In the days, weeks and months after my son Chandler was born, the reality of being a single mom — and a teen mom at that — began to set in. I had never felt so afraid and so alone in my entire life.
Getting through my daily activities — getting ready in the morning, work, dinner and bed time routines — got harder for me. So I reached out to my family and they were there to help out.
I found support in my family.
My youngest sister, Martha, was an incredible help. I went back to work six weeks after giving birth. I remember many times coming home to my sister taking care of my son. It melted my heart.
When I went back to school my mom offered to care for Chandler. This removed a huge burden from my shoulder’s.
When I needed gas money to go to doctor appointments, my dad would fill my tank. I felt empowered knowing I always had transportation.
I found support in my community.
In the early weeks of motherhood I needed support with breastfeeding. The lactation consultant from the hospital where Chandler was born was helpful. She answered my questions and always took time out to listen to my concerns.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), provided multiple services that supported my family’s nutritional health.
I joined a mother support group that encouraged me to talk with other moms who were or had already gone through my experience.
I found support in myself.
At the end of the day I had to have a positive attitude. I had to push myself to achieve the goals I wanted for my son and myself.
As a new mom, breastfeeding was difficult for me. Though I went to my appointments with the lactation consultant, I had to remind myself that breastfeeding the best option for my son and I — especially when I was alone.
“It will get better,” I would say, as tears rolled down my cheeks from the pain of feeding.
Eventually, it got better, and I’m glad I stuck with it.
I didn’t find the perfect mother support group immediately. I had to keep looking until I found what I needed. There were times when I felt like I didn’t have anyone who understood what I was going through. But it was in those hard times that I turned to myself for strength.
There is always support.
If you are wondering where to start, start where you’re at. Support is literally at our fingertips. Yes, I’m talking about social media platforms (find mom groups on Facebook or Twitter). Post a question, tag some friends, see if you get answers.
Pick up the phone. There are many community resources available to point you in the right direction.
Be your own support. Tell yourself that you are an amazing mother. Tell yourself that every resource you need is available. And tell yourself when it’s hard, that it will get better.
Anna Backhaus, 29, is a mother of three boys and student at University of Nebraska at Omaha, interning for momaha this fall. Read more of her blogs, by clicking here.
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