Being a mom is supposed to come naturally, right? Maybe, but for me, the first couple of weeks as a new mom had me feeling like a freshman on the first day of high school. I felt lost, awkward and terrified that this tiny person depended solely on me for her survival. Wouldn’t that terrify any new mom?
I remember my first outing with my daughter, Olivia. She had her first pediatrician appointment about a week after she was born, and it was the first time I had left the house with her. Saying that I was a nervous wreck is an understatement. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so apprehensive.
To help calm my “first-day jitters,” I gave myself three hours to prepare. A simple 15-minute drive had now become a production of epic proportions. I had to prepare the baby bag, dress myself and dress an infant. This was a huge task. I’ve always been a bit anxious, but on this occasion, leaving the house was about to give me a major meltdown.
Then I started the dreaded “What If” game. What if I drop her going down the stairs? What if I forget something? What if we get into a car accident? All these thoughts flooded my mind and made me doubt myself as a mother. This must be normal, I thought to myself. It has to get easier. But all I could do was worry.
Pulling up to the doctor’s office in one piece was a relief and also felt like a huge accomplishment. Arriving to the doctor unscathed: check!
But just as I celebrated our milestone, something happened that made me doubt myself again. As I sat in the waiting room and prayed that my little one wouldn’t start crying, I noticed that I was sitting next to an obviously well-controlled Super Mom. I wondered if I could ever be like her, and felt like such an amateur sitting next to her.
As I fantasized about ever having my own Super Mom qualities, I realized she was once in my shoes — a clueless new mom who slowly learned how to care for a baby and finally got it together. Just like everything else in life, I’m sure parenting takes practice. Besides, I must be doing something right. Olivia and I made it through her first doctor’s appointment and more importantly, she got a clean bill of health.
When I look back at those first few weeks as a new mom, I feel like a completely different person. Nowadays, it doesn’t take so much of a production to get out of the house. I know what to pack, try to prepare as much as I can the night before, and can manage to get both me and my daughter ready and out of the house in a decent amount of time. I don’t get as flustered as I did in the beginning. Thankfully, Olivia and I have celebrated plenty of milestones together, no matter how small, because not only is she learning and developing, but I am, too. And with each milestone we achieve, comes a boost of motherly confidence.
Angelica Sereda is a working mother and freelance writer covering career and parenting issues. She is the proud mom of a happy little baby girl.
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