Having a new born to care for can be amazing and beautiful. But it can also be overwhelming, exhausting and all-consuming. Babies are so adorable – who doesn’t love a baby?! But whilst a lot of attention and loving is focused typically on this wonderous new little human, mums often feel unnoticed and in the background, depleted physically, and emotionally. Mums can lose their sense of self and their sense of individuality in this new experience and massive transition, so it is particularly important at this time to gather in all of your resources and support networks to allow yourself to recover and rebuild.
Enforced and uninterrupted REST is a MUST.
This is not luxury – this should be thought of as a basic necessity! Rest can aid in your postpartum recovery and improve a number of issues: it can help to shorten post birth bleeding, alleviate general grumpiness and irritability, and even stimulate milk production. So even though you might be feeling the urge to cook, clean, tidy up, watch tv or surf the net whilst your baby naps, resist at all costs and press pause. Just lie down to catch some shut eye. Even if you don’t fall asleep, staring into space and zoning out for a short while can be enough to clear the head and re-energise for the next round of baby duties.
Slow down and Practice Letting Go.
Cut yourself a whole lot of slack. If you have the resources, outsource the mundane stuff to someone else – get a cleaner, order groceries online for home delivery, and ask family and friends to send you a meal or two. Who cares if you eat takeaway a few nights a week, or wear the same outfit a few days in a row – less laundry for you Hooray! And if you don’t get a chance to shower for one day – No one will care! All you need is a wash towel or wet wipe for a quick ‘dry wash’, a spritz of perfume, and some great dry shampoo, and Voila – fresh as a daisy again.
Stop worrying and throw your expectations out the window!
It’s normal not to enjoy every single moment in your babies’ new life. Some days are wonderful and bubbling over with love and laughter, others are boring and repetitive as hell and will make you want to climb the walls to escape. These are the days you will need to call for help and get out of the house. There is no right or wrong, anything goes in the first few weeks and months. Know and accept that life with a newborn is completely unpredictable. Babies are not robots who work according to a manual. They have their own unique personalities and their brains and bodies develop at light speed. Put down the books and stop comparing yourself and your baby to everyone else – this is just one big punish.
Sunlight and fresh air is one of the best natural therapies.
It’s great for uplifting a dull mood and even better -its free! Going for a walk with your baby in the pram each day, especially at the common afternoon “witching hour“ can be enough to get you out of a rut and can help clear the mind, get the blood flowing. It’s also a great opportunity to listen to your favourite music, audio book or podcast.
Feel it don’t conceal it.
Some of the best advice we could give new mums is to be yourself. Be open and honest with your partner, family and friends about how you are doing and ask for help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Don’t be a martyr – there are no rewards for mums who choose to tough it out in silence – only suffering. Along with the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn, there is also a hormonal cocktail reaching peaks and troughs in your body like never before. You are not only recovering physically and mentally from birth but you may also be learning the new skill of breastfeeding along with newborn care. So it’s no wonder you might be feeling overwhelmed, irritable, sad, uncomfortable, or generally foggy and simply not yourself. Pretending that everything is hunky dory on the surface can just leave you feeling frustrated, resentful and even more isolated and lonely.
Rally for support and bring in the experts early on.
Don’t wait until you are at your wits end. It’s much harder to re-balance and come back to centre when you have reached desperation point. Doulas, midwives, mothercraft nurses, lactation, sleep and settling consultants, trusted family members and friends, and mothers groups – could potentially offer you respite, great advice and much needed connection. If the first mothers group doesn’t click for you, don’t be afraid to shop around – your mother tribe may not be the one you are initially assigned to. Once you do find your peeps, you’ll be amazed at how quickly other mums can open up, empathise and share their experiences. Being open and real is a natural elixir for connection.
All of these might seem like tricky patterns to break or unfamiliar new habits to form, but with practice this can all become a part of the new journey and new you. You deserve to look out for yourself. All women deserve to be eased gently into new motherhood, feeling supported and loved and nurtured, and at the end of the day it has to start with you, leading the way.
If you feel as though you would like some extra support in motherhood or are craving to connect with other new mums, please check out our Mama Nurture group or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org