This is a case study of one of my client’s experiences of being a new Mum.
Andrea and her husband had planned for this baby for many months and had longed to be pregnant month after month, so when it did finally happen they were over the moon. During the months of pregnancy she was so excited and like many expecting mums bought all the necessities and some of the niceties too!
When I visited them a couple of weeks ago she was super excited about the imminent birth of her baby and the baby’s nursery was so beautifully decorated you could tell it had taken her some time to put this altogether. It was filled with teddies, nappies, muslin cloths you name it and she had a wardrobe filled to the brim with beautiful clothes fit for a princess (she knew she was having a girl) and was eagerly awaiting her arrival.
As I sat down to breakfast this morning I received a text message from Andrea apologising for the delay in her reply to my previous message.
‘Sorry for the delay. Thanks for your lovely text, it’s been a rather crazy and exhausting few days and I’m all over the place. Hopefully we’ll find our feet soon. Will keep you posted re: developments and of course when I’m back on my feet and recovered you must come to visit and meet our beautiful little girl.’
Having read this I could completely relate to what she saying and how she feeling having delivered two beautiful boys myself. Her message prompted me to write this blog post today because I know that despite of months planning and preparing for your baby, nothing quite prepares you for the reality of it and in my reply I told her that despite the months of planning everyone feels a little overwhelmed when their bundle of joy arrives.
I asked her not to apologise for not replying sooner, I’m actually amazed that she even replied at all. Having a new baby and juggling of their demands after a long labour is hard enough in itself with putting pressure on yourself as new mum to reply to text messages and calls to loved ones.
It’s the best experience any mum can have giving birth to her baby, getting to know them and trying to establish routines and taking them home to meet family and friends but, my word it’s the hardest job in the world too!
Those early days and nights of feeding every hour and the endless nappy changes are tough but, with the consistent stream of visitors too, it’s verging on the impossible! I found visitors the hardest because whilst trying to learn your new mummy duties your having to do it in front of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and worse their husbands (particularly when it’s breast feeding time).
When I gave birth to my first son, Thomas I found it a shock to the system, the sleepless nights, the visitors and everything that goes with it. With James my second son, I was much more relaxed about things, I wasn’t bothered if the house wasn’t immaculate for when visitors came round and I asked our visitors to make their own tea too and make me one too. I asked Richard for a lot more help and as we had two boys at this point who were only 1 year and 8 days apart things were pretty chaotic for a long while so I needed all the help I could get.
You see, before babies (BB) life was less chaotic, you could sleep when you wanted, eat when you wanted and in all honesty do whatever it is you wanted too and now after baby (AB) everything is somehow different and there’s never enough hours in the day to keep up with the endless demands of mummy duties.
In my reply to Andrea I asked her not to worry about responding to messages and calls and reminded her to just enjoy her new baby and all that comes with being a new mummy. I just wanted to let her know that all new mums, including me all feel a little out of control at some point and no one knows what to do exactly when baby arrives as there’s no manual available for that as every baby is different.
Her message prompted me to write this blog post and just share the experiences she’s having with others to hopefully inspire new mums to take it easy on themselves and know they’re doing the best they can!
Being a new mum is tough however, hard as it is, it is the most rewarding and best experience you’ll ever have in your life and all these memories you’re making now will be cherished forever!
Below some of 5 of my personal hints & tips for new mums, it’s not an exhaustive list but, I certainly took them on board the second time round.
- Go with the flow! Try and be as relaxed as possible throughout your day – if baby wants feeding then that’s the priority not your visitors.
- Rules for visiting – If family & friends want to visit you on day 2 and you’re not ready for them then tell them so politely. If you’ve already arranged for visitors to come and you don’t feel up to or you had a bad night then just ask them to re arrange, they won’t mind. People do truly understand what you’re going through and you can just say we’d like some time together as a family to get used to our new baby and get ourselves in a routine.
- Take all the help you can get – if parents, aunts and uncles offer to help then let them! If your mum wants to make pasta for you and pop it over then let her, believe me cooking will be your last priority in the early days!
- Don’t worry about the house! Who cares if you haven’t hoovered it in over a week, who cares if there’s dirty dishes on the side or the bathroom is little messy?! People are coming to visit you and most of all see baby. Remember what you see is not what others see.
- Don’t feel the pressure to breastfeed! If you can and want to then do, I did but, then it happened quite naturally and easily for me but, I know some of my friends struggled and some didn’t even get their milk in. Breastfeeding is great, if you want to do it and find it easy but, don’t put pressure on yourself to do so. It’s not for everyone and the best piece of advice I ever got was to make sure it’s right for not only baby but, you too!
- Don’t feel the pressure to be a glamour mum with your nails painted, hair fully styled and full war paint on (although I did like to have my make up on when we had visitors). Just wear comfy clothes and do the bare minimum to make yourself look presentable – remember people are really coming to see baby anyway so they probably won’t even notice!
- Remember nobody is judging you to see how well you’re coping so don’t worry if your all fingers and thumbs when you’re picking baby up. Every mum and dad was the same at the beginning and if baby starts crying uncontrollably and you’re not sure what to do it’s no reflection on your abilities as a parent. If you want to calm baby down in another room then do so, or if you feel you’d like to settle them without others being there then kindly say, ‘I think baby’s quite upset and I’d like to go and see to them do you mind coming back another day to visit?’ I promise you they’ll understand.
Please feel free to share your hints/tips, thoughts and feelings below about this too;