After recently having my second gorgeous girl, I’ve been reflecting on how I felt first as a first time mum. For me, that is completely different to now! Looking back there are things people said to me that I should have paid more attention to and been “kinder” to myself in the early days.
First time round challenges with feeding meant for the first few weeks I felt like all I did was feed, express, feed express…not as much fun as eat.sleep.rave.repeat I know. I just wanted to be a great mum and do everything “right”, so tried to take on board as much advice as possible. I remember how I felt some days, when you just want someone to say you are doing a good job. And it will be ok.
Second time round things are different. On one side things are WAY harder in terms of having two babies to look after, however caring for Miss M comes more naturally. I’ve been kinder to myself and no longer second guess what I’m doing and sit on google desperately trying to find answers. Sleep deprivation still results in constant baby brain – however it’s easier this time to carry on with it all!
Bearing this in mind, I decided to write a letter to me as a first time mum, both as some free therapy and also hopefully I might help a first time mum somewhere….
Dear (has no clue first time mum) Kristy
Please always remember above all else, this isn’t forever! It will get easier. You are not the only person who has gone through this. Tomorrow is another day!
You will have bad days. It won’t be the last of them either. But it doesn’t mean you did a bad job.
Be kind to yourself. You are doing your best. Remember you are recovering from the birth too. Don’t look towards the future, saying things like. “I can’t wait till my 6 week check so I can…” – enjoy each moment of bub whilst she is so small & dependant.
Don’t be negative about your post baby body or fitness levels. Both will come back in time.
Don’t worry about your “baby brain” and appearing stupid. It’s not that you don’t, you do seem vague and in a trance a lot of the time, but everyone understands. You will find your brain again.
Don’t feel guilty over any negative feelings that creep into your mind from time to time – it’s an inevitable side effect of the sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep does strange things to the mind…that one you can vouch for.
For god sakes stop googling! Yes it helps with some things but listen to your instincts and advice from other mums…especially your mum (you turned out alright didn’t you?)!
Understand that no one actually cares if your house looks like a storm has passed through. Do you remember or care how clean your friend’s houses are? No.
Ask for help if you need it. It’s not a sign of failure and no one sees it that way. Family & friends actually enjoy helping others out. A break will refresh you.
Breast feeding – don’t feel like a failure if it doesn’t work out. Next time will be different. Yes we all know breast is best. And yes there are very few instances where physically a woman can’t feed, but ultimately you need to decide what works for you. Bub needs you to be happy to be happy!
Please don’t stress about the “right” way to do things and whether you are doing a good job. Know that if you are even thinking about this, you are.
Now Miss H is older (and note she is alert, active & alive – so you have done your job) you will notice how many things she is picking up that you haven’t actually shown her – she has just observed from those around her (mostly you!). Remember your babies are learning how to view the world from you. So if something isn’t working (i.e. breastfeeding is making you miserable!) then don’t do it! Being a happier and therefore more tolerant mum is more important!
And most of all – remember to be positive! Everything will pass & when you see your toddler trying to eat dog poo you will wonder where your little bundle of joy went!
Love (older, wiser & just as tired) Kristy x
I hope someone out there can relate to my musings above…any further words of wisdom I’ve missed?
Always remember if you are having any problems ask for help. In particular some great sources of information on breastfeeding are below: