4 Ways Being a New Mom Has Made Me a Better Person
I have always strived to be a compassionate person -- to be someone who puts myself in someone else’s shoes. Since becoming a new mom, I’ve found that my compassion toward others has only deepened and this is especially true of my empathy for other moms. Below are four ways that being a new mom has made me a better person, a list that I’m sure will only grow over time.
#1. I will be even more respectful of pregnant women.
I’m sure many of you have had the experience of being out and about, waddling around 8 months pregnant when someone, a complete stranger, walks over and touches your belly. I’ve never been the type of person who would do this to someone else but knowing how it feels now to be self-conscious in your rapidly-growing body and having a total stranger think they can touch you, I vow never to do this to any pregnant woman I don’t know personally.
#2. I will say only encouraging things to expecting moms.
I will never tell another pregnant woman I randomly see in the store about my traumatic birth experience. I can’t tell you how many women felt the need to tell me all the gory details of their childbirth experiences. It’s really not helpful, especially for first-time moms who have no idea what to expect. Instead, I want to be like one woman who was next to me in line at Target one day towards the end of my pregnancy. She said to me, “You’re doing a great job. It won’t be that bad and you’ll do just fine.”
#3. I will never judge another mom’s personal choices regarding breastfeeding.
Before my baby was born I had every intention of breastfeeding. I knew all the facts about how great it is for the baby and I knew it was obviously the most cost-effective way to go. My co-workers bought me a breast pump, I stocked up on other supplies like breast cream and storage bags. I could not have imagined that I would not become a breastfeeding mom.
I ended up having a very traumatic childbirth experience. At some point I’ll write in more detail about what I went through but for the purposes of this blog post, let’s just say that I ended up having severe post-partum anxiety. I breastfed for about a week but had to stop, I just couldn’t do it after the birthing experience I had. My experience really makes me realize that we shouldn’t judge mothers’ decisions to breastfeed or formula feed. Often, even moms with the intention of breastfeeding find themselves unable to breastfeed their babies for a variety of different reasons. No matter what a new mom decides about breastfeeding, it‘s a personal decision and should be a choice that comes judgment free.
#4: I will never judge another mom whose child/baby is having a meltdown in the store.
I’ve brought my baby girl out many times and we have definitely had those moments where I’m pushing her through the grocery store and she suddenly decides she just does NOT want to be in the stroller anymore. Screaming and crying ensues and I feel self-conscious, looking around at my fellow shoppers and hoping no one is judging me. I have to get the shopping done so I hurriedly go through the aisles and somehow make it through the check out line, all done with a crying little girl. Sometimes there is literally nothing you can do to get your screaming child to stop and someone still needs to get the shopping done. Now when I see other moms dealing with a meltdown, I give them a sympathetic look that says, “I know how you feel.”
How has being a mom changed you for the better?
Michelle Noehren is the Events & Special Projects Manager at the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and is the founder of www.ctworkingmoms.com, an online community for Connecticut working moms. In addition to her career, website, husband and baby girl, she also serves on the Connecticut National Organization for Women’s Board of Directors.