Surviving the first year of motherhood.
Whether you have loved or hated your pregnancy, had a drug free or medicated labour and birth, breast or bottle fed, I believe every one of us spend those first few weeks after thinking the same thing ‘right what happens now’. Its such a lovely time but let’s be honest its massively difficult too. You are, at least I definitely was, in a new mummy brain fog. I listened and asked for advice from others all along, some helped, some made things worse and some just made me feel totally inadequate, so I am in no way trying to say I have the whole thing figured out, not at all. These are simply things I wish someone had said to me and that with hindsight would have definitely helped me along that first year, where the days were so very long, but the months flew by too quick.
- Its ok if you don’t turn into a mother overnight. From everything everyone had said to me, I had expected this sudden change in myself overnight and as much as when Abbie was handed to me I instantly knew this tiny baby would change my life I am not going to lie and say I felt every maternal instinct kick in immediately. This was a gradual progression for me and I found I fell in love with Abbie for different reasons with every extra day I had her. Bear in mind your body has just spent almost a year growing a human and childbirth is not easy! Let yourself heal and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel all the things on those motherhood blogs instantly!
- There’s a lot to be said for asking for help! You do not have to do everything yourself to be a good mummy. In those first few days and weeks, I put so much pressure on myself to be the one to do all Abbie’s feeds, be the only one to bath her, put her to sleep and it didn’t do me or her any good. Its ok to take help so you can take a shower longer than 30 seconds, have a sleep or just lie in bed for 10 minutes with your phone, doing these things do not make you a bad mother they just make you human and if I had only realised this a bit sooner maybe I wouldn’t have ended up going down the road I did.
- You are the boss. Nobody knows your child like you do. Again, if I had realised this I might not have given myself such a hard time. Learning to trust yourself as a mother is not easy and takes time, but I wish someone had said this to me.
- Its OK to go a little crazy, there were days my hair was threw on top of my head, I had been in the same pyjamas for longer than I would like to admit, and I was singing George Ezra songs at the top of my voice to a tiny human who likely thought I had lost the plot. This is OK! Sleep deprivation can do wonderful things to people!
- This whole ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ and ‘the housework will keep’ is all well and good but I think its unrealistic advice to give new mothers. Things have to be done and a normal routine is what saved my sanity in the end. Yes of course have your off days and take those quiet moments with your baby when you can, but a lot of the advice today paints a picture like ‘The Walton’s’ and I just don’t think its fair or realistic to mothers.
- You get no thanks for being a martyr, this is a slippery slope I think. I made the mistake of doing everything myself and silently holding grudges towards others I believed should understand how I feel. This built and built in my head and if I had just said how I was feeling I would have realised everyone around me was willing to help!
- Its OK not to enjoy ‘every single moment’. Again, all the advice and things you read are all about the wonder of becoming a mother. I loved those first few months with Abbie and would not change them for the world, but it can be very lonely. There are days where you have tried everything, and your baby is unhappy, and you find yourself having conversations with yourself. Its OK to admit this and it passes, the good parts far outweigh the bad.
- The small things are the big things. I put pressure on myself to go to the good baby classes and read the right books and make sure she was eating the right things, in the end these things fade away when your baby sits up for the first time, says their first word. I think its so important to appreciate these small things because as time goes on, these are the things I remember about Abbie, not the lovely clothes she wore or the stress I put probably both of us through to get to a baby class, it’s the way she looked at me when she stood for the first time or the first time she had a biscuit that sticks in my head and those are the things I know I won’t forget.
I really want to stress that I am in no way the person to go to for advice on motherhood, I am not an expert. I just wanted to share the things with you that I wish I had been told myself and hopefully make even one person who is in that ‘top-knot, George Ezra singing phase’ feel just wee bit better! When a baby is born, a mummy is born too and its OK to give yourself time to grow into that role. Hope you all have a lovely Bank holiday weekend.
Love Ro x