In 2018 my husband and I welcomed our first child, Lucia. I have worked with families and children for over 10 years in professional settings, though having a child of my own has definitely put a new spin on things. I believe the education provided throughout my Bachelors degree, Masters degree and years of working with families would qualify as the gold standard for “formal experience.” This educational path has equipped me for many “to be expected” moments and has expanded my self awareness so I could proceed consciously as a parent. Though, life hand and hand with a little one has also brought some nuanced moments that I only became educated on once I was “in the game.”
New moms get forgotten.
They do. Once the new baby gooey sprinkles and joy wear off for the community, people tend to forget about mama and the new life she is adjusting to. It is sad to write and truly even more depressing to experience, but new moms often get left behind. We don’t live in villages anymore where people are present and ready to support. We have to create support networks and ask for help, which is terribly difficult. Furthermore, since we now “catch up with friends” on social media, new moms are often left feeling lonely and under supported…watching everyones life go by via Instagram and Facebook. New moms need help. A lot of it! Eventually, you do get into the swing of things, find your people and get by…but the beginning can be awfully tough.
The relationship with your partner will likely suffer for awhile.
Couple life is one thing. Couple life with kids is a whole different ball game. This is where your role not only as a partner matters, but now you have to learn a whole new role as a parent. Life no longer revolves around you two nor is it met with the previous ease that you may have once taken for granted, like last minute date plans. Moreover, new parents are sleep deprived. It is hard for anyone to be their best self while running off of no sleep for 1 day, but as a parent this likely lasts for (at least) months on end. Staying connected with your partner can be difficult because you now have someone else that demands your attention 24/7. This inevitably can result in feeling a lack of love, which can lead to some hurtful arguments, raw experiences and painful ways of interacting. Until you get into the flow of your new roles and find your secure connection once again, it can be a tough battle to stay connected when you first welcome a child.
The joy you experience looking at your child is unprecedented.
Honestly, before I had my daughter I thought I really loved my dog. I looked at him like, “How could I ever love anything more than you?!” This is not a joke! I adored our pup. Needless to say, the feelings I had for our dog are the equivalent to chopped liver compared to the joy and love I hold for our daughter. The amount of pure elation, sweetness and love I have felt could never be expressed in words. We always hear about a mother’s love…but to feel it in your heart and bones is such an incredible gift.
I am proud to say I wrote this during a surprise extra 30 minutes during nap time today…and as a mom of a busy toddler, I have found that the happiness that can come from an extra long nap is priceless.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend everyone!
-Written by Emily De La Torre, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA