a picture of a mother holding her son with the caption "7 stages of motherhood for new moms"

Have you heard of the seven stages of grief? It’s surmountable to know and helps you to better comprehend how humans deal with grief and loss.   

As a new mom, there are also stages you go through as you acclimate to motherhood, very similar in concept to the stages of grief. These stages for new mothers can vary and can be highly influenced by the amount of support you have postpartum or lack thereof. These stages can also be affected by postpartum depression and the range of emotions that women experience from anxiety and sadness, to anger and rage.

Motherhood is life changing and one of the greatest joys of our existence as females. The journey can look and feel slightly different for everyone. In order to make sense of the first year of motherhood, I have created seven stages to explain it. Below is my interpretation of the stages new moms go through on their journey through the first year of motherhood.

1-Euphoria-This is the stage where you are in shock that you are now holding your baby. It’s like being on cloud nine as you look at this tiny little being that you and your sweetheart have created. You look at your baby’s perfect little face, teeny fingers and toes, and their baby noises with awe. 

2-Self-Doubt-Once the euphoria wears off, which is usually after coming home from the hospital, real life begins to set in. Your baby starts crying, your body is still recovering from the birth and won’t allow you to move fast enough to satisfy the baby’s needs. In the rush of all the chaos and loud cries, you think to yourself “what have I done?” You start to question yourself as a mother and you wonder how you are going to be able to meet the needs of this baby and at the speed they desire. You really doubt yourself in this stage and really need assurance and support from your spouse, family, and friends. You need to build yourself back up from self-doubt with support. It also builds confidence within as you master some of the new tasks of being a mom.

3-Exhaustion-Now, that you’re a few months in, the exhaustion really begins to kick in. You are more tired than you have ever been before in your entire life. Then, you see the smiles and the coos of this little human and all the exhaustion feels somewhat of a small side effect to such an enormous love you have growing inside of you for this tiny being. 

4-Adjustment-You’re about four to six months in on this motherhood journey and you’re starting to conquer simple tasks like going to the store successfully, running errands with a baby in tow, and doing the normal things again like making it through a quiet dinner with your spouse. You’re now getting into somewhat of a routine and rhythm. You are finally adjusting to life as a mom.

5-Perseverance-Around the six months time frame, you learn to rise above those terrible diapers that soiled the adorable outfit he or she had only been wearing for an hour. You are starting to feel more like yourself again. You find a way to give your child the attention he or she deserves, while also keeping your home tidy, working a job, and making time for your spouse. You learn that taking care of yourself is just as important as everyone else, although there never seems to be enough time in the day for that oh so needed bubble bath or fresh coat of polish on your nails. Somehow, you’re okay with it because your home and everyone in it is taken care of and that’s now what true happiness and satisfaction feels like.

6-Smitten-When your baby really starts developing and showing major milestones and personality, you really become smitten. This happened for me between the seven to nine month mark. I just started falling deeply and madly in love with my little boy! I couldn’t get enough of his smile, his laughs, his bright blue eyes, and just watching him do something fascinating everyday as his curiosity for the world began to take over. When he said “Mama” for the first time, my heart just filled with so much joy. This stage is different for everyone. Some mothers say they fell in love with their baby at first glance, but I truly think just like any other relationship that it develops over time. 

7-Crazy-This is when you know you have totally lost your marbles, because somehow you have this deep urge to do it all over again. When life finally gets a little more predictable and easier, you want to have another baby. This is the final stage of new motherhood and I can attest this is real. My husband and I were convinced we were a one and done family, but our son is such a shining light in our lives that I know we are going to miss this stage and crave it one more time.

Can you relate with these stages? How has each stage of new motherhood affected you? Though the journey to become a mother may look different for everyone, the journey of motherhood unites us all through love. A mother’s love is unlike anything you will ever experience. You cannot fully comprehend it until you become a mother yourself and you will be changed forever. 

© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2020.

a headshot of the author Wendi Iacobello and her son

Wendi Iacobello is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Master of Arts in Educational Media. She also has a BS degree in Early Childhood Education. Her professional career in education spans across nine years in the public education sector to include; middle and high school special education, adult education for incarcerated men, women, & youth, compensatory education, High School Equivalency instruction formerly known as GED, and community college instruction in Early Childhood Education curriculum courses. Wendi has been an Army Spouse since 2015 and became a first time mom in the fall of 2019. In addition to being a stay at home mom, she is a freelance writer and online education consultant. She has been published in multiple military affiliated websites and magazines such as; Fort Bragg’s In-Motion Magazine, Military Spouse Magazine, and Legacy Magazine to name a few. Her hobbies include; volunteering in the local community, gardening, teaching group fitness classes on the military installation, and encouraging the military community through her blog Strength 4 Spouses. She believes that inner strength is developed through four pillars; fitness, faith, volunteerism, and finding purpose. Strength 4 Spouses inspires and empowers military spouses to find and develop their inner strength to build the resiliency needed for military life.