…You must be over the moon!
You’ve had months to prepare for your new arrival, the pram has been bought, the spare room has been transformed into a nursery and the nappies stockpiled!
But nothing can prepare you for the reality of becoming a family! Yes, friends and colleagues have warned you of the sleepless nights, the baby sick on your shoulder and the sore boobs! But no one really tells you how they ‘felt’, instead we focus on the physical – the labour, the birth, the feeling like your body has been through a wringer.
Of course we love our little baby, we marvel in the wonder of our own child and our future as a family . However we can and do sometimes feel overwhelmed, tearful and anxious.
I remember having had my first daughter Grace, crying every time she needed feeding in that first week, because it was so painful to latch her. Yes, I should have asked for help, but I didn’t, I wanted to be able to do it myself and consequently I was in agony! It was Christmas week and I think I got one visit from the midwife, because, guess what, when asked how I was, I said I was fine … I wasn’t! The breastfeeding was one issue but as well as that I felt sad and teary and I didn’t know why??
I’d read about ‘baby blues’ but that wasn’t me, I just needed some sleep and a baby that didn’t want to feed every hour day and night ….. but that was ME and I would have loved someone to notice and talk to me about my feelings.
This blog was triggered by a mum who messaged me just yesterday (after a post on social media) saying that she found it hard to admit she struggled mentally in the early weeks after the birth of her baby. She said she was lucky that she could speak to her partner and friends with babies, who told her what she was feeling was totally OK.
We all need someone to ask us ‘how are you?’ and not be afraid to say how we really are. But also partners may be feeling the same too – it’s a massive adjustment for them as well and they’ve witnessed the person they love giving birth which can be traumatic and upsetting.
We all need a cheer-leaders, whether that’s our parents, friends or other mummies. Becoming parents is a huge thing and if you add in tiredness, worry, poor eating habits, being stuck indoors ….. a global pandemic! Then I believe that the Lockdown mummies of 2020 are SUPERMUMS because you’ve had to cope without ‘your team’….
Sometimes parenthood and particularly images of mums can be sugar-coated on social media and sadly many new mums feel they can’t admit to feeling down or that they’re struggling. These feelings need to be talked about, normalised and be part of the conversation along with all the physical issues. Because not every mum is over-the-moon all of the time ?
Photo credits: Holly Santos & Praveen Kumar Mathivanan