Dear New Mum: Stay Alive
This morning, I slipped in the bathtub. Miraculously, my toe got caught in the foot mat and I didn’t hit my head. In that moment, I remembered the horror stories of people falling. Guided by the soundtrack of my daughter’s wail for attention outside the bathroom door, I said to myself "She’ll be fine, Take it easy, and Stay Alive".
Dear New Mum, Stay Alive.
Take care of yourself, so that when you are with your baby (who’s totally dependent on you), you’ll have the patience and energy to take care of her.
Forgive your baby if he cries a lot. Your child is not a tyrant who was sent to make your life miserable, the only way he can tell you things is by crying, - this will pass.
Motherhood is diverse, unique and individual. So please, stop judging yourself and others.
Try not to waste time feeling guilty. No amount of preparation could have made you ready for this, so don’t
blame yourself for not living up to a standard you set when you were not hormonal & sleep-deprived.
You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. Ever. Your baby. Your method. There’s no one-size-fits-all. You are the best mother for your child.
Some people will try to dismiss your feelings with "You’re not the first". It’s a lie, you’re the first person to be the Mother of this child. But then, don’t think your case is too different to be understood. Nobody is too special to be helped, and there is always someone who’s going through worse than you are.
Now, forgive all the advisors who conveniently forgot to mention some details — like how your butt will look & feel after childbirth, or how it will seem like your entire body is angry with you for that intensive experience that is childbirth — don’t be mad at them, it’s not easy to be the bearer of bad news.
Accept help from those who offer it, and teach your Hubby to care for his child. Stop that thing of "my mum raised 4 children without any help", it’s not true. Most of our mums had help from relatives, friends & neighbors. Plus, they lived in a different time from you. In any case, there is no certificate for struggling.
Don’t waste time wishing your husband would behave differently, sit with you through the night feedings, or that he would just get what you’re going through. Chances are, he can’t. Because his experience of parenthood is, so far, completely different to yours. He hasn’t undergone the same physical & psychological changes you have. So save yourself the anguish and ask for regular Hugs instead.
Some days, you’ll be bored out of your mind and feel useless with yourself because you don’t like routine. Motherhood can be quite monotonous. When you feel this way, call someone who makes you laugh, or go for a walk alone — if you can afford it.
Remember that your child is resilient and can withstand the many natural mistakes you’ll make with her. As long as you make them with love, she’s not likely to be harmed.
If you find yourself feeling unnecessarily tense, anxious, or fearful, unfollow who needs to be unfollowed and block who needs to be blocked. Don’t overthink it.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone, and don’t bother wishing your life was like someone else’s - you don’t know their full story.
Don’t keep it all in your head. Reach out to other new mums, they get you, trust me. Be there for other new mums too. Many people are lonely and will be pleasantly surprised by how perfectly you understand them.
If you’re a first time mom, don’t be far from your friends who don’t have kids yet, you’ll be surprised at how much sweetness, understanding & support they’ll bring. If you let them, they’ll light up your life.
Trust and Surrender. You didn’t keep this Baby alive in your womb by any strength or special knowledge. Let go of control to the One who did.
And guess what?
You’re stronger and more resourceful than you give yourself credit for. — You grew and birthed an entire human being, remember?
You are graced for this.
Happy Mother’s Day.