Being a new mum is hard. No matter how maternal we are or aren’t, nothing can prepare us for the shock of having our own baby. A little person who is completely and utterly reliant on us.
We all wing it
I remember while I was pregnant with Ella assuming I would automatically know what to do with this baby who was growing inside me. Never once did I give any thought to the sleep deprivation, the crying, the feeding, the nappy changes, the difficulty of leaving the house on time and the absolute winging of motherhood for the first
few weeks nine years.
I had such ridiculous and idealistic visions of me glamorously strolling with her peacefully sleeping in her pram while I shopped, drank coffee and met friends for lunch.
These high expectations I put upon myself as a new mum were crazy. When it came to the reality, I was shell shocked. I NEVER seemed capable of remembering anything I was supposed to have with me – I was this idiot walking around with a baby and nothing else. No nappies, wipes, changes of clothes, mosquito repellant (a necessity for Thailand) any kind of protection from the sun (another necessity for tropical climates). Basically anything I could forget, I would. The minute I stopped breastfeeding, I forgot food, snacks, water, milk. I was a disaster. But actually, it was ok. It didn’t matter!
While I was pretty ridiculous and disorganised to the extreme, no harm came of it and has had no bearing upon her life at all… apart from finding it funny when we talk about it.
Far too often, new parents put such high expectations on themselves that they can only fail.
It’s common to lose a bit of confidence after the birth of your first baby. Everything you once knew is turned completely on its head. But once you accept that it’s ok to struggle, it’s completely normal to get things wrong, and it really is ok to talk about how you’re feeling, everything gets a whole lot easier. Speak to any mother and you’ll find that we have all felt the same at one point or another.
The important thing to remember is that if your baby is happy and healthy you’ve done it. You’re winning. Being a new mum doesn’t mean you’re not a great mum!
In the dead of night when you’re desperately trying to calm your screaming baby, take stock and remember this is not forever. You may temporarily be lost in a haze of reflux, nappies and night feeds but this won’t be it – for always.
Embrace those first smiles, that first giggle, the pure love in your baby’s eyes. That makes up for everything else they may well throw at you!
Another important thing new mums try to do is keep up. Not taking time for themselves or time to adjust to this HUGE new way of life.
Take time out for yourself
I made the mistake of trying to carry on regardless. Keep up with my work, keep up my social life, keep up the house decorating, all while learning how to be a mummy. I should have just taken time out for myself and taken a step back from it all.
If you don’t, there’s a chance you’ll simply burn out and then you’ll be no good to anybody.
Find your support network and use them. Whether it’s your husband, partner, friends, family or all of the above; they are ready to help unburden that heavy load you may well be carrying.
Perfection does not, has not and will not exist
Don’t aim for perfection – it doesn’t exist and never ever compare yourself to anyone else. You rock and you can do this thing we call parenting!
It’s so important we support each other. For more posts relating to newborn needs click here, to read about supporting each other click here and to learn more about being an expat family, click here