What does it feel like to be a new mother? What advice do experts have? We talked to Renown’s parent educator and coordinator of maternal child education to get the inside scoop about the transition to motherhood.
New moms may feel excited, amazed, in awe and completely in love with their new babies — but they also may feel totally overwhelmed and full of questions. We talked to Christine Shoaf, ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator at Renown and Coordinator of Maternal Child Education, about new mommyhood.
What does the transition to motherhood feel like?
Your baby is here, and now your journey into motherhood begins. This can be one of the biggest transitions a women faces. It can also be all she hoped for and was expecting. If you find yourself bubbling over with joy and excitement, you are most fortunate. Mothers not only deal with hormonal adjustments, fatigue and taking care of a newborn, they also deal with much more. Today’s moms don’t just wing it like we did 30 years ago. Moms are anxious about birth of course — who isn’t? But all the do’s and don’ts and the feelings of “am I doing this right?” can play a big part in the motherhood journey.
What should I know about sleep and the new baby?
It can be downright overwhelming just to put your baby down to sleep. A safe sleep environment is at the top of the list of doing things right. However if baby won’t fall asleep easily in their crib or safe sleep environment, then there is work to do — which may leave parents up at night trying to get baby to sleep. Many years ago we had more options, which was not necessarily a good thing: We have seen SIDS drop drastically since the back to sleep/safe sleep campaign arrived.
What’s the best advice you can offer to new moms?
Becoming a mother can be a rough journey filled with self-doubt and major adjustments. We don’t talk enough about this and also how it can impact families and breastfeeding.
On a more positive side, there is good news: you’re not alone. Many moms silently move through the first few weeks wondering to themselves, “What just happened? I thought this would be easier.” My best advice to any new mom is this: Be kind to yourself, expect there to be little bumps in the road. Sleep should be at the top of your list. Sleep when baby is sleeping and sleep when someone is there to help, because without enough sleep everything can feel more overwhelming.
Try not to be the super mom by keeping it all together. Let someone else tidy up your house or cook your meals. Accept help, talk to other moms, know where to get help for breastfeeding issues and also learn the signs of postpartum depression.
During The first few weeks and months with your new baby, relax and try to focus on the most important things: taking care of you and your baby. Let your transition into motherhood be filled with patience and love for yourself. This is a time to be in the moment with this little person who will grow quickly right before your eyes. Motherhood is a lot to take in, so narrow your focus and enjoy the journey.
What can I do to make the transition to motherhood smoother?
We now offer a five-week course for new moms called “Journey into Motherhood.” The series will help you connect with other moms and work through the changes in this new stage. This complimentary 5-week course will also guide discussion as you learn practical ways to heal, self-care and discover your new emerging identity into motherhood.
- Week 1: Building Trust & Safety & community resources
- Week 2: The Inner & Outer Critics
- Week 3: Letting Go of the Old Identity
- Week 4: Creating Your Circle of Support
- Week 5: Defining & Embracing Your New Identity
Mothers and babies are welcome to attend. For more information please call Chris Shoaf at 775-982-4352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.