4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence (As a First-Time Mom)
After struggling with infertility for over five years, we welcomed a “miracle” baby into the world last August. All my hopes and dreams to become a mother were finally coming true.
During the five-year wait, I read almost every parenting book available. I said to myself, “every month that goes by without becoming pregnant is just an extra month I get to learn about parenting so I can be even more prepared when the time comes.” The only missing ingredient in my quest to become a mom was a tiny human, I thought.
I was wrong.
I did not have an easy pregnancy. I was followed by a high-risk specialist for a rare condition affecting my placenta. I wasn’t able to make a “normal” placenta. This was but one of the many wrinkles along the way, which made me question whether I was even fit to be a mom in the first place. Maybe the five year wait was really a sign I should have given up.
Then came the actual delivery which, like most first-time moms would say, was nothing like I expected. I had to be induced, I failed to progress, and finally, ended up with a risky C-section, after being in labour for what felt like a decade. By the time Sam was born, I was so febrile that I couldn’t move my arms to hold him.
Back when I toured the hospital while pregnant, the nurse told us, “babies sleep for the first 24 hours after birth to allow the mother to rest after labour.” Well, Sam stared at me all night and didn’t really sleep or blink until he was six months old. He was overtired from the day he was born. It took up to three hours of bouncing him on a yoga ball while shushing and nursing him to help him fall asleep. I lost all my pregnancy weight in less than a month. Who needs a gym membership when you spend all day doing baby-weighted squats?
Thoughts of being unfit for the job would creep in now and then. I sometimes thought I just wasn’t meant to be a mom, but most of the time, I took this as a new life challenge. I could do this! It wasn’t easy, but no one ever said it would be.
There is no secret recipe to care for a baby, but if there were, one of the ingredients would be confidence. Luckily, self-confidence is just a mindset that can be practiced and mastered. Here are some ways that helped boost my confidence as a first-time mom:
1. Be active with your baby
My son disliked the stroller for the first six months of his life, and he only likes it now because I bribe him with (healthy) treats. There are other ways to be active with your baby, however, whether it is going out for a walk in the carrier or doing circle time at the local library.
2. Take initiative
When I felt the need to socialize and connect with other moms it was in the middle of winter and there were no playgroups within a comfortable walking distance. I dreaded going out too far, so I started a playgroup with another mom in my building. We put up a poster in the mailroom and recruited amazing moms to join us for weekly play dates. The group was not about comparing milestones or complaining about sleep. It was focused on engaging with our babies and enjoying our time together.
3. Practice positive social media
Social media can be a spiral of negativity and self-doubt, but it can also be a wonderful tool to connect with, and learn from, other moms. I stopped obsessing over the plethora of parenting articles posted in the dozen Facebook groups I joined (but you can finish reading this one first!). Limit your time on social media and put it to good use. Support, encourage, and connect with other moms in a positive way.
4. Be loving, patient, and consistent
Like any new role, it takes practice to become more comfortable. The best words of wisdom I received from another first-time mom: “It gets better and once you hear the first giggles, the self-doubt will be in the distant past.” While we had a rough start, my son is a cuddly, silly, happy little guy. It does get better.