Image Description: Photograph of a pregnant person wearing black with their belly exposed, holding a red flower with a long green stem in front of their belly.
Written by Sondra Malling, LCPC, BC-DMT, GL-CMA
I am celebrating my second mother’s day this month. Happy mother’s day to all my fellow moms! Since giving birth to my child about a year and a half ago, I have learned a lot. Like, A LOT. I have learned about car seats and burping and the contents of diapers. I’m sure if you looked at my browser’s search history, you would find a lot of questions along the lines of “is X normal for babies??” But, all the nitty-gritty details aside, I have learned many life lessons since I became a mother. Here are five big ones:
- Patience: babies do things on their own time when they want to, no sooner and no later. This has been a tough one for me. I walk fast, I talk fast, and I want to do things fast. But my child has forced me to slow down and give up my own timeline, and some beautiful things have arisen from that. I find that, when I lean into patience, I notice more. When I’m with my child, this means noticing the cute little wrinkles that form around her eyes as she gleefully laughs while taking a full 45 minutes to eat one bowl of yogurt. In other areas of my life, this means noticing new meanings in the lyrics of a song I’ve heard 500 times while stuck in traffic. I have found simple joys in these new noticings.
- You can’t do it all: In addition to being a recovering hurry-upper, I am a recovering workaholic. I want (and try) to do it all: work long hours, socialize with friends, keep a clean house, cook healthy meals, exercise, develop new hobbies and keep up with old ones… the list goes on. But once my child was added to the mix, I learned that this was no longer physically possible for me. So I have learned to prioritize what really needs to get done and what really matters. I’ve let some things go and trust that the rest will all get done somehow, even if it isn’t all at once. And it always does!
- Compassion for self and others: Here’s another confession – I’m also a recovering perfectionist. But there is no way to get this parenting thing perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. I’ve had to give myself a lot of grace in the last year and a half, and I have really worked my self-compassion muscle. I have also developed more compassion for my co-parent, who is also not perfect, and for my child who needs a lot of grace in navigating the world as a brand-new human doing brand-new things all the time!
- My body knows what it needs to heal: birthing people’s bodies go through a lot. Pregnancy and labor are hard on the body, and so is the sleep deprivation that comes with caring for a newborn! As I recovered from the birth and learned to navigate the world as a new mom, I have had to rely on the wisdom and knowledge held in my body (see my past blog post – URL at the bottom of the page – to learn more about body knowledge). I quickly learned that if I didn’t heed my body’s signals to eat or rest or even dance along with my child to Mary Had a Little Lamb for the 12th time in a row, I couldn’t be the kind of mom I want to be. I needed to listen to and take care of my body so it could recover after delivery and so I can participate fully in my child’s world.
- Community: It truly takes a village. I have been fortunate to have family and friends that have stepped in to help out my new little family with meals, babysitting, chores, and transportation when we really needed it. But the biggest (and happiest) surprise of it all has been the community of moms that welcomed me into their ranks. Several old friends I hadn’t spoken to in years reached out after my child’s birth just to say, “I see you, I know what it’s like, and I’m here if it gets tough.” That meant the world to me! And now I try to pay that sentiment forward when a loved one in my life becomes a mom. It’s also part of why I love facilitating our Expecting and New Mothers’ Support Group (URL at the bottom of the page). Moms supporting moms is truly a beautiful thing! The group has formed its own little community, and it’s an honor to be a part of it.
To learn more about Expecting and New Mothers’ Support Group, reach out to us on our contact page (URL at the bottom of the page).
My past blog post:
Expecting and New Mothers’ Support Group: https://www.intouchandmotion.com/blog/events/expecting-and-new-mothers-support-group/