This is the number one misconception/self-judgment I hear from new moms: I thought this was supposed to be the happiest time in my life (and then the part they might not say: but I don’t feel happy). THAT’S OKAY. It is absolutely okay to not enjoy every moment with your baby. Especially right after you get home with your new little one, there are so many things to think about, so much physical recovery to do, so many hormones trying to get all rebalanced in your body – you often don’t feel very happy or serene. It does not mean that you don’t love your baby if you don’t love how you are feeling in these early days. It just means you’re adjusting and it’s messy.

The key to maintaining your mental health in the early days is practicing acceptance. Accept that you feel exhausted and weepy. Accept that you don’t feel like doing the dishes. Accept that you don’t love every minute. Accept whatever you are feeling, and let go of the interpretation that there’s something wrong with you. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. And you will feel better eventually. But judging yourself against some impossible standard or on what you think you “should” be feeling is a set-up to feel worse.

Try this brief practice to help honor your feelings instead of judging them:

R: Recognize what you’re feeling. Check in with your body and see what sensations you notice.

A: Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Name it if you can. Allow it to be with you, without trying to reject or resist it.

I: Investigate your feeling with a gentle curiosity. What is it trying to tell you?

N: Nurture yourself. Ask yourself what kind of care or compassion you might need, given what you are feeling. Give yourself the care you need.