Some mothers offering advice to others can go one of two ways; it can fall on deaf ears, or it can be embraced wholeheartedly. There are many little issues we can all go through, and when we are just starting out on that journey to motherhood, there can be a lot of anxieties, moments where we do not trust ourselves, and sometimes, we just need the reassuring words of someone else. But what can new mothers actually benefit from? From one mother to another, here are some of the best things that everybody could benefit from.
Changes Are a Constant, Embrace Them
Sometimes, going through pregnancy itself results in so many hormonal, behavioral, and emotional changes, that we struggle to adapt. Sometimes, it’s so important just to let nature take hold, rather than questioning every little thing. You may have heard about the nesting part of pregnancy, and if you do not know what is nesting, it is that almost uncontrollable desire to make a nest for your baby. And sometimes, these changes are so much to deal with, that we inevitably feel overwhelmed. This is where learning to realize that changes are a regular thing, but understanding how to adapt to them is going to help you, not just during pregnancy, but for the rest of your life.
Listen to Your Body, No One Else’s
The modern-day forces us to think that we have to “bounce back” after birth right away, but our bodies are not the same as they were before we got pregnant. This is especially true with regards to mothers that have C-sections. It is so important to recover, which is easier said than done when a new baby is not sleeping, but even if you are not getting enough rest, the most important lesson is to treat yourself and your body with compassion. There is no need to measure yourself up to other mothers. In fact, this is downright unhelpful! You may think that you want to get back into an exercise routine, but even though you’ve been given the go-ahead by the doctor to do so, do you need to? Some others think that hitting the gym when the baby is barely 4 weeks old is the best way to reclaim some control over their body, but you’ve got to think about the bigger picture. Keep your fitness goals manageable, and most importantly, realistic. It’s much harder to recover from intense exercise when you are not getting the adequate 8 hours of sleep. You need to sleep as much as you can when you can. And exercise can make you feel more energized, but only when you choose the right forms. Keep it light, especially during those first few months.
Do Not Try to Be a Superwoman (Because You Don’t Need To!)
Many people think that the best way to show the world that they are coping with being a new parent is to try and do everything. But this goes back to prioritizing your body and giving it care and compassion. One of the best things we can do is to take five minutes a day to scan our bodies for any niggling pains or issues. Five minutes might be too much time to do this, especially with a baby that’s not sleeping, but this is where help needs to be accepted. If you have a partner, you’ve got to take it in turns to get up with the baby, because it’s amazing what a chunk of sleep can do for your mind and body. Some people think that they just need to power through, but what happens after the baby is born is that you are running on pure love and adoration during the first month, but after this, sheer exhaustion comes in in full pelt, which is where you start to feel delirious, physically weighed down, and this is where symptoms of postpartum depression can come in. Postpartum depression is more common than you think, but many mothers are not so keen to admit that they are experiencing difficulties. The sooner you admit you need some help, the better it will be for everyone.
Take This Time to Find Perspective
We go through life with our own insecurities, and we subconsciously project them onto our children. When we become aware of our fears and how we project them onto our children, we start to separate ourselves and appreciate our children for who they are. This helps us to enjoy the process of being a mother much more, especially during the first six months. If you’re breastfeeding, you can feel like you are just “boob on tap,” and it’s so easy to feel downtrodden during the first few months. Taking the time to find perspective, especially during the first six months allows us to appreciate them for who they are, while also recognizing that our insecurities are not theirs.
Do Not Sweat the Small Stuff
The first six months of your baby’s life mean that everything is a dilemma. And this is for the very simple reason that it is all new. The notion of the protective mother comes to the fore, and there will be times when you are in blind panic, but this is about getting perspective again. We are all born with this solid casing that can protect us: a skeleton. And as long as we are giving the baby the basics, this is all we can do. When you ever have any concerns, you shouldn’t be afraid to contact your midwife, but make sure that you have some perspective. Babies will experience cradle cap, and that first stool that is off-color, and these are all things that are new, which is why arming yourself with as much information as possible will help you to retain a sense of perspective. Take this through to later in life, and when your child falls over for the first time, will you need to take them to the emergency room? The small stuff is very apparent, and this is why you have to do the following:
Everybody will have their own opinions and even when it comes to raising your own child, people will tell you how you should be doing it; even random people in the street will make passive comments, but those people can take a flying leap! You are the only real expert on your baby, and what they need. It is crucial to think about what might be going on with them and what they need, and this is a mother’s intuition. It’s so easy to avoid this because of the wealth of information out there. But, think back to hundreds of thousands of years ago, mothers didn’t have the internet, and they didn’t even have health care! So they had to rely on their instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s likely it doesn’t feel right.
Do Not Try to Be Perfect
There is no such thing as being 100% perfect. It is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. And when you are feeling those wobbles in your abilities, it’s crucial to not be so hard on yourself or get discouraged. Sometimes things don’t work. But you have to go back to the very basics. As long as you are keeping them safe, giving them the comfort they need, and making sure that they are part of a loving household, this is the best you can do. Trying the best you can is good enough.