by Lottie Keble-Wyatt
Here, is a time of flux when days and nights blend into one, where mealtimes are never set, deadlines never met. This lack of routine can feel chaotic like you are out of control, so the one thing to hold on to is your voice. Articulate out loud how you feel, even if it's to the kitchen sink. Express those emotions, don't hold them tight, else they will hold you tighter, a prisoner of your own mind. These are the weeks to watch out for signs of Post Natal Depression and to be brave enough to reach out for help.
It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to not want to stay awake all night, it’s ok to feel that bone aching tiredness, and wonder why you went through it all. But, it’s not ok to feel like this all the time. It's not ok to never have that magical moment of a first smile and feel yourself light up inside, to find yourself staring at pictures on your phone of your baby as they lay fast asleep beside you, and know you've wasted a potential nap opportunity, or to buy ridiculous amounts of baby clothes that will only fit them for a few weeks. If you don't feel right seek professional support and contact your GP.
When partners return back to work and the house becomes a whirling washing machine, here are a few tips to help you manage the load.
Build Your Tribe
Connecting with other mums can be really helpful in those first few weeks and months. There are so many amazing apps now to connect you with local mothers, and if you have been a part of an Antenatal Group make sure you set up a Whatsapp space where you can share, rant and vent.
When you can, when you feel ready, get back out there. Find a club, group, or even baby-friendly fitness class. Now, is the time to connect physically with others and to gain confidence in new spaces, and surroundings. If you forget a nappy, you know you're among friends who will have an entire stash, if you have a poo explosion, spare clothes and friendly hands will be on offer, if you need to feed, no one will judge.
The supermarket home delivery service takes away the pressures of having to navigate a car seat, shopping trolley, and grocery bags. Also, think about batch cooking and stacking that freezer high of quick essentials. Don't feel bad about becoming a regular at your local takeaway too, there is no need to be a superhero and do it all. Deliveroo must have been made for new mums in mind!
Take it Easy
Try to do as little as possible in the first three weeks - it's ok if you don't shower today, it's ok if you stay in bed for a week…or two and always, always seek help if you need it. Reaching out and asking for help does not make you a bad mum! Find a way for it all to work for you and your family. There is no one size fits all approach to parenthood. No book you read or post on a parenting forum knows you or your values so work with your instincts alongside any advice you pick up along the way.
In essence, these first few tentative weeks are about rediscovering your identity as a new mother, you haven't lost who you are, rather you've gained the most special thing that will ultimately complete you, but you don't need to do it all alone. Just remember though nothing worth having is easy, and trust me your baby is SO worth having, they are EVERYTHING.