Going from child free to expecting can cause a whirlwind of excitement, apprehension, and wishing Google had an answer to questions like “how to keep my baby alive”. But as a new mum you have to learn as you go – or more commonly known as “just wing it”. I put together some of my personal things which motherhood has taught me.
1. Don’t forget your hobbies, I love reading books!
I don’t mean baby books, I mean proper books the ones you can’t put down. The ones you go to bed early for just to sit for an hour and be totally engrossed. I love reading, and I miss it. My mum is also a keen reader and Is always sharing her favourite books with me and now I hardly get time to sit alone for 5 minutes let alone read a book, and when I do I’m normally too tired. – note “must make more time to read”. So in short, do what you love and make time for it when you have a baby.
2. Your physical & mental health is everything
When I got pregnant with Charlie I was over weight and unhappy, totally unfit. So in a nutshell the worst possible condition to have a baby (in my opinion). You have enough massive changes that will happen to your body over 9 months, without already not being in good health. I wish I’d lost weight and been fitter, not super fit but just fitter & stronger. I know for sure I would have had an easier pregnancy. It’s something I will 100% be taking forward before any future pregnancies. I feel like I missed out because I did suffer so much physically & mentally, Not forgetting post birth, your body takes a battering whatever way you give birth. So take the time to look after yourself and let your body heal.
3. Look after yourself & your relationship
I wish I had known that the first six months after having a baby would be hardest on my relationship, whether people want to admit it or not, it’s rough. If I had known the impact it would have, then I would have made an extra effort. It’s not all doom & gloom, having a baby has made us stronger and brought us closer together. It’s formed a new found love between us, but it also highlighted our weaknesses. Sleep deprivation, the stress of learning how to care for a newborn, and the changes to your body will have an impact on you, I personally found it all difficult to deal with. I wish I had known it was okay to communicate the things I was experiencing, instead of him wondering if it was his fault or if the baby was coming between us! So my advice would be to talk to each other keep that communication line strong if nothing else.
4. Give yourself a break
As a new mum you want to get everything right, and truth is you’ll never get everything right. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but that’s how you learn. Every time I didn’t know why Charlie was crying I’d be questioning myself and doubting my abilities of being a mother. I was really hard on myself specially in the early days id even say for the first few months no one gave me a harder time than myself if I felt like “I wasn’t quite getting it”. Now, I can read him like a book as can matt – we could sit and predict Charlie’s next move or emotion before it happens. That just comes with time & experience. You’ll be OK! Hang in there MUMMA your doing great.
5. You will realise your stronger than you think
You will see your inner strength which you never knew you had until now. At 3am in the morning when your newborn has been crying consistently for the last 4 hours and your about to loose your mind, that something which pulls you through ready to fight another day, that’s the strong stuff. You’ll cope, and most of the time you’ll wonder how! Then you’ll look back and realise that it was that inner strength which never showed itself until you really needed it. It will be a comfort to you, because you’ll know no matter what life throws at you along the way you will get through it.
6. You will feel judged by others, and you will judge too.
Charlie’s having a bloody melt down again, he’s screaming at the top of his lungs like I’ve just hurt him. Your eyes are darting around the room as you try and figure out how the bloody hell your going to calm him down. That voice in your head pops in “Oh everyone’s staring at you, I bet they think your a bad mum, god you can’t even control your child, what’s wrong with you?” You’ll be convinced every single person in that room was staring at you thinking the most awful things. Like wise, if you see parents doing something or saying something you don’t agree with, you’ll raise eyebrows & give the odd side eye. It will happen, you’ll feel vulnerable and out of your depth. But, it’s not the end of the world, you’ll see.
7. You will experience the most powerful form of love.
You or I could never put it into words the love which explodes from inside out once you have a child. You will get it, when you hold your baby for the first time you will understand what I’m talking about. You’ll never be able to describe it to anyone who doesn’t have children, you know they just have to experience it themselves. It is the most beautifully terrifying love I have ever felt. It is completely endless.
8. Mothers instinct – there is such a thing!
Yes it’s true, it exists. Like I said earlier you will learn about your baby, as they grow into an infant. You will understand them a bit more with every day that comes. And sometimes only you can make things better, there have been times where my mum has had Charlie and she hasn’t been able to settle him and she will give him back to me because she knew in that moment no one else could help but me. Just by the sound of their cry you just know what to do, where as in the beginning you go round in circles, feeding, changing, burping, comforting. Likewise when something’s wrong you will just know, I don’t know how to put it more simple than that. You’ll just know.
9. You’ll look at your partner in a way you never did before.
You love each other of course you do that’s one of the reasons you chose to have a family together. But, once you have a baby and you watch you partner & your baby together it’s a whole new type of love, an intensified love. I’ve just sat and watched Matt with Charlie many of times, and I could all day. My heart bursts with pride, love & respect. I am lucky that Matt is the most amazing dad, which I knew he would be. There is a real magical moment watching someone else portray the love you feel for your baby. Charlie will have the most unbreakable bond with Matt as he grows up.
10. You’ll love & respect your own mum more than you thought was possible.
I’m very fortunate that my mum is my best friend, my advisor, my comforter, my role model & the most incredible Nanny to Charlie. Since having Charlie, she has guided and supported me every step of the way and shaped me to be the mother I am today. If I can give Charlie what she has given me then I know I would have done something 100% right. I truly understand how much she loves me & my brother, I completely understand all hopes & fears she has for us. She once told me, “I never thought it was possible to love again like I loved you & Sean. That was until, you had Charlie and it’s all come flooding back”. She is my angel, don’t know what I’d do without her!