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What I Struggled with and Learned as a New Mom

By Marissa Patton

What a time! You have finally been able to bring your bundle of joy home. That is when the juggle of emotions begins. Well, that is when it began for me. I was blessed to be able to have a home birth. These crazy emotions started for me a couple of days after my son’s birth. Guilt, happiness, fear, stress, joy, tenderness, sadness-all pulled my mind in different ways. I believe Satan tried to steal away my joy of new motherhood with unexplained thoughts.

I want to share with you a few of the things I learned as a young first time mother. These are all things I wish I had known before I had my sweet baby. I would like to preface that this is not written to “share my wealth of knowledge.” I know there are many godly ladies that can give better advice than I ever could!

But I have prayed that this will help a new mom or expectant mother during their postpartum process. It may also help a friend of a new mother understand her struggle and know how to better help them during this time.

Rollercoaster emotions were a big contributor to my struggle postpartum. My fluctuating hormones affected my state of mind. I was not aware of just how they would affect me. I did not have postpartum depression per say, but looking back, I am able to pinpoint many struggles I wish I would have known would be upon me during this time in my life. Here are a few points on negative postpartum mindsets and how I had to combat them.

  1. Comparison. I will not elaborate on this too much, because there was a wonderful blog written about this a couple of weeks ago. But I will say, DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER MOMS! Comparison was a root cause of anxiety and undo stress for me. I set crazy expectations and would mentally beat myself up if I did not meet those expectations. It is not wise to compare ourselves to anyone’s standard except that of the Lord! (II Corinthians 10:12-13)

  2. Low self-esteem or loss of identity. There is quite a mountain of secular information to be found all over the internet about “finding your identity.” Some mothers feel like once they have their first baby, they are no longer the person (or personality) they once were. I too felt this way. I had to recognize two things. The first is that my identity is found in Christ. I am His child. I can be confident in that. If He is never changing, my position in Him stays the same. I also recognized that this is just a short season. I was not able to bounce back to that prepregnancy weight and energy. But I did take a moment to find a couple of new outfits (thrift stores count!) that are still flattering and allowed myself some grace to diet or make life changes once I was mentally ready. I was not always able to control my crazy emotions at the moment. But I could control my response in those moments. You may not be able to control the health problems that you may be facing on top of being a new mom. But you can control your spirit towards others and towards God. Remember that you are His child. That is the best and greatest identity to have.(Colossians 3:1-4)

  3. Mom guilt. I let thoughts of guilt creep in when I was doing something that may be against society’s standards. (Go back to NOT comparing yourself.) I was unable to breastfeed, but my baby drank my milk and was healthy and fed. It took me too long to not feel guilty for that. Many moms struggle with this issue. I was not the first. I will not be the last. If you have a colicky baby, do not feel guilty for asking a trusted babysitter to come sit for a few hours so that you can get proper rest. Do not feel guilty for asking for help. As a new mom, I did not know all the answers. I had hours of conversations with discreet, godly ladies about all things new baby related, including how to build my marriage, my new housework routine, and my devotional time with the Lord. Do not let mom guilt creep in and rob you of the joys of motherhood!

  4. Lack of proper rest. I do not know about you, but when I do not have enough sleep, I get sick and quite irritable. I am not able to function very well. Most assume that with a new baby comes no more sleep for you and your spouse. This may be your struggle too. I may be in the minority, but I highly recommend learning all that you can about baby sleep during this time! It is possible to have a well-rested infant and well-rested parents. It takes time and dedication, but it helped my marriage thrive during this season because we practiced good sleeping habits for our baby early on. He still uses these habits over one year later. Proper rest solves a majority of the postpartum roller coaster emotions.

Those were a few, not all, of my struggles. I am one new mom in a sea of new moms! I know there are others who struggle more. There are some who struggle less. Some do not seem to struggle at all. But moving forward, I learned a few things that I still use as I live life with my energetic one year old.

  1. Wake up earlier. I wake up normally one hour earlier than my son is scheduled to wake up. Now, he does not always wake at the same time, but on average, I can guess what his wake up time will be. I try to get my day planned, my hair and makeup done, and most importantly my devotions complete in that time. It does not always happen. But If I can get my brain started before I hear his cries, then I can be more present in my day. I learned too late that getting up early to do my devotions was the best option during this season of life. I love it. I highly recommend it. No, I am not a morning person. But I do look forward to mornings now that I know I will have an hour of quiet time. (Psalms 63:1)

  2. Seek wise counsel. Learn from others' experiences. My mom was an invaluable resource. Your pastor’s wife would be another great resource. I ask about biblical child rearing, marriage advice with a new little one, health issues that may arise, and so many more things. Google gave me many diagnoses for Landon’s runny nose. A seasoned mother gave me practical advice that will stick with me for a lifetime. (Proverbs 1:5; Titus2:3-5)

  3. Ask for help. Do not turn down offers from friends to make a meal or tidy your house or make a grocery run for you because you feel badly asking for help. One lady in my church told me that her love language was acts of service. She offered to clean my house. I let her. Because that was her gift to me and my family postpartum! Be wise. Learn right now. “It’s fine. I feel bad asking” is not the response that you should give if you feel like you’re drowning in laundry and have no energy or are too tired to make a meal. Family and friends around you love you. They want to show you. Let them. (Proverbs 3:27)

  4. Be honest with your spouse. Let him know how you are feeling. Tell him your struggles. Let him hug you in the unexplained tears. Let him take the baby so that you can nap. Let him be a part of this process with you. If you shut him out, he will feel useless, and you will not get the help and support you need. I spent many nights trying to explain to my husband my out-of-whack emotions and maternal fears. He would hug me while I cried. But then, he knew how to help me get past those with each new day. Just be honest with him. Do not try to bottle it up inside. (Proverbs 31:11)

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:7‬. Use this verse to combat the feels of fear, depression, overwhelmed spirit, or unexplained sadness. Or find verses to cling to.

Remember that this time with your infant is precious. It is also short. It is a season of life, not your whole life. Just know that you do not have to struggle alone. “…And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬b ‭


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