There are two kinds of new-mom moments that really show what an impact confidence has: when you're feeling down and when you're feeling up. When baby succeeds or hits a milestone, it gives new moms a boost of confidence. On the other hand, an infusion of confidence is critical when a new mom is really struggling and someone points out that they're doing a good job. All these new mom moments prove that confidence is what every new mom needs, whether it comes from confirmation that her baby is thriving or from an outside source sharing a kind word on a tough day.
I really struggled with feeding my daughter when she was very small. The NICU nurses called her a "disorganized eater" and boy was it exhausting trying to get her to finish even a few ounces. For the first six weeks, I didn't even realize how much we were both struggling until we were in the doctor's office and our 65-year-old pediatrician sat down for a half hour with us to help me teach my daughter how to suck more effectively. Then he sat there until she finished the last drop and told me what an incredible job I was doing keeping her healthy and strong. It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment, and boosted my confidence immediately.
From then on, I'd try to remember his words when I felt like we weren't making any progress with her feeding. I needed that infusion of confidence in order to keep pushing through those tough days. So, with that in mind, here are a few more new-mom moments that proved confidence is what we really need.
When You Survive Baby's First Checkup
The nurses still talk about my daughter's first checkup. Not because she was terribly remarkable, but because they say I was like a deer in the headlights. I had no idea what I was doing and I was totally overwhelmed.
However, I don't remember any of that. I remember their encouraging words and their confirmation that I was doing just fine as a new mom. I remember the pediatrician saying, "She looks great, just keep doing what you're doing." I remember thinking, "Seriously? Because I have no idea what I'm doing." But I was getting there, and having a little reminder that I wasn't totally clueless (especially from an expert) was a huge confidence boost.
When You Finally Hit The End Of Day One (Or Week One, Or Month One)
I had a friend who would check in with me on the fourth of each month during my daughter's first year just to remind me that I had kept my daughter alive and thriving for another month on this planet. It was such a gift in those early months to even remember that a month had passed and to have someone else tell me I was doing a great job.
When Baby Hits A Milestone
My daughter's milestones were such confidence builders for me as a new mom. I think it's hard to really see you're making a difference as a mom when you're in the thick of taking care of a baby. However, when your baby starts to hit milestones, like holding their head up or rolling over, you can see how far he or she has come from those days when they only slept and you had to wake them to feed.
When You Enjoy Your First Successful Feed
When my daughter finally learned how to suck on her bottle properly, I felt like I had finally gotten the hang of something after six weeks of practice. Watching her suck down a whole bottle made me feel like I finally wasn't failing, and gave me the confidence to remember that I would have enough strength to help me endure the marathon of parenting.
When You Get A Stranger's Reassurance
My daughter was only a few weeks old when we brought her to church for the first time, and one of the first things someone said to me as I was holding her was, "Oh, you can just tell how much she loves her mom."
I'm not sure you could really tell that, but at the time, it's exactly what I needed to hear. Life with a 3 week old doesn't exactly give a ton of confirmation as to how you're dong as a mother, or that she's enjoying her time with her parents, and outside confirmation is exactly what I needed to keep pressing on.
When You Survive Your First Outing
We live in this great neighborhood within easy walking distance to a ton of restaurants and coffee shops. However, I can't even explain to you how far our favorite coffee shop felt when my daughter was first born. I spent the first few weeks mostly indoors, only venturing out to her pediatrician appointments.
The Houston heat was too hot for walking and taking her out was still so scary. The first time I walked to the coffee shop with my daughter, I couldn't even believe we had made it all the way there. When we returned, I just couldn't believe we had made it all the way back in one piece!
When You Attend Your First Moms' Group
It took me a full year to join my first moms group, mostly because I was scared of having to compare myself to other moms and feel even worse about how I was doing as a mom. But if I had to do it all over again, I would join a moms group earlier and, hopefully, realized that it would be much more empowering than I ever thought it could be.
Now, that does depend on the moms group being good and not catty, but if you find a good moms group that will build you up as a mom, it will definitely improve your confidence.
When You Get "Dressed Up"
You'll never hear me extolling the virtues of putting on a whole face of makeup and curling my hair (still don't even know how), but getting just a little spruced up makes you feel like you're doing this mom thing with a little of your pre-mom style.
Maybe that means makeup and hair, but maybe that just means jeans instead of pajamas or leggings instead of pajamas. Honestly, whatever makes you feel just a little bit spruced is probably worthwhile. At the end of the day, some of the confidence that comes with being a new mom involves faking it until you start to really feel it.