Adjusting to New Motherhood – Letting Go

canTwo years ago, I joined some of my patients in the ranks of “new mother”.  And what a journey it has been.  I now understand the plight of the bleary-eyed, perpetually sleep-deprived souls who are hopelessly and desperately in love with their offspring.  I also have a new perspective as a doctor as to what my new moms are going through.

As a “type A” first-time mom having a child later in life, adjusting to my new normal has been a challenge.  I like to think of myself as an organized woman who has her act together.  Alas, a living, breathing bundle of joy can definitely cramp your style.  The old me was known for a spotless house down to the soup cans in the pantry stacked like little soldiers with labels at attention.  A trip to the pantry now involves tripping over puzzles and balls, only to find Elmo tucked between the cans, my toddler having made off with the last can of diced tomatoes.

Motherhood means change:

  • Embracing the chaos.
  • Bidding farewell (perhaps only temporarily) to “me” time.
  • Re-prioritizing my activities, even my daily thoughts.

My advice to expecting and new moms…try to accept the change.  Obviously it is a process.  In fact, you can still catch me late at night in a moment of weakness organizing the cans of soup in the pantry–an attempt to hang on to order.  But I am trying to let go gracefully.  Hopefully you can, too.

Don’t get me wrong.  I miss parts of my “old” life–the feeling of sand between my toes as I leisurely stroll down the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay watching the sunset in the afternoons.  Rather, now I hurry in from work just to see that gap-toothed little smile waiting for me by the door.  The sand between my toes has been replaced by cookie crumbs and rogue raisins scattered around the highchair, but the joy in one word makes it all worth it…”mama”.

-Reena Talreja Pelaez, M.D.