Can you begin by to introducing yourself and talking a bit about your background as a mom?
Eight months ago, I had my first child, Rex. He was an unexpected breach, which we didn't know that until I was induced into labor so I had to have an unplanned C-section. We live on a farm in Minnesota (where I grew up) and we are currently in the process of moving part time to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
So, as a first-time mom, was there anything about your postpartum period that you weren't expecting?
I didn't expect how rewarding it all would be. You hear things like, "oh, you're never going to sleep again," and, "it's so exhausting.” Obviously it is exhausting and I'm tired all the time, but it feels like a different kind of tired to me because it's so rewarding and worth it. I didn't expect this experience to be so gratifying.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a new mom?
Trying to juggle everything. I'm a stay at home (mom which I am so grateful for) but at the same time I have so much work to do at home between housework and taking care of Rex. Whenever he naps I have to make a decision between taking my own nap or doing something like the laundry or dishes. Most of the time I choose to do chores but honestly, I should choose to nap more.
Do you think that has taken a toll on your overall wellbeing, or are you pretty satisfied with how you have split up your time?
I think I'm staying on top of things. I do try to make time for myself to hang out with my friends or go get my hair done! I don't do that often; the first time I got my hair done and left Rex home with his dad it was a big deal for me to leave the house without him!
Are there any other ways you have been practicing self-care since Rex was born?
Usually I have two hours after he goes to bed before I go to bed, so I try to unwind and maybe take a bubble bath so I’m not doing chores for the entire time. I also try to relax by reading a book or just enjoying my downtime for those two hours, which has been helpful.
Have you noticed any changes in your self-care routine over time?
Of course! Before I had my son my self-care was 100% all about me. Early on during my postpartum period it became really hard to keep up that same self-care. It's really hard to take a shower when there's a screaming baby in the background so a lot of times I ended up showering for a minute because it was so hard to focus on washing my hair with that distraction. Now as he's getting a little older I definitely make self-care more of a priority when I have time. Now I just put him in his crib and if he cries while I'm taking a shower I've learned not to get so anxious about that.
Now in terms of your support system, when you had Rex, did you have any family coming to stay with you or help out?
I didn’t have anyone stay with me; my fiancé works from home most of the time so that was really helpful. My mom also came over a lot, which I really appreciated.
What do you think it is the most meaningful way someone has shown support for you as a new mom?
Mostly when I’ve had family come over and watch the baby while I could get some chores done. Another thing that I appreciated was when one of my friends gave me a collection of baby clothes that she had from her previous children, so I was able to organize all of them and have that ready to go when my son was born.
And finally, what are some words of encouragement that you would give to a new mom or someone who is expecting for the first time and nervous about it?
Nothing quite prepares you for what you're about to experience, but I mean that in the most positive way ever. The love that you will have for your child is indescribable and holding them in your arms for your first time is so incredible. It's kind of hard to explain until you've experienced it. All of the challenges are totally worth it. There will obviously be bad days when they kind of get the best of you, but overall, even just looking at your child is so amazing that sometimes I start crying because of how much I love him.
Nicolette is raising her son Rex in the beautiful countryside of Minnesota.