I feel like I am surrounded by babies at the moment, many friends are pregnant or have recently given birth. There are lots of my favourite bloggers expecting or writing and taking pictures of their new arrivals. A new baby is so exciting but definitely overwhelming. When I first had Meme I was blown away – it was hard work, harder than I ever really expected because, let’s face it, before children, many of us have no idea – it is life changing! Now, I’m no expert, but after being a Mummy for almost 6 years here are a few little things that I have learnt.
It’s ok … to need some time. It may take a while to feel better physically – now this will not be the case for everyone but it definitely was for me. With Meme I had forceps and I definitely struggled with the aftermath – I knew pregnancy was going to be tough as was labour but I actually never thought about how my body would feel afterwards. It was hard and took a lot longer than I thought. With Harri I had a fast natural birth, it was a much better labour than Meme, I felt a million times better. However, in reality, whilst it was easier, my body had still just had a baby and after over doing it (because I felt fine) I was poorly and I realised I still needed time to recover. It took time but my body finally healed.
It’s ok …. to put a bit of weight on. You may not be able to get back in your pre-pregnancy clothes straight away (if ever!). I never bought many pregnancy clothes with Meme, I thought it was a waste. I heard all these stories of people leaving the hospital back in their size 8 skinny jeans and I naively thought that would be me… it wasn’t. I always remember flicking through magazines and seeing pictures of celebrities looking amazing straight after having a baby and it used to depress me until one day it finally dawned on me – this is not real life – this is expensive personal trainers, nannies to do the night feeds, expensive flattering designer clothes and, of course, Photoshop!
It’s ok …to cry. I cried a lot. It is such a whirlwind of emotions mixed with your body healing and lack of sleep. With Meme I honestly thought I was going crazy, I was a crying mess. Some nights I found myself feeding her in the middle of the night crying with exhaustion. Please know this wont last forever, it will pass (and obviously speaking to your Dr or Health Visitor can always help) … which leads me nicely onto the next point.
It’s ok…. to admit you’re tired. If your experience is anything like mine you will be exhausted – you can read every parenting book, you can talk to every Mum and Dad you know about their experience but nothing, and I mean nothing, will prepare you for the sleepless nights. It may range from broken sleep to less sleep than normal to no sleep at all. It is tough, it is scary and, with your first, you may think that your life as you know it is over – it certainly felt that way for me. Things get better though – by saying this I don’t mean you will be back to your 8 hours before you know it – for some, those days are over – what I mean is, you adapt.
It’s ok…. to change. We all say parenthood wont change us – we will go out, we will still see friends, we will still get drunk of a weekend but, hand on heart, parenthood does change a person. I am completely different as a Mum, I very rarely go out drinking, I dress differently because my 4 inch heels just don’t cut it on my daily trip to the park, I make sandwiches for trips out and my handbag tends to be a Frozen backpack. It took a while for me to accept this and I definitely questioned my identity at times but I’m ok with it now. I don’t want to spend my weekends hungover not being able to pay my girls attention. I don’t want to miss out on playing hide and seek because I can’t run in my heels, I don’t want my girls to be grumpy because we are hungry and I want to be able to fit treats and toys in my bag to keep them happy. Do I feel like a bore sometimes – yes, do I feel a mess at times – yes, do I wish I could jump on a plane with my friends for a chilled out week in the sun… most definitely but, as a Mum, my priorities have changed. It’s sometimes boring, most of the time messy and I have no clue what it feels like to be chilled out but, it’s my choice and I wouldn’t change it for the world. So I’m not saying once you have a child you have to hang up your heels but I am saying, if you want to, then that’s fine.
It’s ok… to make up your own rules. Every single person will have an opinion and I struggled with this at first, thinking everyone around me knew better than me. My Mum, for example, always said you must warm a babies milk. Meme was a terrible eater and I was up the wall frantically warming bottles and cooling bottles all because I thought I had to. One day she was hysterically crying and, exhausted, I just gave her a bottle at room temperature. She drank it, she enjoyed it, she didn’t catch a cold, she wasn’t sick and I didn’t receive a visit from social services – it was fine. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Instead of getting stressed out over silly things that don’t necessarily matter in the grand scheme of things, make your life as easy as possible and cut yourself some slack. It could mean bottle instead of breast, jar food instead of homemade food, a working Mummy instead of a SAHM – everyone will have an opinion but ultimately it’s only yours that matters.
Do you have any tips for new Mummys?