There’s really no delicate way to put this. When you have your first baby, you wave goodbye to your former life. Gulp. But, hear me out… I’m going to wrap up my new-mama revelation with a really pretty pink bow at the end of this.
Before my son, Henry, arrived into this world like a firecracker (like legit… he was born three weeks early on the Fourth of July), I was living my best life. My husband and I were living large in our small Los Angeles apartment. We were eating out whenever we wanted, going on road trips, meeting friends for drinks, working for big companies and somehow still finding time for self-care, which for me often looked like morning yoga classes and weekend baking. I knew having a baby would change everything—I wasn’t that naive—but I truly couldn’t picture the drastic life change that would come until it was right before me, weighing in at just under six pounds. (So tiny!)
At 5:19 am, I held Henry in my arms and life was… different now.
Obviously, within the months following his birth I was getting less sleep, learning how to eat with one hand (yay, granola bars), and going a tad stir crazy at home. Beyond all that, the quality and beat of my life were forever changed. Everything meant more.
Over the course of one single night, my routine was shaken up and, honestly, it sort of sucked in the beginning. I missed my family and friends, daily exercise, being around adults, going on dates with my husband, and exploring the city without having to tote around a bajillion things. I felt like I was on my own planet, bouncing around with my feet far from the ground. Where was the earth I knew? Is there anybody out thereeeeee? (silently yelling!)
Even though I was now part of such a beautiful community of moms (and believe me, there’s nothing like the support you’ll receive before, during, and after your baby’s birth from fellow moms), I felt too new to it to join in. There was a bit of mourning my old life for a month or two. It was almost as if I was looking out a window at the former me doing things I longed to do again. I felt guilty for feeling that way, having everything I had ever wanted – a healthy beautiful son with my amazing husband.
Then, it clicked.
I could feel both these things at once. I could be an awesome first-time mom and miss life BB (before-baby). Why wasn’t I allowed to feel unbalanced and edgy about this life change? Why did I have to fake that this was easy to go through?
I had some postpartum anxiety; and, sure, that was probably part of it all. (If you’re experiencing that or went through it already like me, there is a light!). But, my whole point of sharing this with you is to say: give yourself grace and time as you transition from life as you know it to motherhood.
Understand that it can feel like you’ve literally closed one book and opened another… off a different shelf… that reads in a completely foreign language. Know that sleep deprivation will make you a little nuts. It’s okay if you’re not eating balanced or working out anymore. There will be a time for that. The laundry will get done. And, so will the cleaning. Make sure you take naps and shower (when you can). Cry a little or a lot. Hold your partner’s hand under the covers when you’re too tired to cuddle or talk. Be uneasy. Be upset. Be vulnerable.
You’re always going to be you.
But the “you” that you and everyone knows is different now. Your experiences from pregnancy to motherhood have sculpted you into the most beautiful version of you yet. Wiser, stronger, braver. You may not see it or feel it now, but on the other side, beyond the fog of that newborn stage and the depths of those terrible postpartum blues lies a bright life.
I felt lost in my new world for some time. Figuring it out as I crawled out of my sheets in the wee hours of the morning… one long day and one long night at a time. I promise what’s on the other side is shiner, bubblier, and more blissful than anything you could have ever imagined. With your baby looking back at you, seeking love, attention and guidance that only a mama could provide, how could it not be?
Start with today and take it from there. You’re doing just fine, friend.
Side note: I love my new life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Now, I prefer to be cozy at home in my sweats when I’m not working, rather than out at the coolest new pub. I crave the late-night cuddles Henry needs when he’s teething and have found that I actually miss him when we put him down to sleep and we’re just in the other room. (I stare at photos of him on my phone. That helps.) I’ve discovered that I’m so much more capable at this “mom thing” than I ever gave myself credit for. Hang in there. It gets easier.
By Ariana Shuris Becker
Ari is a native of Princeton, MA and just relocated to nearby Clinton with her husband, Sam, and 9-month old son, Henry, after spending the last 6 years in Los Angeles working in the TV industry. Ari is the voice behind The Good Getter (www.thegoodgetter.com)—a lifestyle blog that touches on all-things baby, healthy living, and travel. When she’s not working in social media or hanging out with her guys, she can be found shaking it at a Zumba class, baking in the kitchen, or scoping out the best coffee houses in the area.
Fun fact: This first time mama completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training during the second half of her pregnancy! (Maybe that’s why her little firecracker decided to make an early debut—three weeks early—on July 4th.) Show her some love on Instagram @thegoodgetter.