We made it! And when I say we, I mean the whole fam. No one could have ever prepared me for the amazing and complicated changes that instantly take place in your life until I had my own little bundle screaming in my arms. But for some reason when she turned one this past Friday I let out a huge sigh of relief – mostly because she had made it this far alive. Not that there was much chance of her contracting dengue fever, but when you’re a mother (especially a new one) you can easily feel like you’re doing everything wrong. Not feeding her the right organic, pesticide free, non glueten, dye free, etc etc…. Not holding her enough. Holding her too much. Not talking to her enough, not singing enough, not enrolling her in enough baby classes, not anything enough – doing all of the above too much….
I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some great mothers who have imparted some amazing knowledge on this here newbie so I’ve compiled a list to go with the twelve months of the first year that some of you new mothers or mothers-to-be might find helpful.
1. It gets easier. The first few weeks (and even months) can seem really tough, especially when you’re not sleeping. Hold on, it’s going to get better.
2. Sleep when you’re baby sleeps. Although this really never worked for me- I absolutely cannot nap – if you can, do it. Your body will thank you.
3. Regardless of what the Victoria’s Secret models say, it takes time to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. Some people do ‘bounce back’ but don’t kill yourself trying to. I was in pretty good shape going into pregnancy and was really alarmed at how out of shape I felt after I had my baby. Your body goes through a ton of changes quickly, so be kind to it and try not to add more pressure to yourself.
4. When your family or close friends offer you help, take it. There’s no medal of honor for lack of sleep and nothing wrong with taking some help when you need it. Laundry can pile up and so can dishes and just having someone around to play with your baby while you get stuff done can be a god send. Besides, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to get to spend some time with your little one.
5. Be kind to yourself. This is hard on everyone so cut yourself a little slack. You’re doing the best you can and I’m sure it’s great!
6. Be present. This was a big one for me, check out the full post HERE.
7. Don’t undermine your partner’s ability to help out. I was guilty of this, telling him he was doing things the wrong way and was quick to realize that my discouragement led to him not wanting to even try. When I started letting him do it his way he was happy and so was our baby.
8. Try not to fall into the comparison trap. Everyone has their own set of circumstances that dictate their choices and it doesn’t make them better or worse. If a baby is loved and cared for that’s all that matters.
9. Babies grow faster than you think and though cute clothes are awesome, you don’t need tons and tons, they’ll just end up unworn.
10. Hang out with other new mothers when you can. New mums in your same situation can not only be a wealth of information but also great shoulders to lean on. They know exactly what you’re going through and can commiserate with you in real time.
11. Take time for you. Something as simple as a pedicure, a hot bath or a quite cup of tea can do wonders for your well being. Try to find a way to give yourself a little bit of loving when you can.
And with all of that, I thought I’d end it with some of the best advice I received:
12. You don’t have to listen to everyone’s advice!
Thanks again to everyone for all of your amazing emails, comments, tweets and texts. You’ve got me through this year and have me excited for the year to come.
lots of love,