10 things you should never be ashamed of when you’re a new mom

Before I had children, I had an unrealistic picture of all the things I’d do, the kind of mother I’d be, and, after infertility issues, the life I wanted my little family to live. This consisted of getting back into shape, having a solid sleep schedule, and putting on something more than sweat pants every day (major fail, still, and that’s okay!). However, after I gave birth to my oldest, I got a pretty big reality check. The moment we arrived home with our little bundle of joy, I learned how our life would be and it’s nothing like I imagined. In the beginning, it’s a lot to take it but it gets easier. What I learned is, there’s a lot of things you should never be ashamed of when you’re a new mom so rest assured, I’ve got you covered (because, trust, you’re not alone).

1. You can’t remember the last time you showered

 So you haven’t bathed, huh? It’s because you’re busy changing a diaper or feeding your 24/7 eating machine (the baby) or trying to sleep for more than a few minutes! You may not even realize it’s been a day (or two) until the smell begins to permeate and/or offend your partner or friend or family member. The time in these early days kind of blurs into one blob of existence. This is all completely normal and I promise — you’ll smell like daisies soon enough. In the meantime, this is exactly why body spray and deodorant (and Febreeze ? ) were invented.

2. A “meal” is anything you don’t have to cook

 The day we came home with our daughter, groceries and cooking weren’t priority. Why would they be? Thankfully, family and friends provided dishes, gift cards, and groceries to get us through. Even if you don’t have that, don’t sweat it. You need energy to provide for your baby so anything goes and don’t feel guilty about a single bite. Leftovers, take out, frozen whatever — they’ll do their part until you get a hold of an actual (hot) meal soon. Then, when you’re out of survival-mode, it will all taste that much better.

3. You may forget about your friends and social life as a whole

 I admit, I was terrible at returning calls to friends and family after the baby was born. With all the things to do, returning calls feels like a luxury time doesn’t permit. New parents are taking care of a (demanding) new human so if loved ones have to wait a day (a week) for you to get back to them, so be it! Take care of you and that baby. Everything else can wait.

4. Chores and errands? Who has the time? Not you, which is totally fine.

 Seriously — forget about housework and laundry! They’re not a priority. If the clutter bothers you, it’s okay to recruit someone to help out but if you can’t, there’s no shame in letting things go while you do your mothering thing. Anyone who says otherwise can come clean for you. Problem solved!

5. You cry when a diaper (or any) commercial comes on TV

 I’ve had my share of baby blues which, at some point, morphed into postpartum depression. It’s important to take your mental health seriously during this time. You’ve been through a lot! It’s also natural to feel a little sad or cry on a whim while your hormones readjust so don’t be embarrassed about it. Most new moms go through the same things. However, if your symptoms become severe, talk to your partner and seek out medical attention immediately. You can’t take care of a baby if you’re not taking care of you.

6. Your plan to get in shape gets derailed

 I had plans to get my pre-baby body back right away but once I gave birth, I didn’t have the desire to do any of it! I was way too tired! And while you should take care of your body during pregnancy as well, a derailed fitness plan is okay. Give yourself a break! No one cares if you’re still wearing your maternity clothes a week, month, or year after the baby is born. They’re comfortable clothes!

7. There may be breast milk on all of your shirts

 If you’ve chosen to breastfeed, you may have splatters of breast milk on everything you own. It takes practice and can be messy! If you’ve gone the formula route, there might be even more messes! Between the boiling, mixing, shaking, and feeding in the middle of the night (when you’re running on empty), what doesn’t have some kind of milk on it amiright?

8. If your feeding plan doesn’t work out, it’s alright

 If you’ve opted to breastfeed and feel frustrated, don’t let it get you down. It’s not for everyone and does take a little time to get used to. Some people (me) are way too anxious, while others don’t have time or want to do so. Whatever your choice, take heart in the fact you’re doing what’s best for your baby, regardless of how.

9. All your conversations are about the baby

 It’s not like you don’t want to talk about other things but right now, this shiny, new human is all-consuming—and why wouldn’t he/she be?! After 9 long months of waiting, anticipating, daydreaming about being a parent, the time is finally here! Of course there’s nothing else to talk about! Everyone will probably want to hear your stories. Your partner, while having similar issues, will understand. And anyway, you’ll discuss world news soon enough; probably by the time the little one has learned the art of interruption!

10. Baby brain strikes again

 My oldest is ten and I still can’t remember why I walked into a room or where I put my keys. You’re not the first mother to forget things and you won’t be the last, so don’t stress. I hear the memory comes back sometime after they leave for college, so there’s always that!

No matter what you’re doing, give yourself some credit, would you? Every new parent has anxieties about how to do the whole parenting thing. All it means is, you’re trying to be the best new mother you can be and that is nothing to be ashamed of and everything to embrace.

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