For Sarah Wright Olsen, her most personal ambition is being "mom." You may know the multi-hyphenate as the co-Founder of the parenting community Your Zen Mama, which later led to a book rich of resources and guides for moms and moms-to-be, the founder of the clean skincare line for baby, Bāeo, or from her work as an actress, author and host of the Mother Daze podcast. But her three little ones—Esme, Winter and Wyatt—have undoubtedly been her biggest inspirations yet.
Olsen has created a cornerstone of the Internet ripe with vulnerability around the challenges of motherhood and grounding wisdom for moms looking to find their center through it all. Her book, The Zen Mama Guide to Finding Your Rhythm in Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond, which she wrote with her co-Founder Teresa Palmer, shares both personal experiences and expert-backed guidance for navigating everything from fertility challenges and pregnancy loss to juggling work and multiple children.
So, we couldn't think of anyone better to pen an essay on the ten things she would tell her herself before becoming a mom. Some of them may surprise you—read on below.
1. Try not to worry so much.
Remind yourself that you and baby are safe and you are doing great, mama.
2. You don’t need a ton of stuff.
You can get a few things that have been highly recommended but wait and see what you need before buying the strollers, the carriers, the swings and all the many baby things. You may have a baby who just wants to be held who could care less about wooden toys, who loves a drawer full of Tupperware, or who sleeps like a dream in a swaddle.
3. Your friendships may feel different at first.
But don’t worry—you will find so many amazing friends in motherhood and your children will grow together in a beautiful way.
4. Allow yourself the time to feel like you again.
Don’t be in a hurry to pull up your jeans or to stay up late. Don’t try to show everyone that you are the same girl just with a baby now. You are going to grow. Your world is going to shift. And you can get comfortable with the flow. There is so much beauty and growth in the unknown. You will love who is waiting on the other side.
5. Stop and enjoy the newborn nap.
Newborn naps are magical. Don’t be in rush to clean the house or answer all the emails or fold the laundry. Take a moment and enjoy the newborn naps. Breath in the smell, look at the little fingers and toes, think about all the moments that led to this one and sit in the gratitude. Not every nap will be like this, but just remember to take in these moments every now and then because they are fleeting, because you love them the most, because when you don’t you feel guilty and when you do you feel guilty—and you just need to let all of that go.
6. Tomorrow is another day.
When things feel hard and you feel lonely just remember that tomorrow is another day, Showers fix a lot of problems, you need to move your body and have a moment alone. And it is okay and important to ask for help.
7. Having postpartum blues doesn’t make you a bad mom.
Our hormones are fluctuating so much through pregnancy and postpartum. In our book The Zen Mama's Guide to Finding Your Rhythm Through Pregnancy Birth and Beyond, we talk in depth about postpartum, baby blues, postpartum anxiety and depression. There are so many things you can do to make this postpartum experience gentler for you and your little one and it's normal to feel waves of emotions during this time.
8. Lean into the word "surrender" when it comes to birth.
You cannot control your birth experience. You just need to trust your body and ride the waves. Your body knows what to do. You will read so many stories, you will have so many ideas, but when the day comes just let it all go and follow your body.
9. Your baby will not be like anyone else’s baby.
Don’t compare, don’t worry when you see a six-month-old rolling over, don’t stress when your baby is the last baby in mommy and me class to crawl, to pull up or to walk.
10. Every postpartum body is different and yours will be different with each baby.
Let it all go. Your body is amazing and look at what it can do! It can grow and birth giant (11 pound) babies. Honor it and be thankful for it. Every mark, every dimple, every loose area of skin is a memory of what you carried to get here. Ignore the noise of others, the photos of snap back bodies, and just let yourself be happy. You can enjoy this time. You do not need to judge yourself or put any pressure on yourself to be anywhere other than where you are right now.
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