One question that’s been on my mind a lot lately is this: how long am I considered a “new mom“?
If I had to guess, I’d say you’re considered a new mom until your kid turns one, max. But even now, with a barely-five-month-old, I feel like I’m expected to be an old veteran. I mean, my kid breastfeeds like a champ and sleeps through the night. I’ve lost the baby weight and successfully transitioned back to working from home. Why am I complaining about feeling lost? I basically have the holy grail of babies!
I frequently hear comments like these:
“You look great!”
“You’re such a natural with him!”
“You’ve taken to motherhood so well!”
“You’re a great mom!”
And not one of those statements is ever meant unkindly. In fact, quite the opposite. The statement-maker wants me to feel good, to reassure me. I appreciate that so much. It is encouraging to hear that you’re doing a good job, and I don’t want to dismiss their encouragement.
But whatever people are seeing on the outside doesn’t match how I feel on the inside most days. And that makes me feel like the biggest mommy fraud on the planet. Sure, I’ve lost the weight around my middle, but what around the weight that’s settled in my heart? No amount of yoga and healthy, whole foods is going to fix that.
The constant second-guessing myself. Wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Is he eating enough? Sleeping enough? Is he happy? Does he feel safe, supported, loved? The anxiety of being solely responsible for the health and well-being of this tiny, vulnerable, beautiful little person is crippling some days.
Here’s what I think: I don’t think that being a “new mom” ever goes away.
True, eventually, my little squish will learn to sit up, to talk, to use the bathroom and probably fix my iPhone (why isn’t it vibrating??!). But I’m still a new mom at each new stage.