Carrie’s note: It was such a pleasure interviewing Linda Szmulewitz for the podcast – she has such wonderful wisdom to share with the new moms that she coaches in her Chicago New Moms Group. Prior to hitting record, we had a brief chat about what we wanted to discuss on the podcast and she came back with this wonderful list, that she compiled by talking with the moms in her program. There is such great insight here, even for seasoned moms. Be sure to share it with any expecting moms you know!
All of the things that moms never thought about before they had their first child and then realize very quickly after having a baby that things are not as they expected:
- That caring for a newborn is all consuming, even if you have experience with children or even babies, the experience is completely different when it is your child. It is hard to imagine how changing, feeding and getting your baby to sleep can take up an entire day and make it impossible to do simple things like showering, going to the bathroom or eating a small meal.
2. Even though they sleep a lot (sometimes) they don’t sleep in nice long stretches which mean that we are more exhausted then one ever thought possible.
3. That breastfeeding is the hardest thing you will ever but is often expected to be far easier. That your boobs will hurt in ways that you previously thought were unimaginable. That nursing is painful and often all consuming in that you will be spending much energy thinking about your milk supply and whether it is enough or is there too much.
4. That it will be more confusing than expected because there is SOOO much information out there for new moms to consume and it all contradicts itself (between the online info, what your friends say, what your mom says, what your pediatrician says, what your lactation consultant says, what the random woman in Whole Foods tells you…)
5. That there aren’t always answers to our questions or sometimes the answer can be that your baby is normal regarding two completely opposite experiences (because there is a WIDE range of what is normal).
6. That you will spend so much time thinking about your child’s poop–how it looks, how frequently it is happening, whether it is causing a problem overall for your child.
7. That with a vaginal delivery (not just a C section) that the pain that follows delivery can be significant and that there is a true recovery period for your body.
8. No matter how prepared you think you are for having a baby, you never really are. Limit what you read and work on starting to develop instincts rather then trying to find one thing that will work for you/your baby.
9. That we are often very used to being able to “do it all” and this is a moment in time when it is essential to ask for and accept help–that we can’t physically do it all and having someone help you is not a bad thing and doesn’t mean that you have failed at something. This is a time that necessitates over communication with your partner about what you need.
10. That postpartum anxiety and OCD is actually more prevalent, overwhelming and debilitating then anyone ever talks about. It is helpful to have conversations with your partner about what to look for so they know when you need help.
Linda Szmulewitz, LCSW - Chicago New Moms Group
Linda Szmulewitz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a certified Gentle Sleep Coach. 7 years ago, she developed an educational and supportive program for first time moms of babies 0-6 months old called The Chicago New Moms Group. The group offers 6 week sessions that provide new moms with an opportunity to come together in a non judgmental and nurturing environment to both connect with others in similar circumstances and to find answers to many new parenting questions.
In additional to developing and running The Chicago New Moms Group, Linda works as a sleep consultant for children ages 0-6 years old to help their improve family functioning by empowering parents to help their children learn the life long skill of sleep. Through a process that involves a comprehensive assessment and consultation and the development of a plan, parents are given the tools to help their children learn how to sleep at all stages and in a variety of circumstances. By starting where the family is and working through each family's individual goals, parents are able to successfully teach their children this essential skill.