New Moms Don’t Have to Know All the Answers

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “I don’t know” in the last five months. The most were in the first few days my son was born. I said it to the nurse who asked if we wanted the baby to sleep in the nursery or stay in my hospital room. I said it to the doctor who asked how many wet diapers he had in a day. To the lactation consultant who asked how well he was breastfeeding. To the friend who wondered why we didn’t use her name suggestion. To the friend who asked when we’ll start solids and what our vaccination schedule will be. And to the husband who asked how he can best help. I just didn’t know!

Sometimes, it bothered me to say that I didn’t have all the answers. It seemed like some things a mom should just know the answer to. Other times, I thought people were expecting too much of me, wanting me to remember things when I was sleep deprived and crazy busy and to be completely learned in a topic with a ton to learn. And honestly, the only way I would’ve been able to answer some of the questions is if I’d had a crystal ball and could see into the future.

Eventually, I realized that it’s okay for a new mom not to not have all the answers. And how could you? If you think about it, when was the last time you experienced such a huge onslaught of new things all at once? When was the last time you experience such a drastic physical change in your body? When was the last time you had so many emotions over one single event? When was the last time you had such a great responsibility placed upon you so suddenly? It’s like having plastic surgery, graduating from college, getting married (to a virtual stranger) and starting a new job all in the same day!

Eventually you learn. You get a routine down. Your baby’s eating and sleeping become more predictable, making it easier to notice when something is off. And you get to the point where you’re okay saying “I don’t know” and answering the question later, when the right time comes.

Embrace the uncertainty that comes with motherhood. Give yourself a break, do your best, and surround yourself with people who want the best for you and your child. That’s all you need to be great parent — not all the answers.

During baby’s first weeks, which things were a learning process and which things were instinctual for you?