Before having a baby, I would always hear parents talk about how much they have changed since becoming a parent. And to be honest, part of me thought they were over exaggerating. I mean, how much of an effect could such a tiny person really have on someone? No one ever really went into detail on exactly how things had changed, so I pretty much just brushed those words aside.
Looking back on that mindset, I have to laugh at myself. I had no idea what I was in for! Having a baby has not only changed my lifestyle and given me a much greater responsibility than before; it has completely shifted my mindset in many ways. The following are the five major postpartum mindset changes you can expect to experience when you become a new mom.
1. The Baby is Always at the Back of your Mind
And I mean – always. When you’re out getting your hair done – if you manage to find the time. During your “peaceful” shower time – is the baby crying or is that in your head? When you get a cup of coffee with a friend – can I show her this picture of my baby or have I already talked about her too much? There is always a part of you that is thinking about your baby and how he or she is doing.
You’re constantly fight the urge to text the babysitter and ask for all the details: how long ago did she eat? Has she gone down for a nap? Did she poop yet? You have to know that your baby is doing okay in order to concentrate on anything at all, and it can make you go a little crazy, but once you’ve taken on the role of Mom, there’s no going back; your postpartum mindset is here to stay!
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2. You Have More Motivation to be Your Best Self
Knowing that your baby looks up to you and learns from your example causes you to rethink a lot of habits that were mindless before. You don’t want to sit and watch TV for too long, because then your baby might think the TV is more interesting than real life. You leave certain words out of your vocabulary because you just know they would repeat those words for the first time out in public. The way you talk about yourself changes, because you want your baby to grow up with a good example of confidence and self-love.
Personally, I could go on and on about how having a baby has made me a better person, and I did over on my blog. You can read that here. But basically, having a baby suddenly makes you hyper-aware of your own actions and want to better yourself for reasons you didn’t have before. Your motivation sky-rockets, and things you had been putting off suddenly become priority. For me, this was school. I had been putting off going to college for years until I found out I was pregnant. A few months later, I was enrolled in online school and I’m getting better grades than I ever have before! Being the role model for such an impressionable little person pushes you to better yourself like nothing else can.
3. You Would Rather Stay Home with Baby than Stay Out Late
Of course, sometimes a mama needs a night off. But for the most part, when those friends that don’t have kids yet are pressuring you to go out with them, it just doesn’t sound as appealing as it did before. You know you would miss out on your baby’s night routine: reading books, bath time, cuddles before bed. Not to mention, you’re exhausted and know you’ll be waking up early to do it all over again.
And even when you do decide to go out with your friends one night, you have to force yourself not to look at pictures of your baby or tell your friends about how you think she’s going to start walking soon. Not to mention if you’re breastfeeding, you can’t be away from your baby or the breast pump too long before you’re in serious trouble (breastfeeding mamas know what I mean!).
Don’t forget that even though going out might not sound nearly as appealing as it did before, it can go a long way for your mental health just to get a short break from being a mama. As attached as you are to your baby, don’t neglect the fact that you are still your own person!
4. Babies Aren’t as Annoying as They Used to be!
Remember when you would hear a baby cry out in public and you thought, “there’s no way I could have kids and listen to that all the time”? Well, once you have a baby yourself, that sound becomes less annoying and instead activates your mom instincts. What does the baby need? Why is he upset? How can we make him stop crying, not because it’s annoying, but because we don’t want the baby to be in distress?
You sympathize with the baby’s mama, because you’ve been there, and you know how fast her heart is beating and how she feels all those dirty looks being sent her way. Once you become a mom, you feel connected with every other mom. You understand the struggle of raising a little person. You wouldn’t send a dirty look to a mom with a crying baby because you know that all babies cry, and there’s really no controlling where or when it happens. So instead, you do what you can to help out, even if that’s just a sympathetic smile or looking the other way.
5. You feel a new sense of empowerment
Superman ain’t nothin’ compared to Supermom. After enduring those nine months of pregnancy and then literally pushing a human out of you, you feel like there is no mountain too high for you to climb, especially if it’s for your baby (if, for some random reason, that situation arose). Mama bear truly comes out once that baby is in your arms, and she never goes away.
When your baby looks up at you, you know in your heart that there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to protect her and make her happy. Whereas before when parents would say “it’s a love you’ve never felt before,” it would go in one ear and out the other, now you are going around telling people the same. Nothing compares to being a mom and nothing is more empowering. Even on the days where you wonder what you signed yourself up for. You would never go back.
How has your postpartum mindset changed your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.