Dear New Mother: A Letter From Me To Me
Congratulations on your first baby!! Wow – what a rough birth huh? Not quite as you planned – you have a lot to process at the moment but you’ll get there, I promise.
Your baby is absolutely beautiful! I know you feel like a great big protective Mama-Bear right now and I think that’s great. I am sure that means that those mothering instincts are kicking in! I can see in your eyes how very much you love that baby girl, she is your dream come true!
Now here’s the kicker – I am YOU! The thing is I am 8 years and 4 children (yes 4 OMG) older. I want to share a few things with you because motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but here are a few tips that I have learned through the benefit of hindsight. Do with them as you will!
Firstly, stop worrying about how you’re going to be the perfect mother. It’s a myth – the perfect mother does not exist. I want you to focus on living in the moment. Because as often as you hear it – it really is the truth, the days will pass by so quickly and you will be left with just the memories. Make them good ones!!
Your maternity hospital is fantastic – you are so lucky to have so many kind and loving nurses and midwives to look after you. Except that ONE cranky midwife who upsets you. Don’t let her. She says that you are holding your baby too much and creating a rod for your own back – Bah to her! This is your NEW BABY!! Enjoy that delicious smell and her soft pink skin and her tiny little fingernails. Hold her to your hearts content. Inhale her! You CANNOT spoil a baby – you just CAN’T! You will become more passionate about this with each new baby, so let me tell you now, you can’t overdose a baby on hugs!
How are those boobs going – wowsers!! Isn’t it an awful feeling when the milk comes in? Cabbage leaves – seriously. Don’t laugh when everyone tells you that – it really works! Breastfeeding is tricky. It can feel like you’ll never get that latch right, it can hurt like hell, and it’s uncomfortable having boobs as hard as rockmelons. Persevere. Trust me. It DOES get easier. And it will be one of the best memories of your life.
Please let others share the miracle that is your new baby. I know how hard it is to put her down, or even to let anyone else hold her right now. But when people (usually elderly women!) approach you in the shops to look at your baby, or stroke her soft little cheek, let them be a part of your world just for a small moment. Babies are joyous and deserve to be celebrated by our society. You will be giving people the gift of maybe reliving some memories of their own babies, many many years ago. One day you will hope to stroke the cheeks of newborn babies, and you will hope to be able to share this moment with new mothers too.
You’re probably feeling overwhelmed by all the advice that people are giving you. Try to remember that it comes from a place of love. Accept it graciously, even if you don’t agree with it. A simple smile and nod is often enough for people to feel heard. You’ll do what you think is the right thing to do anyway, but you never know when that advice or different perspective will be of use over the years.
Books (and the Internet) are great! There is information about anything and everything out there! Just remember that they are not talking about YOUR baby. Don’t fall into the trap of constantly comparing YOUR baby with “the average” baby. Your baby is unique, special and their own little person. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Your relationship with your husband will be forever changed. This is not good or bad, it just is. You will see him in a new light, and you will experience an entirely new depth of love as you watch him care for the baby that you both created. Don’t mourn for what was, embrace what is. And don’t shut him out. This is his first baby too you know – he probably feels the same worries, fears, and sense of overwhelm that you do. And even if he doesn’t, you need to share your feelings. It’s OK to be vulnerable. You are not Superwoman.
And here’s the biggest tip of all – LOVE your baby! In the midst of the crying, and endless feeding, and lack of sleep, and crazy hormones, and a messy house, and dirty nappies, and post-baby body issues, and laundry that continues to pile up – remember that your baby just wants to be loved. All too soon she will be grown and you will look back on this time with such powerful emotions. You’re doing a great job! Follow your instincts, listen to your heart, and be forever thankful for that little miracle that has been entrusted into your arms.
Congratulations Mama – your journey of a lifetime has begun.
All my love,
This post has been kindly sponsored by the team at Kids Business, in celebration and honour of their “Happiness Inspires Happiness” initiative which is entirely focused on inspiring other mums to feel happy about themselves, their achievements, their bodies, their life and their future, through a series of posts written by mums who blog.