For many women becoming a mum is one of their greatest sources of pleasure and achievement. When they finally hold the tiny bundle of life that they carried for 9 months the bliss and happiness they feel is unparalleled.
Because motherhood is unique for every woman there are some questions that no one can really answer. However, many women go face the same challenges, so we’ve put together some advice for mums-to-be.
Look after yourself
Part of the beauty of becoming a mother is the purpose it brings to your life. The feeling of boundless love that a mother has for her child is a huge source of joy for many new mothers. But while these emotions can carry you through the demands of new parenthood, it’s still important to take care of yourself as best you can. Be sure to eat well, keep hydrated, accept offers of help (especially if they involve changing dirty nappies) and ask for help if you need it.
Yes your sleep will be disrupted! But it is temporary, and you will probably be able to push past that ‘overtired’ feeling and get things done. That said, if you really need to get some sleep make sure you do. (Sleep deprivation can turn even the nicest person into a crank.) If you can sleep when your baby is asleep that’s great—the housework can wait!
Some fretting is inevitable
The bond between a mother and her child is one of the strongest connections in nature. Because of this, mothers are always on a higher alert level when it comes to their children. So, it’s not realistic to try not to worry no matter what well‑meaning relatives or friends say. Just accept the new ‘Mama Bear’ side to your personality; it won’t cloud your enjoyment of family life.
All parents mess up
Everyone has a voice in their head that lists what they are doing wrong and what they ‘should’ be doing. That voice can seem quite loud when you are a new mum and there will be times when you wonder if what you are doing is enough.
When you feel self-doubt, remind yourself that your worth as a mum doesn’t come from how tidy your house is or how fast your baby belly is disappearing. As long as both you and your little one are wearing clean(ish) clothes, are fed, happy and healthy, you are doing great.
Find a play group that you enjoy
Play group is for parents! It’s an opportunity to meet other parents who have children similar in age to yours, learn some childcare tips, and just get out of the house. That said, make sure that you find a play group that you enjoy going to—it shouldn’t be a chore!
Rather than focusing on fixed plans and goals, think about what your parenting values are. Then you can apply your values to any situation, which can be helpful if you are getting a lot of contradictory advice, and/or the circumstances are unexpected.
If being a loving mum and spending time with your baby matters to you, when something unplanned occurs—such as not being able to breastfeed—it’s easier to handle if you know that your values are covered.
A sense of humour is essential!
It’s important, when you are over being a mum, to remember that your child brings you more joy than grief. So, on the odd occasion when things get covered in poo, have a good laugh about it afterwards rather than letting it get you down.
There will be tough times. But finding the humour in the small things can help you get through difficult moments. Laughing at the crazy things that your child does, the unsolicited advice you get from strangers, and laughing at yourself, is healthy! Laughter is great for our mental and physical health, it lowers our blood pressure, encourages the release of endorphins, and helps us to keep things in perspective.
The rewards are worth it
Take it easy on yourself while you navigate your journey into parenthood. Mothers all around the globe want to be the perfect mother, but the truth is no one is perfect—as your child learns and grows so will you. One of the benefits of parenting is that it can make you a better person. Plus you get to watch your child grow, guide them through new experiences, and get countless smiles and hugs. You will gain more than you ever could imagine when you become a mum.