Dear new mum …
Its been a while since I saw you, but I have been thinking of you, hoping you are doing ok!
You entered the coffee shop looking for sanctuary after obviously having dashed through the crowds of people on the high street whilst your newborn was screaming out to you – your face was one that I know too well … it was filled with panic, fear, love, pain, exhaustion and vulnerability – it was a face of a new mum that wanted to find a cosy bubble for herself and her baby and have a long lie down! You called out to the lady thats was dashing to help you through the door if it was “ok to breastfeed your baby”, smiling she answered “of course” … you started to feel safe and a part of you relaxed!
With your hands shaking and obviously on the verge of tears you got your baby out of the pram and held him to your chest and his sobbing started to subside … you relaxed more!
As you sat down in your chair, you winced, the scars of the last few weeks were still very raw and fighting to unzip your coat and fight through the layers you finally got to the one thing that your baby was crying out for. As you started to nurse, the lady in the shop came over with a glass of water, smiled and left you to feed …. you let out a sigh, looked down at your beautiful baby as a silent tear rolled down your face …
I know that feeling mama … as I sit here writing this now, I remember you so clearly and I want you to know something, I want you to remember this one thing right now and take it with you at all times …
YOU ARE SO UTTERLY AMAZING!!!
I know right now it’s all is so very overwhelming, that you feel quite alone and are struggling with maintaining any kind of day to day functioning. You are looking around you at all your other friends that have had babies and wondering how they are all doing so well, they seem to be getting sleep, their babies are feeding happily, they look showered and fresh and they are getting out to baby clubs, meeting friends, going on date nights and have “routines” already – I know seeing them “coping” makes you feel even more inadequate and feel the struggle even more!
I understand that you feel it’s one thing after another; reflux, colic, milk intolerance, tongue tie, ….. you worry whether you are producing enough milk, or giving the right formula, whether you should be feeding on demand or giving timed feeds, co – sleeping, crying it out (you and baby!!) getting out more, staying in more!
You feel sore, battered and bruised – things “down there” are taking longer than you thought to recover and will definitely not be the same again, you worry that although you were told you could “safely” have sex again around 6 weeks postpartum why you don’t want to and have zero sex drive and feel like you have as much mojo as the oversized maternity pants you’re wearing – although everyone else seems to be “getting it on” – you worry that you partner doesn’t fancy you, that they feel neglected … and if you do actually manage to find the will or the time to have sex that you may break inside … !!!
Most of all you feel lost, the YOU before baby is lost somewhere in all this chaos…. !!!!
Well mama, I want to tell you something … YOU are the most amazing, beautiful, capable, strong, lovable, brave, sexy and incredible person … you are not lost – that’s who you are, you are still there I promise!
Motherhood is a process, its learning and growing everyday – it’s finding your wings, it’s good days and bad days, letting go of the shit that doesn’t serve you and worrying whether you are a good mum (which you are!) or whether you are doing the right or wrong thing … it’s just knowing that you are doing your best and your best is fuelled by love.
I always said that I wouldn’t be patronising and give advice to other mums, but I just want to say this … Please slow down, don’t think that you have to fill your days, that your baby has to go to all the groups, that you need to get up and dressed and out the door, rather than stay in your pjs all day… you really don’t need to do anything!
DON’T compare yourself to other mums… each and every one of us loses our shit, is winging it, has “those” days when you just do what you need to do to survive, feels judged or like a bad mum … if we didn’t we wouldn’t be human … I can promise you there is NO winning at motherhood – it’s not a competition with anyone else, it’s doing what’s right for you and YOUR baby.
Yes it does seem that when you are over one hurdle, one growth spurt, one illness or complication another one appears … just remember that “this too shall pass” … and it will!
Things “down there” are not the same no, you have pushed out, had pulled out (in my circumstance!) a little human … however they came out into your world the process is a bit of a shock to the system really and no one expects you to get back “in the saddle” so to speak until you feel ready .. it’s not the 1950’s … we don’t have that “role” expectation anymore! Don’t think that everyone else is at it either, because I can promise you that they really aren’t and we all have the same worries … you will get your mojo back mama when the time is right for you.
Finally – please please please give yourself a break, go easy on yourself and DO KNOW that you are the best you can be, if you could do it better then you would … so that’s it, let yourself be … and remember tomorrow is a brand new day … and this too shall pass!
BIG HUGS Mama & love, Annie. xxx