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You don’t need to lie to me about motherhood

I am here to listen, comfort—and not judge.

women talking

In the fog of new motherhood, I felt so much pressure. I wanted to feel that confidence so many mothers seemed to project—to get to that place where I just knew what to do, no matter what was thrown at me.

But I also felt pressure to be okay all the time. To answer questions with how much joy my baby brought me. To be grateful—endlessly grateful—because, after all, weren't there so many women who would do just about anything to be in my place?

I was grateful. I did love my daughter beyond words. But that didn't mean it wasn't hard.

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That didn't mean crushing doubts didn't creep in when I realized it was up to me to answer big, potentially life-changing questions. It didn't mean dark thoughts didn't settle in my brain—angry, bitter moments I could have allowed to fester and spread until they consumed me. It didn't mean I didn't snap or cry or feel like I was drowning in waves of loneliness at times. It didn't mean I wasn't so, so tired all the time.

But sometimes I was scared to tell the truth about how hard motherhood was. I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I wasn't sure it would be received with the asterisk—the one that says, "This is hard...but I wouldn't trade it." I was worried I would be misunderstood or judged.

And so, new mama, when I see you, I want you to know that I see you. I see the doubt and the confusion and the panic and the budding confidence. I see the sleep-deprived nights and the tiny victories and the quiet moments only you and that tiny baby will ever experience. I see you, and I am here to listen.

I'm here to listen when last night felt nearly endless and you honestly don't know how you're still upright this morning.

Sleep is actually crucial to life—it's not just "self-care." Early in my first daughter's life, I looked at my husband one morning and said, "You know this is actually how they torture prisoners of war." I wasn't exaggerating, and there is no exaggerating when it comes to how depleting sleep deprivation is. You can never really anticipate just how little sleep you will get—and yet, you will still manage to function and to provide for that baby.

But what I hope you hear, mama? That it's okay—necessary, actually—to ask for help and to allow the love in.

Let your mom or your sister or your friend or a babysitter you hire come over for an hour and hold the baby while you sleep. You will never be your best mom self if you are suffering, so take the help and see it for the love it is. But, in the meantime, it's okay to tell me honestly if you are not doing as well as you had hoped (and if there's anything I can do, please tell me that, too).

I'm here to listen when you can't stand your partner.

When you resent how freely they seem to move about the world—how little seems to have changed for them—while you are floundering under this weighty new life. I will listen without judgment about what you wish they were doing and how unfair the balance of responsibility is in those early days. You can dump the bad feelings on me, and I will talk with you how we both know you still love them, even when it feels like they are letting you down.

Together, we will find healthy ways to express yourself. And I promise I will still love your partner, even if I know this information, because I know how they too will grow and improve in their new role.

I'm here to listen when you are frustrated with your child.

It's so hard to understand when you can say the hard things, and to whom, so please know I am a safe place. Because we both know that your child is still the greatest thing in your life—it's just so hard to feel that when you are exhausted and scared and overwhelmed. When you just wish they would let you sleep—even just a few minutes more.

When they cry and cry and cry and your deepest fears drown out your reason—fears that you are just not good at this. Just not meant to do this. When your joy is tinged by regret, and the guilt for those feelings is nearly crushing. Because here is the greatest secret of motherhood: Your child is the best and can be the worst. No "or." No "if." They are both simultaneously, and sometimes it will just be too much for your brain to comprehend.

In those moments, I will listen to you and still know you are a good mother who would do anything for that little baby because you love them so much. And I will remind you of that, too.

I'm here to listen when you doubt yourself.

Because, mama, there is so much doubt in those early days. The changes are immense and the perspective is small, and everything threatens to consume you. I will listen and I will hold your hand and promise you without doubt, that the day is coming—the day when you will suddenly realize you know what to do.

When you realize you know what to do for your baby better than anyone else on the planet. That your baby was meant for you, and you were meant to be mother to your baby.

That day is coming, mama. But I'm here to listen until it does.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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