I really didn't know what motherhood would be like to be honest. I knew some things here and there from being around my two nieces for the past five years, but you simply cannot know what it is like until you have walked in a mother's shoes (or a caretaker). And let's not forget about becoming not just a mother, but a parent, during a pandemic. This is not something I ever thought I'd have to think about or even deal with as a mother. So this definitely adds a layer that unfortunately a lot of people can relate to right now.
I always knew I wanted kids, but after being diagnosed with POTS, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to. I had many conversations with my doctors. I did everything I could possibly do to get my body "ready" for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. On a personal level, nothing could have prepared me for this season of life. It is a love like I have never known. A love that I will cherish forever. I know this is going to sound cheesy, but the moment I became a mother is when I became myself. I know not everyone is fortunate to know this kind of love and I am very grateful for it.
Shout out to all the mamas and caretakers out there who are doing their best every single day just to get to the next day. It is not all rainbows and sunshine. I was very lucky to have had a relatively easy infant who has now found her voice at 14.5 months (help!). It is hard taking care of a child while managing a chronic illness. I don't say this for sympathy, I say this to allow others who are going through it to give themselves permission to acknowledge this.
I have yet to figure out how to fully manage the craziness, but I have learned a few things along the way to help keep me sane as a new mama. I would also LOVE to hear anything you guys do too that helps you. We mamas have to stick together!
Ask for help!
I am fortunate that my in-laws live nearby and can help out when most of the time. To be honest, I have had a hard time with asking for help outside of this. With covid, I haven't felt quite comfortable hiring someone part-time, BUT, I am a full believer in finding people you trust to help you out because at the end of the day, we all need a break.
Call a friend or family member
I do this multiple times a day. My family is my lifeline. I facetime my mom at least twice a day. My sister facetimes once a day, also because she is obsessed with my child (ha sorry aunt JJ). This really helps to be able to talk to people who you can vent to or even just talk about something else other than your child. You forget you actually have social skills!
Find your mom tribe
This has been something that has also been difficult during covid, but I have found some amazing mom friends that I can confide in. You only need a few! I have both new and old mom friends both here in DC and elsewhere and I would not be sane without them especially as a first time mom!
I find that this is a great stress reliever. It doesn't have to be anything strenuous, but something to get your body moving and blood pumping. There are so many apps out there now that it is easy to find a fun workout without leaving your home. If your kids are older, ask them to join you and make it a game.
This is SO important, especially in today's world of covid! Get out of your house every single day. Even if it is freezing, wrap that baby in layers and get your butt out the door. Now that most people have been working from home for the past two years, it is way too easy to get stuff in a rut of never leaving your home. It is really good for your mental and physical health to breathe in the fresh air and stretch your legs.
Massage or Manicure/Pedicure
I know this sounds stupid, but hear me out. Whether it's going to get a massage or a manicure/pedicure, having someone else rub your hands/feet or your back is literally the most amazing feeling when you've been changing diapers and washing bottles all day. Just for 30 minutes you don't have to think about anyone or anything but yourself and it is glorious. Take the time to treat yourselves mamas, it's worth every penny!
There are plenty more things you can do, but these have been my top 6 things that I have found most helpful. I would love to hear yours in the comments!
Sending love to all the mamas out there!