This One is for the Mamas
Photo by Melissa Hoffman
This one is for the mamas. Old and new.
Whose bodies are stretched, pulled, ripped, and pushed. Whose minds are instantly all consumed with love and lists of things to take care of. Whose hearts are cracked wide open. Whose souls are somehow living outside their bodies. This one's for you.
My beautiful best friend is about to have a baby, and while I’m NO expert, I have had two that are walking, talking, and eating on their own, outside my body. Therefore, I can speak from my own experience and tell you that this transition from pregnant mama to “now I have a human to take care of mama” is truly unlike anything else.
Sometimes in life we go through transitions.
We get a new job. We move to a new state. We lose a loved one. We break up with a partner. We get a new partner. We gain new friends. All of these major life pivots cause you to change and grow in ways you didn’t know possible. But personally, when I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter, I was so unprepared for just how epic of a transformation was going to occur.
(Now, if you are a pregnant mama like my dear friend, I don’t want you to be scared or nervous to read this. This is FOR you. This is the article I wish I had read when I was where you are.)
There are 10 things that simply KNOWING about would have completely changed things for me. Being the first of my friends to have kids and having no younger siblings, there was so much reality I was about to experience that shocked my system. I do have a twin... but I was never around a lot of babies or women who had babies and so for me, everything was discovered in the moment without training or real life examples. So, here’s what I know now, that I wish someone would have shared with me.
1| This is the best and hardest time all rolled into one.
You are going to cry tears of laughter, love, trauma, and sheer exhaustion all at one time. I wish I had known the importance of embracing the beautiful chaos of sweet little moments and major healing. It is both of those things. It doesn’t need to all be happy, and it’s ok for it to be hard.
2| You are about to know a true, real version of you that was born overnight.
Trust her, love her, accept her. Even though she is new, she is wise, and she will teach you things about yourself that will impress you all the time.
3| Asking for help is no longer optional.
I literally never used to ask for help. I never wanted to inconvenience people, and I always felt like I could do it myself. It wasn’t until after having kids that I realized that without asking, people weren’t going to do it. And if I did it all myself, I would “technically” be surviving. But certainly not thriving. Learning to ask for help has been a life lesson that I apply to lots of things now. But I learned it from motherhood.
4| You will get so much advice that you will need to IGNORE.
I’m someone who always listens and is empathetic towards others. I want to hear your side of things - but not when it comes to my baby. You know why? Because I don’t take advice from people about my kid that I didn’t ask for. The unsolicited advice without knowing the full story is actually astounding. The presumption is that they know your kid, can diagnose your kid, and that they can judge you and your parenting without knowing the situation will shock you. Let it roll off your back and TRUST YOURSELF ALWAYS.
5| You will make mistakes.
This has been the hardest one for me. I wanted to be the best at breastfeeding. I wanted to know exactly how to rock them to sleep every time. I want to know the right way to potty train. I thought I should know the perfect time to take the pacifier away. I wanted to instantly know it all and be great at it. I still struggle with this. In my mind, this would mean that I was a great mom because I wouldn’t be making mistakes. But there is no way I won’t make them. This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t trust my instinct as discussed above. Because if I listen to someone else’s opinion and treat it more highly than my own, I will never forgive myself. But being a mother has taught me to embrace the fact that I’m human in a way this recovering perfectionist had never done before.
6| People will try and tell you to go back.
Go get your pre baby body back. Go do what you did before you had kids. Get back into clothes you wore pre baby. There is no going back. That person (and that body) are forever changed. Accepting who you are now and learning new things about what she enjoys now will be a much more enjoyable road. Reminiscing about who you used to be can bring joy, but expecting yourself to be that person again is detrimental. Because that was you pre baby. And while you are still YOU at your core, being a mom teaches you priorities, selflessness, and responsibility in such a new way. It teaches your self worth, to lead by example, and how to truly be authentic.
7| Community is important.
While you are never alone, it can be isolating and lonely if you don’t have a community of people going through it with you. Especially moms who have babies of a similar age. This shared experience and the ability to reach out to someone and say “is this forever?” is priceless.
8| Everyone will tell you, sleep when the baby sleeps, have date nights, remember self care.
These are all amazing things that will help you immensely if you can do them. But you will be in survival mode figuring out your new normal. Don’t put any more pressure on yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel good.
9| While I know not everyone having a baby and reading this has a partner, if you do, trust them.
Not only with allowing them to take ownership in their role, but in their role of being there for you too. They are going to parent differently than you. Get on the same page about as many major things as possible, but with the little things, let them figure out their own way. You may swaddle one way, they may do it a different way that works for them. If the baby is swaddled it doesn’t matter. Both parents should find their own way. It’s gonna be new to both of you, and telling them they need to do it your way can cause insecurities to arise. Encouragement and words of affirmation will go a lot longer for a marriage than, “this is the best way to clean those bottles.”
10| Do not compare yourself to any other mother.
It will always look like everyone has things more figured out than you. This is a mind trap. They don’t have it any more figured out than you. And the more moms can be open, say they need help, and embrace their true mom self’s, the easier the road will be for all.
You may have noticed in my 10 things I didn’t mention much about how to take care of the baby.
The focus was not about tips on toddler tantrums or how to sleep train like a pro. I could tell you all of those things but that’s what’s out there on the internet already. You can ask your doctor, google it, reach out to a friend, or find it all in a baby book. I know you will do a great job. I want you to love and trust this new version of yourself and that is more important than knowing the logistics of raising a baby. If I can help anyone to have a smoother transition into accepting and loving their new mama self, I will have paid it forward. From one mama to another. It’s going to be SO beautiful. You are so beautiful. Your baby is beyond beautiful. And this life is about to get EVEN more beautiful. You are ready.
Melanie Kluger is a renowned personal stylist, best selling author, and closet connoisseur. She is a leading expert in her field and helps women from all over the globe with their closets and their style. Melanie is the creator and founder of THE CONFIDENT CLOSET, a 6-week-long program to help you get to the bottom of why you have a closet that is underwhelming, overwhelming, and/or not an accurate representation of who you are. Melanie’s approach is refreshing, body-positive, and gives you an answer to the question, “Why do I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?” After working with women for over 15 years, Melanie realized that no matter who you are or what you look like, the insecurities and frustrations are the same. We all want to feel amazing in our clothes, and we all get frustrated with our wardrobes. She set out to change that and has been fullsteam-ahead ever since. Connect with Melanie on her website!