This is a collaborative post.
Becoming a mum is never easy. No one goes into motherhood thinking that everything will be plain sailing. For a start, your female relatives have probably shared stories of how challenging the early days could be (and perhaps still are in some ways), and your friends may also have petrified you with horror stories about three-day labour.
However, falling pregnant, giving birth and becoming a mum are different experiences for everyone. In this article, we hope to offer you some comfort and advice on how you can come to terms with everything.
While still pregnant, it may feel overwhelming. There are so many lists to follow, like your hospital bag, changing bag, baby’s nursery and so on. Stop and remember that you might not actually need some things that people are recommending and vice versa.
The society we live in these days means that actually if we have forgotten something, we are likely to be able to get hold of it fairly quickly anyway. However, it is still best to get hold of the basics in advance, as babies often have a habit of surprising us.
A travel system including a car seat, a stash of nappies (whether disposable or reusable), wipes and plenty of basic baby-grows are all essentials.
While pregnant and after giving birth, it is imperative to consider your own health as well as that of the baby. You are carrying around extra weight, going through labour (whether caesarean or vaginal) and breastfeeding can all cause pain and put a strain on your body.
Many women find they need stitches following a tear during labour. If this is the case, you may wish to try a soothing cream, like Soothing Down Under from Baba West, to help both heal and soothe.
You may find your nipples cracking whilst breastfeeding, so a decent cream to support with that is essential. Be sure to seek support from a lactation professional if you are concerned about the baby’s latch.
I bet some mums scoff at this, but it is most definitely possible to have me-time, even when you are a new mum. Try the Ultimate New Mama & Baba Pack for some much-needed TLC for your postnatal body and mind. It includes gorgeous loungewear that you can breastfeed or pump in, as well as other products to help both you and your baby.
Naps and time for cups of tea are part of everyday life, so do not count these as your me-time… it could simply be having half an hour on an evening to read a book or treating yourself to a slice of cream cake. Even once a week is better than nothing and it will ensure that you remember you are more than a mother, which can be a challenging balance to find.
Baby Blues v Post Natal Depression
The sudden hormone change after giving birth can make you feel entirely unbalanced. And it is not surprising given what your body has gone through. The baby blues are to be expected for most new mums, but these sad feelings usually subside within a week or two.
Post-natal depression can linger for a lot longer. It is essential to share with your midwife or health visitor, or even a friend or family member, how you are feeling so you can access the support as early as possible.
Everyone is an expert when you have had a new baby and they will tell you to do x, y and z because it worked for them or ‘it never did their baby any harm’ despite modern society deeming it a no-no.
While it can be difficult to disagree with someone, perhaps you could practise a phrase such as “Thanks for sharing. I will have a think about it.” to support you in being more assertive.
Ultimately, you want your stress levels to be as low as possible and knowing you have a stock answer in the bag ready to pull out can be useful. Never worry about seeking help from a professional.
They have been through the same scenarios with other new mums, undoubtedly, and are there to assist if they can or signpost you elsewhere.