The 4 Best Things You can Do when You Become a Mother
It is natural to think we don’t need help with our new honey-and-milk smelling baby, especially if none of the women in our family has ever asked for help before. It is tough to admit we are going through a difficult time, and a useless high dose of pride prevent us from reaching out, also when in desperate need.
I do remember the wave of guilt I felt when I hired help when my baby was only 3 months old “She is so tiny, and you trust her with someone you don’t know?” “Wow, you have been a mother for 2 minutes and you can’t handle it already”. I had to listen to many nasty comments, but none of those people that felt so free to judge my decisions lived in my house listening to my beautiful bundle of joy crying day and night. Knowing that I had 3 hours of freedom a week literally saved my life.
Back in the past, and still in some societies, the extended family would take care of the newborn so the mother could rest.
The other women would cook a nurturing meal for the exhausted new mum, and the little infant would be lulled to sleep. These gatherings of women didn’t only support the new mother from a physical perspective, but they would support her immensely through the journey of motherhood with advices, tips, and by spending hours sitting by her side with a warm cup of tea. This means that women didn’t have to hire help because they already had plenty underneath their roof.
It is much more difficult for women now as we are expected to be workers, mothers, lovers, daughters, friends, funny, sexy, driven but humble. We are expected to spread ourselves thin, without complaining of how much we are doing; this is the perfect recipe for a breakdown, and this is how you can change it:
Find a person you can trust and share your feelings; it could be your partner, mother, or even a therapist. Don’t be afraid to share as the years with babies are so short, but when you are in the thick of it, days and nights are long.
Ask for help; there is no shame in admitting when we need some extra support. After the adrenaline wears off 2 weeks after giving birth, it is quite normal for a woman to feel overwhelmed; all of a sudden the visitors are gone, the partner is back at work, and you are left in the house alone with a feeding and pooping machine. We end up thinking that’s how our life is going to be forever. During those times, having someone that can come over and allow you to sleep or exercise for an hour or two can be life-changing. Take advantage of it!
You are not the only one; keep repeating this sentence to yourself as a mantra. Doesn’t matter if you have problems breastfeeding, putting the baby to sleep, leaving the house in less than 90 minutes, or all the above. All mothers struggle with something, and it’s important to recognise it and let it go.
Avoid listening to well-meaning friends/relatives/acquaintances. You know what works best for you, your baby, and your family. As long as your partner is on board, and the health of your little one is a priority, you are simply nailing motherhood. Even if your mother has a better idea, if your neighbour thinks otherwise, if the laundry room has become a maze, or if you don’t have a laundry room at all. You are just N A I L I N G I T!
Most importantly, allow yourself to be a mother, and simply be that for as long as it feels right to you (and only you). Women feel obliged to go back to work and get back in shape soon after having a baby. It is not our fault, we need to blame society for that. Stand out of the crowd and beat to the rhythm of your own drums; no one is going to care if you go back to work 6, 12 months after having a baby. Or never. And if someone judges you for that, it’s their problem, not yours!