The 6 Biggest Challenges New Moms Face in the First Year of Motherhood


As my twins near their first birthday, I have been reflecting a lot on what have been the biggest things to adjust to as a new mother.  Regardless of the challenges, it has been one of the most rewarding years of my life, and there is nothing I would have changed.  I hope this list is not meant to scare “soon-to-be” new moms.  Every mother’s experience is different.  But I am sure many mothers will be able to relate.

1.  Sleep Deprivation

Being exhausted during the newborn stage is an understatement.  It’s more like running a marathon, then climbing a mountain while carrying a 50lb pack, having an hour long nap, then doing it all over again.  It’s kind of crazy that moms have to endure 9 months of pregnancy, go through labor, then be sent home to recover, all while caring for a new tiny human that requires attention 24/7.  Pair all that with oxytocin and breastfeeding, and you’ve got a perfect cocktail for some serious day time drowsiness and brain fog.  This exhaustion makes those college “all-nighters” seem like cake walk.  

2.  Hormones

As if bringing new life into the world wasn’t overwhelming enough, the hormones that fluctuate after giving birth can cause new moms to feel as if they are actually going crazy.  Did you just yell at your husband because he was breathing too loudly?  That’s the hormones.  After yelling at him, did you just hug him and cry and tell him you couldn’t imagine life without him?  That’s also the hormones.  No, you are not crazy.

3. Car Seats

If you are a new mom and reading this, let me tell you that car seats are a pain.  And they suck.  I mean yeah, they protect your baby and all.  But still, could manufacturers make those red push buttons any less stiff?  I have come so close to breaking my thumb knuckle so many times.  And they are heavy – I mean, like, REALLY heavy.  I know there are some fancy lightweight and ergonomic car seats on the market now, but I certainly did not get that model.  I think it took me about 10 minutes to try and unlatch the car seat from the base after my twins’ first 5 day old appointment.  Of course this all gets easier.  But just the sight of the car seats for the first few months made me want to cry.

4.  Crying

Of course moms cry.  But I am focusing on babies here.  It’s just something they do.  No one can prepare you for the sound of your OWN baby crying.  It can literally rip you in half the first time you hear it.  And when you mix in sleep deprivation and hormones, as listed above, there’s not enough sedatives in the world to make you immune to the sound of your own baby crying. Motherly instinct.  Gets you every time.

5.  Not Having As Much Free Time

This was especially difficult for me this past year.  You don’t realize how precious time is until you do not have it anymore.  Of course, I love spending time with my children, but as a new mom, it has been one heck of an adjustment knowing that I cannot do as much as I used to.  And nap time flies by fast – SO FAST.  I don’t bother with  “To-Do Lists”.  I’ve learned that if I had 5 items on that list, I could accomplish maybe 2 of them in one day. This lack of free time also helps you get better at prioritizing – when you have so little time, you focus on what is more important.  Can that pile of laundry sit for another day so that you can go for a run instead?  It sure can. 

6.  Being Away From Your Baby

It felt so weird to leave the house to run some errands for the first time without my babies.  Of course, it felt liberating to get out of the house and have some “me time.”  But it does feel like you are leaving a part of yourself behind.  After about spending an hour in Target by myself when the babies were maybe only a couple of weeks old, I felt this need to rush back home.  I knew they were okay, but I just felt so lost not being with them.  After all, I carried them for over 8 months, so it was strange being physically out of reach from them.  This physical separation has gotten easier, but it is never easy.