helpful too. However, I still felt like I couldn’t get a grip. When I went back to work it was even more complicated.

We constantly kept having the people who agreed to come over and watch the baby while I was at work bail on us. A good friend of mine and her mom offered to watch her at their house and finally it was something more permanent. The problem was they lived opposite to our house and jobs. My husband had a later schedule at this point, so he would drop her off. I would go in to work very early to get out early and pick her up. By the time I got home from picking her up it was two hours after I had gotten out of work. Then I would get home to feed her dinner, have dinner, clean, get everything ready for the next day, breastfeed, give her a bath, take a shower and sometimes work overtime from home. I would end up going to bed after midnight most days. To then be up at 5 am to breastfeed her and then get ready for work and make it there for 7 am.

This routine was exhausting to say the least for all of us and really took a toll on me. Eventually it was too much and that’s when we decided the best thing would be for me to quit my job and stay home with her. It was a huge adjustment for us financially and emotionally for me as well. I never thought that I would end up being a stay at home mom. The truth is I like going to work and socializing with other adults. Being home all day with a baby was a hard adjustment. My husband was working long hours while we got our finances straightened without my income.

All these elements contributed to my depression. Every time I started to feel a little better and more like myself again, something else happened where I couldn’t stick to my new routine anymore and would have to start all over again. It was draining and very hard to go through pretty much alone since my husband was gone for long hours. I had no energy to do anything more than just taking care of my baby. I didn’t want to leave the house and my housework really started to fall behind.

After Emma turned one I came to realize that I needed to take control of my life back. I was doing a great job at being a mom and now needed sometime to focus on me. While I was being a good mom I still felt like I could be a better mom if I worked on my mental and emotional health. I had seeing a specialist to treat my postpartum depression and decided to apply some of their advice to my daily life. I started going out with Emma more and went back to the gym. I started documenting Emma’s meals and my recipes on Instagram again. This helped me keep busy and distracted. I also got some contact through social media with other adults. Even if it was just through my phone, it helped a little.

Another thing that really helped was going back to making a to do list. This helped me better manage my time. I learned how to split my house work and cooking and fit it into each day so that I’m only doing a bit everyday. Now that the weather is warm I spend a lot of time outside with Emma and that makes both of us happy. My husband is back to working normal hours and is around more so is able to help me out when he gets home from work. Even him spending time with Emma so I can finish my afternoon chores is a huge help. I go to the gym regularly and that has helped me very much with getting out of my depression.

Becoming a parent is a different experience for everyone. This has been our personal experience and it has definitely been a hard uphill battle just to get back on track with everyday life. But the good thing is that no matter how hard things get or how depressed I may feel, one look at my baby and I feel much better. Being a mom is a huge responsibility but it is also a privilege. I’m also very lucky to have a healthy baby growing up to be a smart and clever little girl. Sometimes I just have to remember to sit back and just enjoy my baby girl. The hard times won’t last forever and so won’t the time with my baby being a baby. She will grow fast and I don’t want to look back and feel like I missed any time with her. Even though becoming a parent has been challenging in ways that we didn’t even know were possible, it is still the best thing to ever happen to us.

Becoming a First Time Parent (Adjusting To Life As a New Mom)- learning how to juggle life with a new baby while struggling with postpartum depression.

16 Comments

  1. Diana

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I started following you on IG a few months ago (jimping bean). I totally relate to everything you wrote. I also wonder what advice the counselor gave to help with PPD. I’ve been home with my baby and am supposed to return to work after she turns one. I dont know how Ill do it (commute almost 2 hrs each way). Though I really crave work, away time, etc. I started IG for the same reason. One thing that has saved my life is Fit4Mom stroller strides. You may have a group in your area. Anyway, thanks again for being open and honest. Im convinced 90 if not 100% of new moms experience PPD its just not talked about. Take care!

    1. Hi Diana! thank you for your support. I truly appreciate it! I’m glad to hear others relate to what I have gone through and that my story can be of help to them. The best advice my counselor gave me was to allow others to help me with the baby. To let my husband or a family member take care of her while I spent some time to myself. Whether it was to sleep or go out and get my hair or nails done or just get some fresh air. I’m sure it’s going to be hard going back to work and adjusting to life managing a baby and work. The good thing is that she will be one and you will have spent a lot of bonding time with her. Being around other adults after so long will probably make it easier to adjust too. If you feel like you may be experiencing PPD I would highly recommend letting your doctor know so they can refer you to a specialist. Sometimes just talking to someone who you know can help will make all the difference! Good luck with everything and thanks again for reaching out!

  2. Wow! Being a new parent is such a journey but any awesome one. Your daughter is beautiful! Such a gorgeous family.

    1. It sure is! Very rewarding. Thank you 😊

  3. You know as I read this it dawned on me that the mom’s that need or like a routine are probably more affected with a new baby (change). I didn’t have a routine and was able to go with the flow better. It didn’t mean my house was messy it just meant I didnt have a particular order of doing anything. Now with my 3rd I was going to college and things needed to get done so it was a little different.

    1. That actually makes sense and I hadn’t thought of that. Definitely the hardest part for me.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Sharing your story helps so many others like myself come to the realization how much having a newborn can change us, but we can mold and change with it for the better. It is such a challenge as you mentioned, but every ounce is oh so worth it!

    1. Thank you! I hope it helps other moms too. It definitely is a life hanging experience.

  5. Becoming a mom was certainly the most challenging endeavor I undertook. As we had more kiddos, it continues to be a daily challenge, but still so very worth it and incredibly rewarding.

    1. It definitely is very challenging but oh so rewarding!

  6. Meagan

    Congrats on being a first time mom. I am pregnant with my 4th but there is such a big age gap between the older 3 and this baby that I feel like I am starting all over again with a new baby.

    1. Thank you so much! Congrats on your beautiful family too and I can definitely see how it can feel that way.

  7. What a great post. People tell you having a baby changes your life forever but I don’t think people understand how much until baby is here.

    1. Yes you never actually know how much things change until you actually become a mother.

  8. Kai

    Thanks for being so genuine and candid about your experience! I never thought my day-to-day life would change so dramatically after having my little girl! I like to be efficient and thorough, and those don’t always mesh well with a baby who has changing priorities moment to moment and who I need to be flexible with. I have learned a lot about myself thru becoming a mama.

    1. Yes it can be really difficult for people like us who like to have a routine because sometimes with babies that’s just not possible. I feel like I have also learned so much about myself after becoming a mom.

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