Happy Mother’s Day! It’s Mother’s Day here in Australia, so I thought I’d share a few words of wisdom to new mums or mums to be. Congratulations by the way!
As a new mum you will receive a lot of unsolicited advice. This post contains some too, but hopefully it turns out to be helpful. Whatever advice you do receive, remember that it is your choice to use it or not. Each mum is different and each baby is different, so trust your instincts, because what will work for others may not work for you.
The first few months as a mum are daunting and are downright exhausting. You’re like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Something momentous has happened to your life and your brain is unable to comprehend the irrevocable change. This is something you can never prepare for. No amount of reading baby books or talking to friends with children will ever prepare you for what bringing a newborn home will be like. Just go with the flow. Try not to fight it and remember to breathe…deeply! I’m making this sound scarier than it is, but really change can also be invigorating. I found it a relief that I was no longer the centre of my universe and that I could think of someone else for a change, rather than only my needs and wants. It can take a bit of time adjusting though.
Cry as much as you like! It’s normal and you’ll immediately feel better. Your body will be a whirling vortex of hormones. You’re not in control anymore! So don’t try to hide you’re emotions, especially as post natal depression effects 1 in 7 new mothers. If you are finding yourself having problems functioning there is no stigma in getting help. Speak up and keep reminding yourself that things will get easier.
You probably have a loving circle of support around you, so use them. Whether it’s cooking meals, holding baby while you have a shower or to catch up on some sleep. They really want to cuddle that baby of yours, so let them. It’s important to get some ‘me time’ to normalise yourself…you’ll be a better mother if you are rested and well.
Eat well and drink lots of fluids. You’ll really need the energy, especially if you’re breast feeding and/or crying! Forget about looking at celebrity idiots who think they need to walk the red carpet two weeks after having their babies. It’s not reality. Having a baby is a major achievement. Your body has just produced a small human being so it’s time to nurture and cocoon yourself for a while. Your body needs time to recover. Celebrities can only do what they do because of a myriad of personal trainers, chefs, nannies and let’s not forget, some serious support underwear!
Don’t worry about how clean and tidy the house is. Visitors are there to see you and your baby, not to inspect the cleanliness of your toilet! Admittedly I failed this miserably. I couldn’t let go of tidying and cleaning the house when family and friends visited, even though I was delirious from sleep deprivation. This also corresponds nicely to controlling when and who visits you and whether you visit anyone. If you’ve had a crap night with a screaming baby, it is perfectly ok to cancel anything and everything. Everyone will understand.
And lastly, when you’re almost at breaking point and you’re dreaming of flying to Fiji, your baby will give you a beautiful smile that will make all the sleeplessness, sore nipples and mind numbing routines worthwhile. I remember daydreaming of booking in to a hotel to sleep, Sleep, SLEEP (come to think of it, I still dream of it). And even though you believe you’ll never sleep again…you will, I swear it…though admittedly not for a while 😉
Well that’s it. Being a mother has certainly been the most full filling and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Try to enjoy them when they are small as they grow up so fast. Cherish their vulnerability and need for unconditional love. I guarantee you’ll get it back in abundance.