Navigating motherhood as a new mother
Nothing really prepares you fully for becoming a mother. You are not only bringing a new child to the world but you are also birthing a new you. It’s a real transition in life and no one really talks about it that much. All the focus is usually on preparing for the new baby and the wonderful feelings that you will feel.
In reality you are not only discovering this new person that you have grown but you will also find out about a different side of you, especially when you experience all these intense new emotions, thoughts and even fears that you have not felt in such a way before.
Thinking back on my journey into motherhood as well as conversations I have had with friends and clients, I can safely say that it is a wonderful life changing experience that comes with abundant joy but also many different challenges. All I can say to you mama is that you can totally rock this and by the end of the first year you will find how resilient, strong and full of love you are. I wanted to share a couple of tips that a new mother may find helpful.
Ask for help and be kind to yourself
Looking after a new born baby is very demanding and it takes a lot of energy. This combined with your body trying to heal and your hormones stabilising is a lot to deal with. It’s totally normal to struggle to get everything else done whilst looking after yourself and your little one. Feeling tired, overwhelmed and wanting a break from everything is also very common. I remember there were days when I was still in my PJs well into the afternoon. The best thing was realising that I was not the only one. Accept any help that comes for you way! If help hasn’t been offered, then ask your family, friends, husband to provide you with the support you need. Ask for the help, take it without a second thought and please don’t feel guilty. Forget about doing the cleaning, cooking, washing etc. Your well being and sanity is much more important. Rest and sleep whenever your baby does, it will help balance your energy and just take this time for yourself.
Trust your gut
I remember having so many people providing me with unsolicited opinions about how to look after my little one. Some were helpful and others were just annoying and made me doubt my approach and my capabilities. As a new mother, go with what feels right to you. When people try to push their opinions or preferred practices on you, respectfully thank them and just ignore what they say. There is nothing wrong with standing your ground. This is your child and, as they say, mother knows best. And if you are unsure, seek the opinion of a proper expert. Share any worries that you have with a professional, they are here for you. Whilst the health assessors and midwives can be absolutely amazing and full of wonderful advice, make sure that you don’t let the odd ones make you question your capabilities and go with the approach and timeframe that feels right for you. I didn’t follow everything to the letter and not only did it make my life easier but it also allowed my daughter to flourish in her own time.
Socialise when you can
When you feel ready, try to get out and about and meet other mums. If you attended the antenatal classes and you met some lovely ladies, reach out to them and create a whatsapp group. It takes the first person to share their challenges and struggles for everyone else to pipe up too.
They might be able to share what has and hasn’t worked for them. Great options to connect with other women also include attending baby yoga or baby massage classes, going to the nursery rhymes at the library or attending some of the events run by Kensington Mums. Reach out to these mothers and give out your number. Don’t be shy, these communities are there for that.
This too shall pass
Remember mothers that these babies grow so quickly. Everyone used to say this to me and at the time I just thought sure, I can’t see that happening. The sleepless nights, the spit up, the endless nappy changes felt like this would be my new norm.
When my little one was born, I wasted a lot of energy trying to lead a life that resembled the old one and when I couldn’t (for obvious reasons), I worried about what my life will be. Then my GP say to me one day “Things get so much better after three months and after six months, it’s easier”. So my mantra was “This is only for a short time. Everything is ok.” I am 21 months in and I can truly say that time does go really fast. These babies will grow and you will soon be able to reconnect to yourself and have some time to breathe. So my parting advice is to enjoy your beautiful newborn as much as possible. Get as many cuddles as you can before they change and only want to run away and explore the world.