It's nearly seven years later, but I still have a vivid memory of worrying over getting my holiday cards in the mail that December my first son was born. Instead of taking my tired self to bed once the baby fell asleep, I stayed up writing Christmas cards.
Now that I look back, I can see that my exhausted postpartum self was insane! Those damned cards didn’t need to go out “on time”—they didn’t need to go out at all. I’d just had a baby! But like many new moms, I gave myself even more things to worry about than the simple (monumental) task of caring for a newborn and myself.
There are so many legitimate things to worry about as a new mom, why do we give ourselves even more to stress over? We need to stop that nonsense. Here's a list of some things new moms don't need to worry about in those early months.
1. Losing the baby weight
If you have had a baby in the past six months (or you’re still pregnant!), please don’t put any time into worrying about losing the baby weight. Your body has undergone radical change and been through tremendous trauma (doubly so if you had a C-section), so the last thing you need to be doing is counting calories or stressing over your workout routine. By all means, do what makes you feel good—but don’t push it. The baby weight takes time to come off and you have plenty of time to worry about it once you are fully recovered and are getting enough rest.
Those first few months with a new baby are chaos—you are caught between what used to be normal for you and what your new normal will be.
2. Whether your spouse still finds you attractive
They do. End of story. If that isn’t enough to convince you, keep in mind that in these early months of postpartum hormonal mood swings and exhaustion, you are not the most reliable source when it comes to anyone but yourself and your baby. Trust that your love for each other has gotten you this far, through all the ups and downs, and that it will last through the parenting stage, too.
It will come, no pun intended. Don’t put too much thought into the logistics of it. If you’re ready to roll after your six- to eight-week postpartum visit, good for you. If you need more time, take it. There is no right or wrong way to handle your sex life postpartum. The most important thing is to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, and communicate your needs to your partner.
4. If the baby is getting enough to eat
There are times when this is a legitimate concern, especially with breastfeeding when you can’t tell exactly how much your baby is getting, but your pediatrician will tell you if it’s something you should be monitoring more closely. In most instances, you needn’t worry, as long as the baby is gaining weight and healthy.
5. Writing thank you notes (and holiday cards)
Don’t worry about them. It’s great that you want to be thoughtful—I’ve been there!—but this is not the time to worry about etiquette. Write the notes and the cards if it will make you happy, but if it’s just another chore on your list, it can wait. Everyone will understand.
6. Cleaning your house
You feel like you’re living in Grand Central with the number of people who are coming and going to visit you and the baby. Your instincts tell you to pick up the clutter, vacuum and empty the overflowing laundry hamper. But stop. Just stop. No one cares what your house looks like (except maybe your mother-in-law and there is no pleasing that woman, amiright?), so don’t worry about it. In fact, for every person who stops by to visit, give them something to do. Have them load the dishwasher or take out the trash. It’s not rude, it’s asking for help when you need it. And you’d do the same for them if they needed it.
7. Wondering if you'll ever feel normal again
You won’t. Ever. OK, I’m kidding (but only a little). Those first few months with a new baby are chaos—you are caught between what used to be normal for you and what your new normal will be. It’s a transition and it will take time to settle into your new life as a mom. Try not to stress too much about what you’ve lost and focus instead on what you have gained and what you are building—a new family.