My husband, Todd, and I found out we were expecting our first baby (a girl!) in August 2022. We were so excited to bring a little girl into the world and spent the next 9 months researching what to expect, tips for baby sleep and eating, taking birthing classes, finding the “perfect” car seat, and decorating the nursery. Overall, I had a pretty smooth pregnancy and felt really good mentally as well (despite a history of anxiety). I had the normal nerves, but mainly really excited.

Fast forward to August and our little girl, Allie, entered the world! She was the most perfect baby in my eyes (of course) and we couldn’t believe she was ours. During our hospital stay, I still felt pretty good. We were exhausted, but it almost felt like you’re in a state of adrenaline. I struggled a little with breastfeeding, but figured that would come with time and didn’t stress too much. We were definitely newbies trying to figure everything out, and we probably made the nurses laugh when we’d use the call button just to have them help us swaddle her.

Once we got home, I felt like it really sunk in that we had a baby and our lives were forever changed. And that’s also when the “baby blues” set in for me. I very quickly had so many feelings and questions: How was I ever going to figure out how to be a mom? Would I ever sleep again? Were we doing anything right? Was I even ready for this?

Breastfeeding was very challenging for me and brought a lot of anxious thoughts; I worried constantly if she was getting enough to eat and obsessively tracked how long she fed. It felt like a huge mind game all while trying to also heal my body.

On top of all of these questions and feelings, I felt an immense amount of guilt that I was feeling this way especially when I looked at my innocent, beautiful baby that needed me. Todd was so supportive and involved, but I couldn’t help feeling isolated by my own feelings. Did other mothers feel this way? Am I bad mom for feeling this way? Will I always feel like this? Everyone on social media made it seem like the newborn stage was bliss and easy. And I didn’t feel that way at all. I cried every day of those first couple weeks and when I went to my first postpartum OB appointment, I cried to my OB. I felt really low, but she hugged me saying it would be ok and it was normal I was feeling like this. I’m so grateful for the support of my OB, Todd, and my family and friends who would let me cry and reassured me that it’s ok (and most importantly that my feelings were 100% normal and valid).

Once those first few weeks passed and we got into a groove, had more of a schedule, and I felt a bit more comfortable, I started feeling better mentally each day. I also made a point to do things that I knew would help me including time for myself, asking for help, and adding in formula. Looking back, I give myself grace for all of those feelings – it’s a huge life change and you can love your baby more than anything, and it can still be hard. Those things that can both exist together at the same time. For any new moms, hang in there! It gets better 🙂