You have just birthed a tiny, new human that now relies on you for his or her every need. It is amazing, wonderful and scary. You find yourself, all of a sudden, filled with a new, overwhelming feeling of love and responsibility you never knew was possible.
Your first few weeks home with your wee one is an entirely new experience. You find yourself constantly wondering if you are doing things the "right" way, and feeling guilty if you think you might not be.
Below is a list of things it is OK to do as a new mom, without feeling guilty.
1. It's OK to need a long shower
(and to admit that you do).
Along with being a new mom comes the feeling of needing to be by your little one's side every second, responding to his or her every movement or every sound. Taking a moment alone to breathe is also a necessity, although you may feel too overwhelmed, or too guilty, to do so.
Let your husband have baby duty for half an hour while you take that time alone to regroup. Let him know when that time is necessary, and don't expect him to just assume you need a break. As much as we wish our husbands were pros at catching onto our subtle hints, most of them are not. He won't know what a difference a shower will make for you unless you tell him.
2. It's OK to accept help
Sometimes as a mother, you feel the need to be Superwoman, and to handle everything on your own. That is not an unworthy feeling, but you can quickly become overwhelmed when you try to accomplish this.
If your mom or mother-in-law offers to stay with the baby so you can get some rest, then let them. If your friends offer to bring you meals, let them. Women know what it is like to have babies, so don't worry about seeming too needy; they understand. And women aren't the only ones desiring to help. Your husband, though he is likely feeling a bit overwhelmed himself, will want to help in any way he can. Let him know how grateful you are that he is working hard to provide for your family. After all, he is likely running off of very little sleep as well.
3. It's OK to not wear makeup for days at a time
Unless a zombie apocalypse ever really was to happen, this may very well be the closest you are going to get to a barely functioning being. It's OK to let doing your hair and makeup take the backburner in these early days. You have far more important things to tend to, and no energy left to lift a tube of mascara anyway. Your husband realizes how beautiful you are, so no need to worry. Eventually, as your baby grows, you will discover yourself with a newfound talent of being able to get dressed and ready in record time – something likely only known to mothers and The Flash.
Remember feeling a bit mood-swingy during pregnancy? Well hold on, because that emotional rollercoaster is not over. You will eventually begin to feel more back to "normal" (hallelujah), but when it is 4 a.m. and you are sore and tired, wondering how your little one can wake up hungry 12 times in one night, your exhausted husband is snoring beside you, and for some reason you all of a sudden want a piece of pie, the tears will come. Let them. A good cry can be a helpful release. Once you are feeling better, take your sweet little bundle back into your arms, and refocus on the wonderful calling that you have been given.
5. It's OK to watch your baby sleep
You have constantly heard that, as a new mom, the only way to survive sleep deprivation is to "sleep when your baby sleeps." While you have first-handedly discovered this to be quite true, you still find yourself with the desire to stay awake just to stare at your baby practically every time he or she drifts off. After all, you did create this human, and spent the last nine months (or, let's be honest, the last 20+ years) wondering what he or she would look like. And now you know. You have the opportunity to take in every detail, from the sweet, tiny nose to the perfect little toes. So go ahead and stare; they aren't little nearly long enough.
In the journey as a new mother, it may seem as though the difficulties accompanying these early days will never become any easier. All too soon, however, you will realize that the difficulties were always outweighed by the blessings, and you will find yourself missing these early days, difficulties included. Soak up this time, new mom; you will never get these moments with your little one back.