If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, or with other moms, or perhaps just on Earth, then you may have noticed this trend of mom-shaming that is seeping into motherhood like the contents of a diaper that needs to be change. (Yes, I realize that’s a gross analogy, but mom-shaming is gross, so it stays.) Knowing you're going to be judged can impact how a new mom makes choices, especially when she's postpartum and figuring out motherhood for the first time. Still, there are things every new mom does postpartum that she should never apologize for, whether she ends up being shamed or not. In the end, there isn't a person in the world who knows what's best for you and your new baby (even if you feel like you don't know much of all, because wow, motherhood can be overwhelming).
Of course, I’m not suggesting that moms should, like, leave small children alone at the park to go enjoy some solo time at a nearby tapas. Obviously a baby's safety is important, and in order to take care of a new baby sacrifices are usually (read: almost always) made by everyone. However, taking care of a new baby also means taking care of yourself, and there are things every mom either does (or should do, if it works best for her) that can help her feel at her best, albeit sore and exhausted, so that taking care of that new baby isn't as overwhelming as it can be.
Honestly, until the "mommy wars" comes to an end and our country decides to support new mothers (hello mandatory paid family leave), every new mom is going to feel bombarded with unsolicited advice and judgment. In the end, just do what is best for you and if the following works for you, definitely don't apologize for it.
I've heard tales about moms so sleep-deprived that they hallucinated. I'm not sure about you guys, but I was confused enough by my new baby when I wasn't seeing things that weren't there, so I can only imagine how that complicated things.
Let's just include all basic human functions, shall we? No judgment here.
Does bathing count as a basic human function? This may depend on who you ask. Still, it most definitely belongs on this list.
Taking A Moment To Chill
I can't think of anything that I can do all day, everyday. Actually, scratch that: breathing. The only thing I can think of that I can do all day, everyday, is breathing. Since raising a child is ever-so-slightly more complicated than that, it's no wonder that new moms need breaks.
Not Knowing Something
I have a fellow mom-friend that I've joked with about how the nurses asked me if something about my son was "normal" when he was just a couple days old. How was I supposed to know? I could still count the number hours that I'd known him, I had no idea what was, or wasn't normal yet.
Asking “Too Many” Questions
Speaking of not knowing things, shout-out to the doctor who didn't make my husband and I feel weird for thinking our son had a serious belly button emergency happening (he didn't).
Being Unable Or Choosing Not To Breastfeed
It's not as if there aren't countless reasons that breastfeeding may not work for a new mom. Oh, wait, there totally are.
Anything That Has To Do With Her Appearance
Unless, of course, part of your appearance includes tattoos with discriminatory symbols or phrases. I can't get behind that. Other than that, whatever you do or need to do to feel more like yourself (because your body has been changing during your pregnancy and will continue to change postpartum) you do that. No apology necessary or even warranted.
Doing Whatever You Need To Do To Get The Baby To Sleep
That's right. Someone on the internet is giving you permission to sing whatever 90s pop songs to your child that you want to if it means they'll sleep regularly.
Asking For Help
Seriously, while you're at it, make sure to ask for more than just help with a diaper change. If you have someone willing to lend a hand, see if they'll maybe fold some laundry or cook you a meal, too.
Going Back To Work
Some moms have to work. Some moms want to work. Whatever the reason, it's fine, and apologizing is not necessary. You don't have to feel bad if you go to work "sooner" than others thing, and you don't have to apologize if you "take your time." You figure out what is best for you and your family, and you do it.
Shifting Your Priorities
So, I don't know how to break this gently, so I'm just going to come out with it: having a baby changes a person. Being responsible for someone else's life and well-being takes precedence over things that once felt like a bigger deal than they actually are. If anyone tries to make you feel bad about not being into or available for the things you once were, they need to back off. You can be #sorrynotsorry and that's totally fine.