The first few weeks of motherhood are hard. They may be some of the hardest weeks of your life. Through sleep deprivation and complete disregard of our own needs, we are expected to keep a tiny human alive and thriving. They said it would be joyous and magical, they lightly mentioned hard and exhausting, I heard nothing about it being scary. There was talk of hormone adjustments and lack of sleep--the reminder to sleep when baby sleeps--but no one spoke about the insomnia that may come. No one told me I'd be running on adrenaline, unable to force myself in to a nap. Even when she slept at night, I woke up thinking she might too, making sure she was still breathing.
When a mother gives birth, there is a sudden shift to being completely selfless. Nothing is about you anymore, it is all about the baby. When we make the shift to selfless, we often forget or don't acknowledge that recognizing our own needs is not a form of selfishness. The recognition of our own needs helps us to better recognize and acknowledge the need of the baby. While we tend to the baby, nurturing him or her--giving them love, food, comfort, and touch--we often forget to nurture ourselves. When our own needs aren't met, it makes it harder to tend to the needs of the baby. We may become easily frustrated and impatient with the baby, in turn making us frustrated with the way we are mothering.