A new baby is on the way! There is so much to prepare, so much joy and anticipation. Some of that anticipation is positive and some of it, not so much. You are probably afraid and that is ok. It’s healthy for this next chapter to have some fear in your life (if the fear is overwhelming, talk to a mental health provider). The more you know the better. So let’s rip the Band-Aid off and go through the top 4 things I wish someone would have told me about getting ready to go on maternity leave.
You will be lonely.
It’s a whole new world and you are going it alone. Even with an extremely supportive partner or mother or friend there with you, they simply cannot know how are you feeling. If it’s just you and your partner s/he will probably go back to work within a few weeks, leaving you alone with your new baby for days on end. It will be a beautiful time for bonding and you’ll relish almost every moment but there will be times you will feel very alone. In these time know that you are not. There are other new moms out there going through the same thing. If you can, get out and go to a “newborn play class”. I’m sure there is some kind of benefit for your babe in this structured “play” but more importantly it’s a chance to meet new moms who are going through the same thing. If you can’t get out, find an online support group, there are several on Facebook and Slack. You could also try the app Ellie. Most importantly know, that it’s normal and ok to feel alone. There is nothing wrong with you.
Newborn cries will terrorize you.
You will even hear them in your sleep. Seriously. When my baby boy cried, I had a physical reaction. I guess its evolution, you cannot ignore their cries. Even today thinking about his tiny face all scrunched up and crying I tear up. I started having what we called “phantom cries” where he wasn’t crying at all but I hear his cries and when I was dreaming I would “hear” him cry and wake up out of my sleep. It was a lot. I am past that, we are past that but I wish someone would have told me how intense your newborn’s cries can feel. Consider yourself forewarned.
You will cry, a lot.
It’s not just your baby who will cry. You too, new mom, will shed quite a few tears. It’s normal, there are hormones, and a major life change and did I mention the part about feeling lonely. Let is out. Boo hoo all you want when you want. It’s your right. If at anytime you feel like your boo-hooing is too much too handle, reach out to a mental health profession. Post-partum depression is real and you can get help for it.
You will not sleep more than 90 minutes at a time (and 90 is if you are lucky).
Ok, I was warned I would not get a lot of sleep. But no one was clear with how little sleep I would actually get the first 2 month. So I am telling you now, you will not sleep more than 90 minutes at a time. You will get through it. Miraculously, you will get through and help a baby to thrive but it’s tough. Do what you can to maximize sleep. Power naps will be your friend. Getting ready for maternity leave means getting ready to be awake, a lot.
Get READY For MATERNITY Leave Bonus: The time will fly by and you’ll barely remember these “scary” times
You are having a baby and it’s wonderful! You are having a baby and it’s also super scary! Don’t fret you got this. Know that it’s not easy for anyone (no matter how they make it look on Instagram). Also, know that you will probably be lonely, terrorized by your newborn’s cries, cry a lot yourself and not sleep for more than 90 minutes. It’s hard but it’s ok. It’s part of the process. To get ready for maternity leave, know these things are coming and think about how you might deal with the emotions and trials. Know its coming and find solace that you are not alone. There are going to be very difficult parts of your leave and that is ok. It’s not a reflection on if you are a good mom or a bad mom, it’s just a reflection that you are now, a mom.
Now that we got the “scary” out of the way, check out this article on some of the fun things you can do to make the most of maternity leave!
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