You become a mum in an instant. It’s exciting and a little scary at the same time. The first few days and weeks are about getting to know your baby. Lots of bonding, learning to feed, bathe and settle your baby among all other new beginnings.
But we can also start to feel alone and become so entrenched in this new journey that we start to not look after ourselves.
Here are some questions you might want to think about.
Are you giving yourself the love and respect you deserve?
Are you trusting your judgement?
Are you spending time doing what you love?
If you’re struggling with this, like many mums are, it’s time to take some action.
You may be feeling overwhelmed and emotional. You might not trust what your doing is right. You are feeling judged by other people’s standards and taking on advice that doesn’t fit your parenting style.
It’s hard to put ourselves first but it’s a necessity. It’s part of a mum’s survival mode.
Parenting doesn’t come with a university degree. Sometimes it feels like you’ve been thrown in the deep end without prior knowledge or experience.
So how can we expect to know everything, give up who we are and be the wonder woman we might expect to be.
We can’t and we shouldn’t.
The first few months can be particularly hard. It’s often not until our little ones are a little older that we start to think about ourselves. Thinking of going back to work, getting back to the gym or even starting a little business on the side. Even just simple things like going out for a coffee with friends can be daunting.
Remember the person before she became a mum?
Deep down, she is still there. It’s just with all the chaos and our sleep-deprived state of mind we have forgotten.
For me, I have been passionately interested in this topic for a very long time. To realize there was more to me than being an at-home mum has taken me years. It’s only been over the last 5-6 years that I have had the confidence to venture out into new territory and rediscover my calling.
I have always been in the business of helping new mums with babies right through to ages 5 while nursing in the areas of Obstetrics, Pediatrics and as a Royal New Zealand Plunket Nurse, before starting my own family.
Now 20+ years on, with more determination than ever, I see the importance of giving mums the knowledge and support to thrive. To listen to their intuition. To permit themselves to be number one.
The road to finding this truth even for myself hasn’t been an easy one.
I had to overcome many hurdles to reach a point in my life when I knew I needed the balance and needed something for me so I could give back to my family with more confidence and energy but also myself.
Today many mums need to head back to work much earlier than before. Our lives are much busier, more stressful, and the financial strain is all too real for the majority of families, which means going back to work is not just an option but also a necessity.
Often there is no family around to lean on, a lot of couples these days have moved countries and so are worlds apart from their support systems. Friends with babies are back at work or you are the very first to start a family.
To top that off with expectations to conform to a parenting style, or to feel pressured into feeding your baby a certain way. Where to sleep your baby, and the many do’s and don’ts of parenting while feeling sleep deprived will pretty much send any mum into a frenzy of emotions. Technology has even taken over common sense.
It’s no wonder we see more cases of postpartum distress than ever before. Mums are feeling more guilt, judging themselves too harshly about their parenting styles, and not looking within themselves for their knowledge and strength to make their own decisions.
There is no one way to parent but guidelines and recommendations suggest there is.
This is why so many are mums are feeling overwhelmed, second-guessing themselves and not trusting their mummy instincts.
So here is my advice to you.
You need to look after you first.
- You are just as important as your baby.
- Believe in your strengths.
- Believe in your decisions.
- Stand your ground.
- Feel empowered with the choices you have made.
- Stop feeling guilty and step up and make yourself count.
- Whatever life decisions you make, they’re yours and your family’s and for no one else to judge.
Nurturing, trusting and believing in yourself will ultimately make parenting much simpler and more enjoyable.
So here are some simple steps for you to follow.
- Ask for help
- Take time out (even if it’s just for a coffee)
- Trust and allow your partner to take care of your baby (so you can confidently go out)
- Delegate household chores
- Keep in touch with friends without children (it’s important to have a balance of baby and adult talk)
- Keep up with fitness or start fitness classes
- Dress up rather than dress down
- Take the advice that you will benefit from
- Love yourself
- Most of all believe