“Sharing my experiences as a new mom, I am sure that more than one will feel identified.” Nancy Aguilar describes herself on Mama Primeriza, a Facebook fan page with almost 130 thousand followers where she shares parenting tips and anecdotes of the most beautiful adventure of life: motherhood.
“I opened the page in 2020 because I had my emotions running high when my daughter was born. I started writing about how I felt and noticed that many people responded. I didn’t think it would be so successful,” Nancy tells us.
Those experiences led her to connect with thousands of women who felt identified. “More moms were going through the same thing I was going through.”
Two years after publishing her first post, Nancy tells us the top tips she would give to other new moms, including herself, to understand what is going on when having her first baby. This is what she replied to us. They are all very useful; we are sure they will work for you.
1. Reality surpasses everything you imagined
It is good to be informed and prepared before your baby’s arrival, but nothing compares to having him already in your arms. You can read thousands of books or even have some experience with nephews and children of friends, but do not expect everything to be as you were told or as the book said.
“Honestly, I did not imagine that motherhood would be like this. I had already supported my sister with her two girls, and I thought I knew what it was like to have a baby because I helped her bathe them, change them, take them to school… I thought I was ready, but nothing prepares you to have a baby when your body is recovering. It is a very strong physical and emotional wear. If you add that my baby was born during a pandemic, I stopped working and dealt with postpartum depression, which I did not expect.
2. Your child is your teacher
When you have a child, you face a new world, and you have to learn little by little about it. You evolve as a person and mother because your baby is your best teacher.
“Emma has taught me that you have to evolve and grow to face what comes at each stage of your baby. Two years ago, I learned the whole topic of breastfeeding, diapers, and bathing the baby; today, I face emotional intelligence. I have realized that there are many things that I have to regulate to pass on to my daughter. Motherhood is growth.
3. Accept your new role
Motherhood is a radical life change that confronts you:
“At first, it is a shock. Seeing that you are no longer the woman you were before getting pregnant but a new woman with other responsibilities is very hard. It was tough for me, but now that I understand my role as a mom, it’s a blessing. I know that I have to grow up together with my daughter.
4. One day at a time
A bad day doesn’t define you as a mom.
“Every day is different and full of learning, so I would tell you to think about one day at a time. Do not punish yourself or get overwhelmed because maybe today was not good; tomorrow will be a new day, and you will think about things better. Calm down; this is motherhood; some days are excellent, and others not so much. We should not label ourselves or punish ourselves by saying that we are the worst mothers just because we had a bad day.
5. Be patient
Go at your own pace, be patient with yourself, your body, and your baby. Each thing requires its time and a period of learning.
“Breastfeeding, for example, is an art. You learn, your baby learns, and there is a very nice bond. But before that connection happens, it isn’t easy to get used to. Some are successful, and it doesn’t hurt, but I wasn’t one of them, the truth is I struggled a lot, but I loved it when I managed it well. Don’t despair, be patient with yourself and your baby.”
6. Do not compare yourself
“I would also tell you not to compare your motherhood to someone else’s because they are all different. There is no better or worse. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. As I almost always put in the texts I write, I would tell you: you are doing well”.
7. Sometimes, you feel overwhelmed
“For me, the first few weeks were very overwhelming; I felt lost. The page helped me get off my chest, and many moms told me they felt that way. That’s when I realized it wasn’t me; we ALL went through ups and downs. We have meltdowns. Motherhood is a flurry of emotions, but when you go down, there are two options: either you go further down, or is it a watershed for you to wake up and get ahead. There are days when I still feel overwhelmed, and that happens to all of us.”
8. You can’t control everything
“When activities and tasks come together when the day doesn’t give you up or don’t do what we had planned, you feel frustrated. Emma got to teach me that I can’t control everything. I used to have everything planned, and it turned out impossible. When you become a mother, you face the fact that there are things that get out of your hands, and you cannot control some situations, people, or emotions.
9. If you need help, look for it
Another piece of advice I would give you is that if you need help, look for it and accept it because we tend to fall for the I can do everything. It happened to me, and it’s not true. Even if you say, “It’s just a baby, and I can do it,” it is not true. It’s ok to accept help”.
10. Trust your body
“Be confident in your body and your instincts. Even if you don’t know how to do it well, you can”.
11. Be selective with the information
“Social networks have good and bad things, but it depends on what you decide to pay attention to. We have to be selective; we have the power to choose what to follow. Take what works for you and your family, and throw the rest away.”
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
Spanish version: Here