9 Harsh Truths About Having A Newborn Only Your BFF Will Tell You

Here's the unfiltered truth about having kids.

woman holding baby with back against wall Jelena Stanojkovic | Shutterstock

Yes, being a new mom is magical and amazing. But you know what else it can be? Brutal. Terrifying. Exhausting.

But you'll survive it, I promise. If you made it through pregnancy and labor, you can adjust to all the changes required in order to integrate this new little human into your life.

As a veteran mom who survived two newborns, I'm here to give you the real, down-and-dirty truth about surviving life as a brand new mom, the kind of advice you only get from a friend who's been there.


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Here are 9 truths about having a newborn only your BFF will tell you:

1. You don't have to look cute right now

Forget Princess Kate. Nobody looks like that after giving birth unless they had a team of stylists, makeup artists, and hairdressers on call in the delivery room. 


Your job right now is adjusting to life with a baby and figuring out how to do stuff, like go to the bathroom with a squirming, screaming newborn in your arms. 

Wear your sweats proudly. Adorn yourself in ratty tank tops that show the straps of that ugly nursing bra. You're a mama, and you're loved. Cute and sexy will happen again later.

2. This might not feel like the most magical time of your life

I know veteran moms often say that the first few months of your baby's life are magical, but that's because all we remember from that time is that our babies were too young to sass back or steal money from our wallets. 

Having a newborn is a gift, and those baby snuggles and mewling cries are amazing. But the truth is that we all had a hard time when our babies first came home.


We all cried from exhaustion, we all wondered how the laundry would get done, and we all wondered how it was possible that a tiny baby could make that much poo. But we got through it, and you will, too.

3. Don't even look at your vagina right now

If you delivered vaginally, you don't need to see that. Put the hand mirror away and just leave it be. Take showers and wash them, but don't go looking at them wondering why you no longer look like a Penthouse centerfold down there.

Time heals, and until then just remember that you did an amazing thing when you squeezed a watermelon out of your peach.

RELATED: Labor & Delivery Nurse Reveals Ridiculous Requests From New Dads Who Call Moms 'Dramatic' & Demand Paternity Tests


4. Don't hang around people who make you feel bad about yourself

Whether it's a mommy-and-me class full of perfectionists who look down their noses at you or your mother-in-law, who thinks you're doing everything wrong, honor your right to feel good about who you are as a person. 

Avoiding the people who make you feel like crap will change your life for the better. Seek out a mommy-and-me group that feels like home, or call a trusted old friend to touch base and find reassurance.

5. You might be a jerk to people who don't deserve it

Your life is about your baby right now. You're probably not sleeping. Maybe you're settling into nursing, and you're learning how to live a totally different type of life. Things are weird, and you might not react the best way to people you care about.

Try not to be a total jerk to people you love, but forgive yourself if you snap. Put into context for people that this is a crazy time in life and tell them you appreciate their support.


6. Stop resisting the changes in your life

You're a mom now. Things are going to be different from this day on. Trying to hang onto your pre-baby independence, your pre-baby body, or your pre-baby sense of the world is futile.

Sure, you're still you, but now you're you plus the addition of one of the greatest gifts you'll ever receive. Change, when dressed in a tiny little onesie and a knit cap, can be a beautiful (even when it's scary) thing.

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7. Sex might not happen easily or quickly

Your doctor will probably clear you for sexual intercourse around six to eight weeks postpartum, but that doesn't mean you'll be ready. And that's OK.


Your hormones are still settling in, and hormones are a big part of our desire and sexual response. Nursing may delay the return of that loving feeling, too. 

Be good to yourself, honor your libido (or lack thereof), and ask your partner to be understanding. If you still feel cold as ice after six months, talk to your doctor.

Hot tip: use a lot of lube when you do finally get back to business. 

8. It's OK if breastfeeding isn't working for you

Do your best at nursing if that's what you've chosen. If you're struggling but want to continue, see if you can meet with a lactation consultant recommended by your pediatrician or find a nursing mom's support group.


But if breastfeeding isn't working for you, that's OK. Despite what some fervent so-called lactivists try to tell you, your baby will be fine on formula. Nobody knows your body (and your sanity) like you do. Do what's best for you and your child.

9. Screw the whole "post-baby body" hype

Heidi Klum may have walked the runway a couple of months after her baby was born, but you and I are not Heidi Klum. We're everyday women living everyday lives, and we're good enough.

Want a great post-baby body? You've got it! Look down at your body right now. That right there is a great post-baby body. It created a whole new human life, right there inside of it. That body is taking care of that new human being, nourishing and loving the future generation. 

Your post-baby body may be new to you and feel foreign, but it's a beautiful miracle of nature, and you deserve to feel proud of it. So throw away the trashy mags that insist you need to "bounce back." The only bouncing you need to be doing right now is with your baby on your hip.


RELATED: Having A Baby Destroyed My Marriage — And It Might Ruin Yours, Too

Joanna Schroeder is a parenting writer and media critic whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and more. She is co-author of the upcoming book Talk To Your Boys from Workman Publishing.