Life as a New Mom

I still can’t believe it’s already been two months since Fletcher was born! My experience with being a new mom has been such a rewarding one and I wanted to do a little recap on here about what it has been like so far.

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Thoughts on Being a Mom
During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I started to feel a little anxious about the whole labor experience (mainly due to the plan changing so many times with scheduling a c-section, then canceling that and scheduling an induction, then having him come on his own) but other than that, I felt fairly confident about everything else. I’ve been around babies throughout my life — babysitting, growing up in a neighborhood with tons of kids, volunteering in the church nursery, etc. and felt pretty good about taking care of one of my own. Plus, I had no doubts that my intuition would serve as a good backup in any areas that I wasn’t sure about.

Physical Recovery
Delivery was really quick so I felt like it was over just as soon as it had started. I was a little sore during our time in the hospital from the stitches, but other than that, I felt SO good. Despite being really sleep deprived the first week, I felt so much more like myself than I had all throughout pregnancy so that mindset shift was a game changer for me. We stayed in the hospital for two nights and when we arrived home, I felt well enough to do things like make meals, shower, stay on top of laundry, etc. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but this was key for me — I’m not one that likes limitations, so feeling like I could still do things like this in addition to taking care of Fletcher made me feel confident and at ease.

I had some bleeding that ceased around 3.5 weeks and experienced night sweats for the first two weeks — I would wake up DRENCHED but I’ve heard that that is a sign that the water retention from pregnancy / IV’s / delivery leaving your body. Other than these two experiences, I didn’t really notice anything else symptom-wise.

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Mental Recovery
I have been loving this new role as a mom so, so much! Being Fletcher’s mom has brought me so much joy — this probably sounds funny if you’re not a parent but even bringing him with me to run errands makes me so happy! I love this sleepy, snuggly baby stage but also look forward to all that we can do as he continues to grow.

I have been feeling so good these past couple months (don’t get me wrong, there have been a few hard days thrown in there as well) and I highly attribute that to a few things:

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1. Making time for myself
Having Andy watch Fletcher while I take a hot bath, paint my nails, take a nap (a lot of these are from 8-10pm but it helps so much), hitting the gym, and continuing hobbies such as blogging and reading. 

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2. Taking care of my body 
Eating healthy, working out, and prioritizing sleep have been major contributors to why I felt so good even in those first couple weeks post-delivery. I started walking the week after he was born and just twenty minutes on the treadmill in the evening helped my mind so much! I’ve also been intentional about what I’m choosing when it comes to fueling my body. Lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, fats, and proteins. I’m starting to transition back to my vegetarian ways now that I’m not pregnant anymore and I feel like this is helping as well — towards the end of pregnancy I felt like I was forcing myself to eat meat just to keep my protein levels up. 

I will also say that the following things also really helped me to feel like myself:

  • Showering every morning

  • Shaving my legs during each shower

  • Painting my nails each week

  • Scheduling haircuts, pedicures, chiro appointments, etc.

  • Getting ready (hair, makeup, real clothes) every day

  • Making the bed each morning

  • Opening all of the curtains so the house is filled with natural light

  • Playing music throughout the house (we love bouncing our playlists through the TVs in our house)

  • Doing something active OR taking a nap every day

  • Staying hydrated and eating every few hours (let’s be honest — more like every 120 minutes) because breastfeeding hunger + thirst is for real

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3. Getting out of the house
I will say that cabin fever is the thing that I’ve struggled with most during this maternity leave. It doesn’t help that it has been absolutely frigid outside and this has been one of our coldest and snowiest winters ever. Luckily, I still have a month of maternity leave left and the extended forecast is looking pretty promising with sunshine and highs in the upper 40s and low 50s next week. On days when it’s been gray and damp, even just bundling up and hitting the Starbucks drive-through or returning / picking up books at the library has helped so much since it means we get out of the house.

On this same note, spending time with friends has helped tremendously! Something that isn’t really talked about much is how maternity leave can feel lonely — especially if you’re an extrovert like me! My Mom’s Life group, lunch / dinner with friends, etc. has really helped me feel like myself!

Parenting
Andy and I have been working together as a team to make decisions for Fletcher and our family. We’ve both never done this before and some of the decisions that we have had to make right off the bat have been hard because we would go back and forth weighing our options on different things. We’ve learned that our intuition is pretty strong and have been trusting that when we’re faced with something new — so far, it is working really well.

It’s also been fun to be able to decide how we want to raise Fletcher — abiding by routines, establishing traditions, and setting boundaries. We both grew up with different family dynamics, so it’s brought up a lot of good conversations about what we want to prioritize and avoid as parents.

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Routines
For the first two weeks, we were kind of just in survival mode — we were setting alarms every 2-3 hours throughout the night to feed him since he was so tiny at birth and then dropped some weight in the first few days. Once we switched to only getting up once per night, our days got a little easier. Andy was home for the first week and that really helped — we would trade off so the other person could nap or shower and that really made a difference.

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Once Andy went back to work, I started our own little routine for Fletcher and I. We typically follow a sleep, change diaper, eat, play, cycle all day and he seems to really thrive on this schedule. It has also helped to move around the house a bit — the first month or so we camped out in the master bedroom most days since that was just easier with feeding, sleeping, etc. However, the past few weeks we’ve been spending time in other rooms such as reading books in Fletcher’s nursery, taking naps in his swing in the living room, working in the office instead of on my laptop on the couch / bed, and doing tummy time in the loft. Moving from room to room definitely helps to switch things up a bit not just for me, but also for him! He seems to enjoy the change of scenery.

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Also, baby-wearing is something I never thought I’d really get into, but it has been a lifesaver for getting things done around the house! Fletcher loves being cuddled close to me and usually takes a solid nap whenever I put him in the wrap. It’s so nice because it allows me to easily vacuum, make lunch, or even walk on the treadmill. My sister has been SO generous in sharing a ton of her baby gear with us and this wrap was one of the items!

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Fitness / Nutrition / Body
I was pleasantly surprised to see how my body has adjusted post-pregnancy. My belly shrunk down really quickly — probably within the first three weeks, and it was crazy to see myself drop 20 pounds in the first week alone (newsflash — that weight was Fletcher, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and SO much water retention). I still have a little ways to go to get back to my usual self, but I’m confident that I will get there since I’m eating my normal diet and staying active.

I’ve also been surprised to find how much grace I’ve had for myself during this transition period. It also still blows my mind that my body grew and sustained him and now provides his nutrition for him effortlessly.

I’ve been back to the gym for the past few weeks and before that I was running and walking on our treadmill at home. In terms of nutrition, I eat my regular diet which consists of lots of fresh fruits and veggies, fats such as avocado, nuts, peanut / almond butter, coconut oil, etc. and proteins such as eggs, protein powder, greek yogurt, etc.

Things that Surprised Me
I was surprised to realize how hard it is for me to accept help from others, even during a time of need. One of our neighbors gave us a ton of preemie and newborn baby boy clothes and although I was really excited for these, I also felt a little weird about accepting them since they literally gave them to us. The same goes for people that have dropped off meals — we are so thankful for them, but I always feel so odd accepting help, I don’t know why!

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Another thing that has surprised me is just how seamlessly Fletcher has fit into our lives. Sure, there’s a lot more tasks to do each day and we’re on a feeding schedule, but he’s so cheery and laid back — making it easy to go about our usual schedules with the fun addition of a little boy joining us!

If you’re a mom, what was the adjustment period like for you?
What’s one of your favorite things about being a parent?