I Have Been in Your Shoes: The Struggles of a New Mom
By Nicole Kekesi, Virtua Board-Certified Lactation Consultant
Many days, the hardest part of my job is helping new mothers understand that their worries and issues are common. Being a good practitioner requires me to “let down the curtain” and show them that many moms, myself included, have had nearly identical experiences.
We have been there with sleepless nights. With concerns as to whether we are a good enough parent. If what we experience is normal. I hear them, empathize with them, and encourage them not to hold back or put on a brave face. Instead, be raw and be real. Asking for help can often make a world of difference.
When my first son was a baby, I remember absolutely HATING when 2 AM hit, since I knew I would spend the next three hours trying to calm and soothe him. To this day, I know the words to every hit song from 2006 thanks to all the time I spent trying to sing and bounce him back to sleep.
Fortunately, the late nights and sleepless stretches tapered off, and they will for you too.
You can complain to me, I have been there.
I remember my second son crying nonstop for a solid week and my fear that I was not feeding him enough. The self-doubt was strong, even with my knowledge and training. I wrote down every feed, timed how long he was on each breast, and counted soiled diapers relentlessly.
As mothers, we worry that we are not good enough or not doing enough. Sometimes all you need is someone to say, “it's ok, you are doing great.”
You can cry to me, I have been there.
With both my kids, going back to work was an ordeal. Honestly, I did not handle it well. I was not brave and I did not adapt to my "new normal" at first. I spent many a day hiding in a bathroom stall sobbing, leaking everywhere, and checking my watch to see if I was any closer to returning home. I also hated my breast pump—really hated it. Every time I pumped it reminded me that I was not with my baby. It was a dark time, but it got easier as the days went on. Most working mothers can relate.
You can lean on me, I have been there.
I remember my older son’s first Easter. My family went to a local restaurant and I was excited to be out-and-about and show my relatives how adorable he looked in his white Easter suit. Walking into brunch was a fist-pounding-the-air moment of a mom who was cool and in control.
Then came the sound that every mother knows so well—an explosive diaper. His once-pristine white outfit was now covered in not-so-adorable baby poop. I remember the looks of horror from the people around me. I remember laughing until I cried…or maybe it was the reverse.
You can laugh with me, I have been there.
Updated April 19, 2018