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Why the First 8 Weeks of Motherhood Are So Damn Hard

Photograph by Twenty20

The first few months with a newborn are a challenge, to say the least. Your entire world has just changed (whether it’s for the first time, second or third ...), and everyone is adjusting to the new norm. It’s difficult. It’s hard. It’s sleepless nights and frustration at an all-time high. It’s lots of cuddles and unwashed hair and coffee. And it’s so full of unbelievable love. And we somehow forget about all of the hard parts, anyway, don’t we?

So in an effort to help other expecting moms, I asked some "been there, done that" moms to share what they found to be the hardest part of the first eight weeks. Here’s what they had to say:

“The lack of sleep is what did me in. I am NOT a happy or nice person when I’m running on only a few hours of sleep. Thank God for coffee. And a patient husband who dealt with my irritability. And who took the baby as much as he could so I could sleep.” – Lucy O.

RELATED: 10 Myths About Life With a Newborn

“Not having any time for myself. I literally felt like I was drowning those first few months. Any and all of my energy went toward my baby, and while she is so worth all of that and more, it really took a toll on myself and my own happiness. It’s then that I realized postpartum depression is a very common thing and there is so much help available! I urge anyone who is feeling low to seek help! You're never alone.” – Meredith B.

“I thought motherhood would come so natural to me, and while it did in some ways, I find myself struggling a lot with 'keeping up with the Joneses' and just trying to stay afloat in this crazy journey. It can definitely be trying!” – Stacey R.

“Juggling my toddler and my newborn was the most difficult for me. Finding that balance of tending to the newborn’s basic needs while also paying attention to the toddler (and trying to keep jealousy at bay) was a challenge, and one I’m still working on!” – Lisa S.

Finding any time for myself.

“Nursing was the biggest struggle. I ended up pumping exclusively for nine months. It was hard and it sucked and I hated every second of being attached to the pump instead of snuggling my baby.” – Megan N.

“The constant worry. When my son was born, I didn’t sleep at all, not only because he didn’t let me, but because I was so worried about if he was breathing, if he was happy, etc. It’s crazy how much bigger and scarier the world gets when you have a baby!” – Lindsay N.

“Finding any time for myself. I love my kids more than anything, but it’s difficult to find any time to breathe and do something just for me.” – Mindy M.

RELATED: How Moms Really Felt During the Last Month of Pregnancy

Breastfeeding was the most difficult thing for me. I wanted to just quit, every time we tried. It was frustrating, challenging and nearly impossible, but I kept at it, and with the help and support of my husband it became so much easier!” – Yvette W.

“Adjusting to a newborn was so hard! All of a sudden all of my attention was on this tiny person, and trying to keep them alive. The entire experience was terrifying and difficult and wonderful, all at once.” – Katie R.

“My biggest struggle is trying to maintain the close relationship I had with my 2-year-old. She hears 'no' so much from me now, and I worry how it is impacting her.” – Kathy V.

“I’m the first of my friends to have a baby, so those first few months were a bit isolating for me. My friends didn’t understand what I was going through, and I didn’t feel like I could really relate much to them anymore, either.” – Nina V.

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