There is much attention paid to the first three trimesters of pregnancy. The one that follows birth is somehow forgotten. The childbearing year includes the first three months after birth. Education and preparation for this time are necessary too.
This is the transition period of life outside the womb, for the baby. This is the transition period for women to become mothers and men to become fathers, partners, and family members to become caregivers.
These are the five things that stand out as notable, for women, in the first three months of life with a newborn.
1) You will be transformed.
Regardless of the pregnancy and birth experience, your life will never be the same. You will become a mother, a woman who has begun the journey of raising up a human being. There is nothing else like it in the world. Get ready to turn on your protector. Trusting yourself with decisions will get you through. Embracing the challenges and the joys, and seeking support and comfort from other mothers, your partner, friends, and family will go a long way.
2) Your sleep patterns will change.
No doubt about it. Newborn babies sleep up to 16 hours per day, but not all in one shot. Every two to three hours you will feed your baby. Sleep will not be the same as it was. It may take some ingenuity to get the required amount for you. Give yourself permission to stay in bed longer, to sleep when your baby sleeps, and to give up some of your to-do-list. Delegate.
3) Your prior expectations will shift.
Whatever you were thinking before, or envisioning may not be the case. Be present with what is.
The more you give yourself the time to get to know your baby, the more confident you will feel. It doesn’t matter what your friend, or sister, or mother or anybody else thinks, or what they did. This is your baby. Be flexible, and expect the unexpected. Be open to what is possible with your mothering.
4) Your relationships will shift.
You have a new role as a mother. If you have a partner it’s important to keep the communication flowing, with how you are both feelings. Family members may be helpful, and maybe not. Choose who you want around you in the early days and weeks. Maybe not all of your friends are Moms and don’t understand how your priorities have shifted. You may have to pick and choose times to spend with people outside your immediate circle of support. It’s okay. Be kind to yourself as these relationships shift. You’ll likely gain new ones and you might lose some.
5) You will have a range of emotions.
There may be some feelings of joy one minute and sadness the next. Much of this is normal. There is a lot happening as you get to know your baby and heal from your birth experience.
Keep in mind that if your emotions seem out of normal range, and you are feeling bad more than good, sadness more than joy, reach out to someone. Talk to your partner or a friend. Know that one in seven women experience some type of mood disorder. You are not alone.