Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt

“I was made for this, I can do this, women have been doing this for thousands of years.” 

That was my mantra leading up to and during the birth of my little one.  Now that she is almost a toddler I still find myself returning to the same mantra.

At times, I’m overwhelmed by motherhood.   

After the birth of my little one, I quickly realized that I was experiencing postpartum self-doubt.  The lack of confidence in one’s abilities related to motherhood and raising children.  It often occurs in the first few months after childbirth, but can happen anytime.

My postpartum self-doubt was strong. As a first time mom, I felt like I knew nothing about being a mom.  Even though I often babysat as a teenager, I still didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing.

I just kept repeating to myselfI was made for this, I can do this, women have been doing this for thousands of years. 

I think that everyone has some level of postpartum self-doubt, maybe even postpartum depression.  How could they not?  As a new mom my life had just instantly changed.  Our family of 2 now became 3.  

I was sleep deprived and tasked with keeping another human being alive.  Furthermore, to top it all off I had hormones running amok in my body.

There were countless nights that I would be awake in the middle of the night with my little one.  She would be crying, I would be crying, and milk would be dripping down my leg. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. 

I would softly whisper to her that I was doing my best and that we were learning how to do this thing together.

At times it would get to be too much so I would put her in her sleeping box and just walk away for a minute.  Or I would cry in the shower when she was napping or someone else was holding her.  In the shower I knew that if I cried nobody else would see or hear me.

I thought that I was weak, that I was doing something wrong.  I had so much postpartum self-doubt I didn’t think I knew how to be a mom.

You’re Not Alone

Eventually I learned something enormously valuable.

Postpartum self-doubt is extremely common.

Related Post: Calming Anxiety About Giving Birth

I wasn’t alone.  Other new moms felt exactly like I did.

As a new momma, nobody knows what they are doing. 

Maybe on some level we are all repeating to ourselves variations of the same mantra I was made for this, I can do this, women have been doing this for thousands of years. 

Being a new mom wasn’t like what I’d seen in movies or what people showed on Pinterest and Instagram.  Those images are highly doctored, edited and filtered.  Often times they are posted by people who aren’t even mommas.

Realizing that I wasn’t alone and that other people had the same struggles was incredibly comforting.  I slowly felt that I could do this.  

I was made for this, I can do this, women have been doing this for thousands of years. 

There is no perfect mom.  Motherhood is messy, and frustrating and rewarding all at the same time. 

With time my confidence in being a mom continues to grow. I am by no means perfect, and the struggle continues daily.  But I’m becoming more okay with the struggle.  It’s just part of being a mom.

Part of that struggle is created in my head. At times I can be a perfectionist and being a mom conflicts with that.  Letting go and just going with the flow has been helpful, but not easy.

If you’re struggling with postpartum self-doubt here are some things that I found helpful at overcoming it which can help you too.

Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt.  After the birth of my little one, I quickly realized that I was experiencing postpartum self-doubt.  If you’re struggling with postpartum self-doubt here are some things that I found helpful at overcoming it which can help you too. #newmom #postpartum #handfulofthoughts

New Mom’s Group

Check with your local health clinic to see if they offer a new mom’s group.  Often times these groups are open to new mom’s whose little ones are between the ages of 6 weeks to 6 months.  They fill up fast so call once your little one is a few weeks old to reserve your spot.

The new mom’s groups hosted by health clinics often focus on educational topics such as baby safety, sleep, breastfeeding, introducing solids, etc.  The groups are often small and the meetings are led by a nurse and hosted at the health clinic. 

A bonus feature of these groups is that the participants are often new mom’s in your area.  This makes meeting up with them outside of the group very convenient.

Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt Action Step:

Check to see if your local health clinic offers a new mom’s program.  If not check out Facebook or try Googling new mom’s groups for your area.

My health clinic hosted a weekly meet up which I looked forward to every week.  I knew I could take my little one there for that 2 hours without judgement.  It didn’t matter if she cried the whole time or I showed up with baby poop on my clothes.

The other new mom’s there were just like me, we were all learning to find our way.

After the formal group meet up times ended we continued to meet up sporadically.   It is so reassuring to know that other mom’s go through postpartum self-doubt too.  

I still think it’s amazing how when we meet up now that our little ones are a bit older, how similar and different they still are.  Some of them have learned to walk or crawl around the same age.  While others have almost a full set of teeth and some have very few.

Library Programs

Libraries are the best life hack.  

This is especially true for parents with little ones.  Often times libraries offer programs for various age groups.  These program are open to moms and dads and their little ones.

My local library offered a Baby Lap Time program for infants under the age of 1.  It was a 30-minute program once a week that my little one and I always looked forward too. At the end of the program the facilitator would leave the program room open for us moms, dads and little ones to socialize.

