Here’s Baby…Now What?
By Meralon Shandler

So, your pregnancy went well with hardly any hiccups.  Labour was a lot of work of course, but pretty do-able in the end.  Now, you have this adorable baby in your arms to love and cuddle and share with the world.  But, somehow, things don’t seem to be falling into place very easily.  Sometimes you feel like crying for no reason, sometimes you snap at your partner, and sometimes you don’t even recognize yourself anymore….sound familiar? You are not alone!  Becoming a new Mom is a daunting experience at the best of times, and most of us go through some period of adjustment before we figure out our baby’s special ways.

During pregnancy, there is a wealth of information available to us – in prenatal classes, on the internet, in books, from our care providers – so we can be well prepared for anything that comes our way.  Postpartum, however, is a whole other ballgame.  Yes, we can gather information from all those areas mentioned above, but, having a newborn to think about and care for every day doesn’t leave us with a lot of time to do research.  And in the end, I have often found that our babies teach us what we need to know – if we listen.  Trusting your instincts with all decisions is a good piece of advice for life in general, but comes in extremely handy for parenthood.  You may do things differently than your best friend, but if you stick to what feels right for your family, you will likely feel more confident and empowered.

And what about coping with the often overwhelming feelings we encounter?  Feeling sad, frustrated, or guilty that we are not “doing enough” for our children?  It’s the common “Mom guilt” again.  Talking with other Moms is often a really good way to process these feelings, and if they persist (as in Postpartum Depression), seek the help of a professional via your GP.  Making connections through Moms groups, fitness classes, online chat groups, and community centres are all positive ways of coping with your new career – one which none of us have had much training for.  Society tends to expect us to already know what to do, but there is no set manual for having children, so we have to write our own.

And don’t forget to give to yourself, too.  The key to a content baby is a balanced Mom, so give yourself a treat and get out to the spa once in awhile, have a coffee with a friend, leave baby with Grandma and do something that rejuvenates you.  Being a new Mom takes a lot of energy and you deserve to have a break on a regular basis.  Every day in fact – ok, maybe that’s pushing it a little in the first few weeks, but after that, work it into your schedule.  You’ll find that you just might like it enough to continue….