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To the New Mother Expecting Her First Child

Nursery and Pregnant mom

Before you have your first baby, motherhood can be a mystery. Those who have never parented a baby before may not truly understand what to expect, yet it can be comforting to hear what experienced parents have to say. We asked some mothers we know to share some of their tips and thoughts on motherhood for our readers, especially those readers who may be expecting their first child. Some of these women just had their first baby a few months ago, and some of them had their first child over a generation ago. Enjoy these kernels of wisdom from moms who have been there!

If you could go back and tell your younger, pregnant, expecting-your-first-child self one thing about motherhood, what would it be?

“It’s a lot harder than you can imagine, but just relax and trust yourself.” –Julie, age 34, mother of two

“That it will be the most rewarding and at times, the most challenging thing you’ll ever do in your life. And, to enjoy each and every moment, because they grow up fast! One thing I wish I would have done was write down some of the especially cute things they did and said. You think you’ll always remember, but trust me, you forget as the weeks, months, years go on. Also, to not compare your children’s progress with other kids. They are all unique and will get to those milestones in their own time. I can’t imagine my life without mine!” –Jill, age 56, mother of two

“I’d probably say to not second-guess my instincts and not think twice about any advice I didn’t like. This baby is mine and I am smart enough and kind enough and a good enough mom to raise a good human being. And to be careful about not expecting too much of my young children; to let them be kids in all their annoying glory.” –Leah, age 35, mother of six

“Don’t worry too much about the baby days and don’t be afraid to leave the house with your baby. If baby cries, poops, or needs to eat that is ok, you can handle it and everyone will be totally fine.” –Kari, age 34, mother of three

“The best advice I ever received was from our exasperated pediatrician (after our sixth call one day) who said ‘ just take your baby home and love her’. Which we did, do and will–always.” –Patricia, age 90, mother of two, grandmother of six, great-grandmother of five

“Allow yourself to be excited. Fearing the unknown is such a waste of this joy!” –Brooke, age 29, mother of two

“My one advice would be to have flexibility when things do not go your way. You may not meet your breastfeeding goal, your child might not be in the optimal growth percentile, your little one may not meet their milestones at the same rate as another child, your child may or may not need more attention than a friend’s child, or simply you experience a blowout in the middle of Target and it’s the one time you forgot to restock the diaper bag with wipes. Don’t sweat the small stuff so smile, shake it off, and know that with lots of love and baby snuggles everything will be just fine!”  –Emily, age 28, mother of two

“The baby won’t be who you expect. He/she will be someone much, much, much more. No matter what she/he looks like (for real) you will see a perfect baby–the most beautiful one you ever laid eyes on.” –Joyce, age 71, mother of seven, grandmother of twenty

“I would tell her it’s ok to be afraid. That fear is going to be a part of it regardless of how much inner work you do throughout pregnancy. This is an entirely new experience: labor, childbirth, motherhood. It’s only natural that fear will have a place at the table. Whether or not fear has a loud voice in all of it will depend so much on your support. Surround yourself in this transition with people you trust, people that are generous and intuitive and present. These people will be your anchor when everything changes.” –Jayme, age 32, mother of one

“I would first tell myself that the first three months are going to be shockingly life-changing…and HARD. But each day really does get a little better, a little easier, and you will feel a little bit more “together”. At least until the next one comes. Also, subsequent children really are easier! I would also tell myself to get off the internet. Seriously, give up Facebook and even Google, at least for a few years. Comparing yourself to other moms is just not healthy, and the internet is the worst place for it all. Hold on to your best mama friends and family members who will share their mothering struggles so that you know you’re not alone when you’re not ‘doing it all.'” –Sara, age 33, mother of six

“Pick one or two people that you trust and that you admire as mothers and get your advice from them. I picked my pediatrician, my mom, and my best friend. Let the other advice you get roll off your back. Nobody knows your baby better than you do, so relax and do what works for your family.” –Kay, age 61, mother of two, grandmother of ten

“I would say that I would tell myself to cherish the moments that may feel routine and be intentional about how you spend time with the little ones.” –Catherine, age 34, mother of two

“Sleep while you can!!” –Megan, age 30, mother of one

Learn to love patience. Impatience will be your biggest enemy. Be patient with yourself, your husband, your children, your family, your situations. Be humble and realize you have a lot to understand yet, and you always will. But isn’t that exciting?! Love these early quiet days. Rejoice in the simple beauty of what you have been given. Get rid of distractions! Train yourself to love quiet, routine, prayer. Meditate for guidance. The less you look to the world, the happier you will be. Whenever you are really unhappy or distracted it is because you’re thinking too much about yourself or worldly things. Motherhood will slowly reveal to you how you often want the wrong things. Be patient, be humble. You [and your husband] can face every challenge together, and will love and respect each other more and more.” –Sarah, age 30, mother of three

“Google less, giggle more. Especially when it comes to turning to the ‘wisdom’ of the internet for ‘advice’.  Also, mother is just one facet of my identity, albeit a rewarding and boundless one.” –Kelly, age 31, mother of two

“I would tell myself not to worry about the details and all the little accessories that everyone tells you you need. Your newborn baby just needs you! You have a few weeks to figure out what your baby prefers as they grow. And seek professional help with breastfeeding; it’s hard!” –Kathy, age 31, mother of three

“Don’t sweat the small stuff like dishes and laundry. Ask for help when needed. Really do it! People want to help you. Stay in bed and spend time with your baby bonding. You only get that time once and it’s so very precious. Take as much time off of work as you can. I only took 6 weeks off with our first baby because that’s all we could afford as my leave wasn’t paid. It wasn’t enough. It’s ok not to be happy about having your new baby. It’s a lot of changes at once. You’re becoming a mom and that’s a new role. Don’t expect that it will be easy and always joyful. Remember your baby will eventually sleep. I promise. Finally, be kind to yourself. You’re doing an amazing job.” –Sarah, age 37, mother of four


Did you find these insights helpful? For a great resource to help you plan your best postpartum time, check out our free Postpartum Plan Workbook HERE!

  • Undoubtedly, becoming a new mother is a challenging journey. It entails a completely new set of obligations, changes, and emotional ups and downs. There is a lot to learn and adjust to during this transitional time, from maintaining one’s own physical and mental well-being to attending to the baby’s demands. However, it also instills a sense of direction and a fresh appreciation for life. It can lead to personal growth, increased empathy, and a stronger connection with others who are on the same journey.

    The bond between a mother and her child is unparalleled, and the joy of watching a child grow and develop can be incredibly rewarding. It’s a journey filled with moments of love, happiness, and pride, which can make all the hardships worthwhile.

    Bethany Learn
    Founder of Fit2B Studio, LLC, Instagram, and Facebook

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