This is a guest post from Rachel Hawkes, Buddha Buddies
Being a new mum - no book, app or research can prepare! Overnight your life completely changes. Many women believe when they are pregnant that their life will be exactly the same as before, just with a baby. Oh my, what a rude awakening that can be!
Not only are you suddenly meant to become some sort of 'baby whisperer' but also to cope with your body post-nataly too! The trauma of birth becomes a taboo subject and you should now be portraying a glowing earth mother - preferably surrounded by an aura of tranquility!!
The truth is very different for most new mums. Even the most 'textbook' of births can be exhausting, painful and very, very long. For those babies that arrive unexpectedly and early there is often early onset guilt - 'was it something I did', 'I should have known something was wrong'. Then we add a baby, hospital trip, breastfeeding and that's all before we even get home.
Sleep deprivation kicks in quickly, combined with coping with a new baby and the pressure to breastfeed and those early days often lead to a massive overwhelm.
So, you are now at home, pass the blur of those first few days and the accumulation of lack of sleep is being to take its toll. Gone are the days when generations lived in the same village and offered support. Now, partners take off 1-2 weeks, parents pop in to cuddle the baby, friends drop of lovely presents and then, we are on our own.
What happens, the guilt kicks in. We should be able to handle our baby, cook dinner, clean the house and of course, look amazing too! You look at Social Media, everyone else looks they are having the most amazing time with their new baby or juggling the family and a fabulous career. Surely it's just you?
YOU ARE NOT ALONE – Honestly, this is something that I think every mum feels, not just once you have your baby. It is an emotion that we battle with as soon as our little one comes and often never leaves. In my classes, where I've been teaching baby massage & yoga for 14 years it is something I see all the time. It only takes one Mum to speak up, then they all chip in. The truth is that as a mum we are all faced with challenges, as individual as our personalities. However, the good news is:
- You are not alone
- There are things you can do to help yourself
What can I Do?
- Find some support, from friends and family but also further afield. Join some baby classes locally, there are plenty of different activities out there. Connect with people in person, do not just rely on 'virtual support', the posts on Facebook or WhatsApp. It is important that you find other mums who are going through the same stage as you, support of likeminded mums is a very powerful thing!
- Get out and about. Leave the house, even if it takes you an hour to do it. If you don't drive, then go for a walk with the buggy. If you can get out to classes, or meet up with friends then do. Getting fresh air is not only good for the body but also for your emotional state. Also, to go out you have to make an effort to get dressed, and sometimes that can seem an unachievable mountain all on its own. You don't need to be dressed for a night out with full makeup, just not in a onesie!
- Try some Mindfulness. I know it is the buzz word at the moment but it can really help create moments where you can feel connected to yourself again. It is also amazing to use with babies! If you are new to the whole Mindfulness thing then I recommend some great apps, cards, and groups below. The thing is to find a way that works for you.
Ditch the Guilt
So being a new mum is not the picture of mother earth delight it is often cracked up to be.
Days when you don't actually have time to brush your teeth? When you beg to just have 10 minutes to shower, or even drink a hot cup of tea! When you are so filled with that unique combo of tiredness, joy and overwhelm, we all have been there. You are part of a tribe that acknowledges your guilt - but I can tell you to let that stuff go! You are doing an amazing job!