The Mommy Diaries is a monthly series in which Caribbean moms open up about their personal experiences and unique journeys to support, inform and inspire other moms.
I don’t believe I truly enjoyed motherhood until months after giving birth. For me, postpartum was (mostly) a meld of emotions and responsibilities which saw me neglecting myself and my wellbeing.
Don’t get me wrong, I cared for the little human. And seeing her develop each day warmed my heart.
But I never experienced the overwhelming joy you see in the movies after a woman has a baby… not immediately at least.
Relief and fear
To be honest, now that I think back, my immediate emotions after giving birth were relief and fear.
I was glad it went well, and that pregnancy was over, but was also worried about how to be a mom.
For some reason I thought it all came naturally - you become a mom, you unconditionally love this little human, and you live happily ever after.
The fourth trimester
But this is just the stories told in movies. Postpartum is an uphill battle between doing your best to care for your little human, poorly working to maintain your mental health, missing your prenatal body, and coming to terms with the new you.
It was hard, and it took a toll on my confidence and overall mental wellness.
But as I wade through this hurdle-filled journey called motherhood, I’ve come to realise that things get better with time.
The new you
I am not in the same mental space I was two months postpartum, neither am I the same woman I was at the beginning of this journey.
Below are some reminders I used to motivate me through the early postpartum period:
- Take note of things going right - keep a gratitude diary if possible
- Go for a walk with or without the baby - the fresh air will do you some good
- Make an effort to see other people - don’t isolate yourself
- Don’t be hard on yourself - your body just did something amazing
- Know that you may be your worst critic
- Even if you don’t return to your pre-pregnancy state, you are beautiful just the same
- Wear what makes you comfortable
- Embrace the new you - battle scars and all
- Be deliberate and schedule your self-care
- Give yourself grace - you are still the amazing human you once were.
Boosting your confidence postpartum
It gets better with time but boy when you’re going through it, it feels final.
Understanding that your body is experiencing a series of physiological changes which are playing a role in how you feel goes a long way in helping you to boost your confidence postpartum.
Seeing my daughter develop and become the firecracker she now is also played a part in helping to boost my confidence. So take those wins and let them inform your belief that you are doing a great job as a parent.
You will have periods of negative thoughts but brush them aside and focus on the little human who has brought so much joy to your life.