While I've only been a mom to Eleanor for a little over four months, lately, I've been reflecting on what my number one piece of advice for new moms would be, and what I wish I had heard before she was born.
After Eleanor was born, I joined a local group of new moms with babies that were all born within six weeks of each other. Because of COVID, we met weekly on Zoom and would get together in person on our own terms. We spent the weekly two-hour Zoom sessions discussing all the things new moms discuss. Things like sleeping, eating, how to navigate changing relationships, how to set boundaries, and more. This group was life changing - each week, we laughed, cried, and commiserated. This past week was our last session, and we reflected on how far we've come in the few months since we became moms. Our group leader, who is a therapist, asked us to go around and share the number one piece of advice for new moms, or that we wish we could have given ourselves before our babies were here.
Advice For New Moms: What Others Said
We all went around and shared what our top piece of advice for new moms would be. I really resonated with everything everyone else said. People mentioned things like:
- Lean on Other Moms: this one is huge. I've found such a sense of community within this new mom group, and from the other moms in my life. Over the last few months, I really felt like the other moms in my life have bent over backwards to make sure I felt supported while I navigated this journey. The more you can find a motherhood community, or lean on other moms, the easier your journey will be.
- Communicate with Your Spouse: another vital piece of advice. Making sure you and your spouse have conversations, before the baby is even here, about your expectations from each other around parenthood, is so important.
My Number One Piece of Advice for New Moms
Then, it was my turn to share my number one piece of advice for new moms, or what I wish someone had said to me before Eleanor was born. It was so easy for me to think of exactly what it would be:
Do it Scared.
There have been so many moments these last few months that I've felt scared about something. Joining a new moms group by myself where I knew no one? Scared. Putting Eleanor in the car seat for the first time alone, and driving with her by myself? Scared. Leaving the house with her alone where I needed to be somewhere at a specific time? Scared. Breastfeeding in public? Scared. Taking her to swim class? Scared. Taking her on a flight to Florida when she was 10 weeks old? Scared. Flying alone with her on a red-eye international flight? Terrified. The list goes on and on and on. And yet, with every single thing I've done, I have built more and more confidence and independence as a mom and so far, I've been better for it.
When I posted that I'm flying alone with Eleanor to London, I got so many questions about whether I was scared about certain things.
"Aren't you scared about the time difference and how she'll sleep?"
"Are you scared about the flight?"
"Aren't you scared about having to fit everything you need for her in your suitcase?"
And my answer is: of course I'm scared! No one said that in order to do things, you shouldn't be scared. Being a new mom is SCARY all the time, and it's been scary since day one. Eleanor having her first meltdown in public was scary. Driving alone with her for the first time was scary. So many things have been extremely scary, but doing them anyways has changed everything.
Embracing "doing it scared" has allowed me to strengthen my bond with Eleanor, rather than lamenting life as it once was. Before being a mother, I always envisioned that in some ways when I had an infant, my life would end - that I would never travel again, that I would never get together with friends, that I would never leave the house. And while I know and accept that things get harder when babies become mobile and have more opinions, I know that by doing these things now, I'm working to set myself up for success.
Every time I've "done it scared," I've built confidence, independence, and most importantly - I've made core memories that will last me a lifetime. People might tell you, "but the baby will never remember it!" but YOU will remember it.
So, my number one piece of advice for new moms: be scared. But make the choice to do it anyways. Do it scared.
In Case You Missed It: Eleanor's Birth Story is here!