This is the first in a series of posts that are reminding you “Don’t forget Mum”. They are focused on Mum and her own wellbeing. I will look at a number of factors that go into making life “different” for Mum once bub arrives, along with some key areas where Mum can help herself be the best she can be.
If you’re a first time Mum you may find – like I did – that you spend a lot of time studying your baby, feeding them, changing them, washing their clothes (and sometimes your own and your partners), cleaning up projectile vomit (sometimes its just easier to drape yourself and bub in a big towel, it can make clean ups soooo much easer) and if you’re smart, sleeping when baby is sleeping — once I got over my own “hero complex” I realised that sleep was more important than any imagined perception of a grown woman sleeping during the day. Somewhere in all this you remember you need to eat and shower. Showering when you’re on your own with bub can be a tough one, as soon as baby is asleep and you stepped under the water, you will hear them cry or worse yet you’ll hear the phantom baby cry (just because you don’t have enough messing with your head!). In any case, if you do dare shower when you’re on your own with bub, it will become a more open affair. The bathroom door will be open, the shower door will be open — just so you can try to decipher a real cry from the phantom cries. And you will set new records for the fastest showers in history, especially for a woman. And you will probably wash your hair far less often and it will probably happen on weekends or at night when someone else is around (you can’t set shower records when you need to wash your hair!).
Now lets talk about great expectations. Some of us may have found life as Mum not be what we had hoped it would be. Others may have predicted quite accurately what it would be like, but still have moments where we miss the life we had before kids. Lets face it, it’s easier to get stuff done without having children to factor in. Prior to kids, it was so much easier just going to the shops when the need arose or simply going for a walk.
If you already have older kids you can pretty much forget sleeping when baby sleeps, you may be able to find time to watch/study your new little one, but nowhere near enough — which is a new source of guilt, since you spent all your spare time with your first. Depending on the age of your older kids, decent showers may be a little more attainable, as they can probably decipher a real cry from your phantom cries, for you.
As new Mothers, we also have a few other things working against us during this phase of our lives — hormone changes, sleep deprivation, possibly a less than ideal diet. All of these can influence how we cope with the change a baby brings with them and the challenges we all face in trying to do what’s best for bub — whether they are our first, second, third or more.
Even with all this, all we really want is to give our babies the best care and upbringing. In order to do this we need to make sure we’re up to the task, physically and emotionally, so we can better handle the ups and downs. So with all we have going on how do you look after yourself, mentally and emotionally? You think about, plan for it and prioritise it, so that it happens.
So in this series of posts I am going to give you some tips on how you can best look after and support yourself, so that you can hopefully avoid becoming too overwhelmed and can function well as a woman and Mother. We will look at how getting out of the house, diet, exercise and rest can support your role in your life and your baby’s.
Some people may think that taking the time to look after yourself and putting your needs ahead of others may can be selfish. I’m not saying that looking after yourself should come at the expense of your baby or anyone else in your life, I am simply suggesting that sometimes it’s good for everyone, for you to be a little “selfish”, and make your wellbeing one of your priorities. It can help you handle the curve balls that come your way as a Mother.