Dear New Mom,


You’re one of us now. And we’re going to tell you like it is. Because someone’s gotta let you know what this brave new world of yours is going to look like. Someone, that is, who isn’t your mother-in-law. You don’t need to hear her cackling outdated advice while you’re bleeding from your hoo-ha, no less, holding a wailing newborn, and you haven’t showered in three days.

Breathe. This will all be okay.

Sometimes you will not sleep.

This is because sometimes babies do not sleep. If you can manage the co-sleep, nurse on one side, roll over, nurse on the other thing, you’ll get the most sleep. Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone and neither is nursing. Breastfed babies nurse every two hours or so at night, and formula-fed babies every four hours. One survey found half of parents with kids under six months got just one to three hours of uninterrupted sleep. So enlist help.

Sometimes your baby will cry and you will not know why.

Your baby will be fed, changed, and rested. He doesn’t need to burp, and he’s too young to teethe, and he doesn’t have a fever, and what the blue hell is wrong with this kid? These are the times that try moms’ souls. Mostly, you’ll cry. Then you remember the thing that always makes him happy. When your baby screams inconsolably for no reason, put him in the damn tub, because most babies just need a warm soothing bath.

You will question your chosen feeding method.

If you’re feeding formula, you’ll feel guilty that you’re not giving baby “the best”. You’re afraid he’ll grow up with a lower IQ, or stunted growth, or smaller penis. You’ll pump and question the effort involved. You’ll quit pumping and feel like a selfish beast mother. Good news for you-according to parenting studies, “There is no cognitive difference in children later in life based on how they were fed.”

You will question your decision to procreate.

Yes, you will question your very choice to bring this precious screaming, pooping, flailing bundle into existence. You will fantasize about leaving the baby in the German Shepherd’s care, pointing the minivan to Vegas, and never looking back. This will all seem like a colossal mistake that ruined your social life, your body, your peaceful home, and your sanity.

Your tummy will be squishy.

Do not look at celebrities who bounce back right after birth. Do not listen to those dumbass internet commenters who say they wore their pre-baby skinny jeans home from the delivery room, because they are either lying or anorexic. Your tummy will not look the same. It will squish. It will fold, wrinkle, and have stretch marks. This is because you just grew a human being.

You will bleed from places that you should not bleed.

Real talk. Blood will seep from your hoo-ha for anywhere from one to six weeks, depending on how much rest you get. It will sometimes drip. It will sometimes gush. You will be forced to wear pads like an awkward sixth grader, because your OBs will make you swear on some medical bible not to shove anything up there, including tampons or penises. Except you may defy that rule and do it anyway.

By “do it” I mean, “Bang your husband while the baby sleeps in the bassinet, but preferably the crib in another room.” Some women decide that, based on their vaginal lubrication, they may be facing a life of celibacy. Take a deep breath and realize that both the horn-dog feelings and the no-sex-ever-again camp are totally and completely normal.

Weird acne

Suddenly, your skin may develop zits…on your ass. Or your shoulder. Or possibly, worst of all, your face. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but when it does, it’s due to changing hormones. Ramp up your skincare regime, and know it’ll go away, eventually.

Hair falling out

When you’re pregnant, your hair falls out at a slower rate than normal. When your baby pops out, suddenly all that hair goes, “Oh shit, I was supposed to fall out several months ago.” It looks more noticeable among moms with long hair. Allegedly, by baby’s first birthday, your hair should be back to normal. Or not. I had luxurious, glorious hair for the seven years I nursed. When baby dropped to once a day, my almost-waist length hair straggled up to my shoulders. Hormones are a bitch.

You will feel ugly at a time when you are utterly gorgeous.

You’re focused on the aforementioned squishy tummy and the lingering baby weight. Everyone else is looking at your shining eyes, your gorgeous face, and the radiant glow of new motherhood. If this sounds like bullshit, it’s not. Go feel like the goddess you are, slap on some makeup and a cute dress, and work it – with the cute baby in tow. Fashion tip: if you seriously can’t get over that belly, and I couldn’t, a baby wrap like Moby or Boba will obscure all the things. Because cute baby.

It might not be pretty.

It might be exhausting, and milky, and messy, and full of poop–but, eventually, you’ll get used to your new normal. You’ll realize you’re beautiful. You’ll feel confident about taking care of your baby, and you’ll ease your way into your new life as a mama. It won’t be easy. But you’ll love it.

** If you find yourself not loving it, feeling like hurting yourself or your child, dealing with obsessive thoughts of danger or harm to yourself or your loved ones, or considering suicide, please consult a counselor for postpartum depression and call 1800-PPD-MOMS or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.


Elizabeth is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in ADDitude Magazine (both digitally and in print), almost every parenting magazine out there, The Washington Post, and TIME Magazine. She is a staff writer with Scary Mommy, and in addition to parenting, writes about health, with concentrations on anxiety, depression, diabetes, and ADHD. She has three sons (small, smaller, and smallest), three dogs (large, larger, and largest), and one husband (disposition saintly). She also has an MFA, a working knowledge of every Hamilton lyric, and a raging case of ADHD. You can find her on Facebook, on Pinterest as manic pixie dream mama, or Instagram as manic pixie mama.

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