I was so excited when my sister became pregnant. I finally get to become an aunt. She’ll get to experience being a mom and how that love changes you. But along with the feelings of excitement and anticipation for my nephew’s arrival, there is also this feeling of worry.

It brings me back to my own new mom experience. The tough adjustment I experienced. The anxiety I felt on a daily basis. The trips to the therapist to work through my postpartum depression. The feelings of sadness as I held my beautiful baby girl. It’s hard to not project my own experience on to my sister. She’s strong and independent and will be a great mom.

But, being the sister I am, I can’t help but share some lessons I’ve learned:

You’ll still love your husband, but you’ll be jealous. There may even be moments when you’ll want to poke him in the eye. Honestly, those feelings are OK. You’ll feel like your husband got out of this experience unscathed as you put on your ginormous industrial-strength hospital-issued maxi pads post delivery, but he’s doing his best, too. Lean on him for support. He wants to be there any way he can. He just doesn’t know exactly what you need until you speak up.

The house is going to be a mess at times. You’ll be so tired that the dishes will pile up. You won’t get to the laundry when you want to. Things will be out of place. I wish I could say this is temporary, but little people really don’t care about the concept of tidiness. When friends and family come to visit, they’ll understand the condition of your house (if they even notice). Actually, they will probably be too busy gushing over your bundle of joy that they won’t care about the mess or the fact you haven’t showered yet that day.

Nothing will ever be perfect — and your baby won’t care either way. They just want to eat, sleep, and feel your warmth as they lay on your chest. Baby cuddles are so much more important than making life appear like a highlight reel 24/7.

Ask for help, and don’t be shy or too proud. If people offer help, take it! One part of being a great mom is enlisting help when you need it most. However, be careful of the advice you receive. Some people can’t help but tell you how you should do things. They may have you questioning whether you’re doing it “right.” Motherhood does not come with an instruction manual. Your best will always be enough for your baby. You get to decide how to take care of your baby. If it works for your little family, who cares what anyone else has to say or think!

Target is life. Yes, when you leave home without your baby the first few times, it’s incredibly hard. You’ll be wondering if they’re OK or if they need you. Maybe something bad will happen without you there, but know that sometimes a solo trip to Target can be just as relaxing as a trip to the spa. In fact, go to the spa too. Never forget that you’ll need moments for you.

Your post-baby body is fierce and strong. It just did something amazing, so don’t beat up on yourself.

Oh, and don’t give up on the things you loved pre-baby. Yes, you’re now a mom, which comes with huge responsibilities, but you still get to be you. It is possible to be a mom and still have your passions and interests.

There’s so much more to say, but I know you’ll figure out motherhood in your own way. And when you experience the highs and lows of your journey, I’ll do my best to be there for you. Just like you were there for me.

Darcel Hunt-Finegold
Darcel Hunt-Finegold is a wife, mother, and life-long Bostonian. Her life passions are education and fitness. She is a proponent of public education and works as a high school teacher in the Boston Public Schools. Darcel's own personal health journey inspired her to earn a personal training and group fitness certification as well as create her brand, “Living the QuoBreaking Life.” She encourages women to step out of their comfort zone to create life by their design via mindset and fitness. Darcel loves to run, hike, cook brunch, and discover new places in the New England area with her daughter, husband, and Pomeranian, Brady.