One of the most important things to understand about motherhood is that not all moms are created equally. In fact, there are multiple “stages” of momhood that need to be considered — each with their own unique challenges and rewards. By understanding which of these stages you fall into, you therefore stand the best chance at properly taking care of you — and your kids — in the ways that you both need moving forward.
The “Pre-Motherhood” Mom
Whether you’re currently undergoing fertility treatments or are just trying for a baby “the old fashioned way,” the most important thing for you to do during this period involves keeping the most positive and healthy mindset possible. You’re about to embark on an incredible journey—one that will impact the rest of your life in a huge variety of different ways, some of which you can currently predict and many of which you can’t.
If you’re in need of a little advice about fertility, be sure to:
- Track your menstrual cycle as closely as possible
- Buy ovulation predictor kits to test your urine to give you an indication of when ovulation is about to occur
- For the highest chance of pregnancy, try to have intercourse every other day around the day that you ovulate
Don’t let this process put a damper on what should be a fun and exciting time for you. Remember every moment, and that a big part of any journey is always the beginning.
The “First Timer” Mom
If you’ve just brought a new life in the world and hadn’t had the pleasure of doing so before, your daily life will quickly become equal parts exciting and stressful—but in the best way possible. Never, under any circumstances, assume that you are being overly cautious with regards to the health of your baby. Nobody knows your child and your body better than you do so above all else, you need to trust your instincts during this time.
Remember these essential tips in terms of your own self care:
- You can NEVER be overly cautious about pregnancy symptoms. Do not be afraid to report them during your check-ups. That’s literally what your doctor is there for.
- Make sure to take the time for yourself—both mentally and physically—whenever you can. Even if it’s just a few minutes of “Me Time,” it can and will go a long way.
That last point is particularly important, as postpartum depression is serious business. Always make sure to regularly consult a physician and take good care of yourself so that you can be the best mom you can be and take care of that baby, too.
The “Multiple Children” Mom
Especially when you’re the mother to multiple beautiful children, always be sure to take time for yourself. Treating yourself every once in awhile—even for a few minutes—is a necessity and is critical for your mental health.
Likewise, you need to understand and truly believe that you can only do so much. When you feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions (and you will), know that you have a limit. Kids are smart—they can pick up on this and will understand that sometimes, mom needs time for herself. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help from friends and family, especially if it’s to help you take care of your own wellbeing. You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first!
The “Empty Nester” Mom
So, you’ve done it—your kids are finally out of the house and you’ve got more “peace and quiet” than you know what to do with. First of all, congratulations! You knocked out one of the hardest jobs of parenting out of the park.
Now, the best thing to do is to figure out what your interests are so that you can focus on yourself. Find a hobby, make some new friends, do whatever you can to keep yourself busy. In a lot of ways, this is all something you worked very hard for over the years and the time has come to enjoy it! Just be mindful that regular check-ups, especially for older women, are as important as they’ve ever been. Prioritize regular appointments with your doctor, particularly over the age of 45.
Lastly, every child is different—and the same goes for every pregnancy, too. But provided that you keep tips like these in mind for the various stages of motherhood, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits with as few of the downsides as possible.