An added benefit of these programs is often times your little one will get to interact with older children.  It’s amazing how much they pick up from other babies.  I think my little one was more motivated to roll and crawl once she saw other babies do it at the library Baby Lap Time.

During the cold winter months Baby Lap Time became the perfect reason to get out of the house.

Library programs are also great places for introducing early literary to your little one.  You can also learn new songs and ways to interact with your little one.

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long time since I sang any children’s songs.  Going to programs at the library taught me a ton of songs to sing with my little one.

Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt Action Step:

Check out your local library and see if they offer any free programming for little ones with your library membership.  Some libraries even offer an early literacy program that provides a free board book to your little one.

Mom Buddy

Whether you join a new mom’s group, check out the programs at your library or have friends with little ones around the age of your little one having a mom buddy can be comforting.

A mom buddy is someone who has a little one around the same age as your little one. She is someone who completely understands everything you are going through as she is probably going through it too.

The benefit of a mom buddy is you will have someone who can relate with your postpartum self-doubt and your little one will begin to develop friendships with kids his/her own age.

When my little one was still waking up numerous times at night to nurse I would often have text conversations with one of my mom buddies.  We were both often awake at all hours of the night and it was nice to know someone else was going through the same things as me.

Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt Action Step:

Set up some playdates with some of the moms you have met through your new mom’s group or library programs.  Your little ones can play while you mommas have a chance to talk.  If any of your friends are having little ones around the same time as you – they make great mom buddies too.

The beauty of mom buddy play dates is there doesn’t have to be an agenda.  You mommas can develop an understanding that being comfortable is more important than trying to impress each other.  

Who cares if you haven’t showered in a few days. Sometimes you just have to get out of the house.  Visiting a mom buddy may be just the thing you need.

Postpartum Self-Doubt Resources

There are a lot of free resources out there to help with postpartum self-doubt and postpartum depression. 

Local health clinics are a great place to start. They often have nurses on call to answer your questions. Some nurses will even do home visits if needed. 

If your local health clinic cannot help you they will be able to refer you to someone who can. 

Your family doctor also has access to resources that can help with postpartum self-doubt. 

Taking action on the previous action steps in this post may be enough to help ease your postpartum self-doubt. If not, or if you feel like things are escalating into postpartum depression reach out and ask for help. 

There is nothing weak about asking for help. We could all use a little extra support from time to time. 

Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt Action Step:

Reach out and connect with someone you can talk to about your postpartum self-doubt. This can help prevent it from becoming postpartum depression. 

Be careful of online forums relating to postpartum self-doubt and depression. Some of them can be beneficial but there are a lot of them that aren’t. 

Nothing beats talking to someone face to face. 

Final thoughts

The greatest thing you can remember if you’re having postpartum self-doubt is that you’re not alone. Some level of postpartum self-doubt is very common. 

If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, or tells you how perfect everything is just realize that they may be not be telling the truth. 

From time to time, I still feel self-doubt in my ability to parent.  I think this is rooted in some perfectionist tendencies I have. 

Oddly enough when I just go with the flow things are a lot easier. I just need to let go of my need to control everything and enjoy the little one in front of me. 

I was made for this, I can do this, women have been doing this for thousands of years. 

What are some things that helped you overcome postpartum self-doubt?

6 thoughts on “Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt”

  1. Maria I firstly want to say that you are doing AMAZING with your site!

    I wish this post existed after I had my first. This is so helpful for new moms during those difficult time. I was so on edge with all the advice I was getting in that difficult sleep deprived time. This was all possibly paired with some high level of anxiety. With my second, although my self doubt was a bit better having gained confidence & surrounded myself with a good group of moms as support, my anxiety went up to alarming levels of postpartum anxiety. It just seemed that the combination of having them so close together, the self-doubt that was difficult to navigate and then health issues culminated to very difficult levels of stress to deal with. I’m glad you are sharing some useful resources for new moms to avoid feeling alone with all of this.

    1. Thanks Ms. Mod. As I only have one little one right I didn’t consider how the self-doubt will creep in with the second one. Will definitely keep that in mind as our family grows.

  2. Lol, milk dripping down your leg! I remember those days… it was tough! I loved the library time programs available and my baby did too. The second baby is like 180 degrees from the first- it’s almost funny actually. I guess experience is a huge factor in this.

  3. “I was made for this. All moms do this. I can do this!!” I told myself this too!! So crazy!! That was six kids ago. ??. I’ve cried in the shower. And rocking my baby in the dead of night. Milk hasn’t dribbled down my leg, but that wasn’t for a lack of trying! ??. It sure seemed to be all over the place. Love this post! I think all moms can relate.

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