Are you used to that word yet? Yep, you’re a mum. You made a little human, well done you. And while you’re staring into the face of that little person you may be thinking, what the f$#% just happened?
The movies and TV often depict that moment of pure joy, that overwhelming sense of, I’ve got this, look at this beautiful creature and everyone rides off into the sunset on a pristine white unicorn galloping on a rainbow bridge.
And for some of you this may very well be the case. But for others you will be very sore, exhausted and shell-shocked to your very core and you may not feel joy just yet, and that’s okay. It’s normal. Your body and mind just went through a massive change of events. It is okay to be numb. The feels will come.
Listen: Monique Bowley and Bec Judd discuss everything you need to know about those first few days with bub. (Post continues.)
Please do not put any pressure on yourself. NO ONE (see, it’s in caps so it must be important and right) knows what they are doing the first time. You can read all the books and all the posts on the net, but it won’t solve every answer for you. You will make mistakes and that’s okay. Hate to break it to you, but babies are already wired to have likes and dislikes. The manual gets somewhere lost in the delivery so you have to fend for yourself.
There will be times where you feel completely out of control and out of your depth. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is a torture technique. If you have people to lean on them, lean on them, please. Don’t feel you have to do it all yourself because as that’s not best for your child. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after your baby. This won’t always be the case, so take those little moments to rest when you can.
It is ok to make mistakes. Embrace them. Learn from them. A lot a trial and error will happen as you and your baby find your feet. Laugh and move on. Remember, this is all new to them too. You will have days where the littlest thing will make you cry and days where you feel like Wonder Woman. Remember that’s life, light always follows darkness, so although it may not feel like it at the time, the crap times will pass.
Follow your gut instinct. Nine out of ten times it will be right. You think you know nothing, but there’s nothing like instinct and you know your baby. Listen, to what your gut is saying and act on that.
Take up that offer of sleep or someone putting away the laundry or someone else cooking dinner. Ever heard that saying it takes a village to raise a child? Use that village. No one is going to thank you when you’re broken down and sick. Your child is not going to remember that time Aunt Jenny changed them, and ask, where the hell were you mum? It’s okay, really, so take that chance to go get a coffee and breathe for a minute. Or five if you can grab them.
You do not need to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfection. Some days you’ll feel like you’ve got things under control, and then the next day everything will fall apart again. That’s okay, that’s life. If your child is clothed, loved, warm and fed, it has all it needs.
You do not need to bounce back a week later with no evidence of ever carrying a child. This is crazy and not real life. Give your body time to heal. You don’t know it yet but it is pretty dang amazing.
It just housed a baby and will now change again to suit your baby’s needs. Your mind will be blown. Look after yourself because that little dude or dudette needs you and your body has just gone through a lot, so cut it some slack, okay? It is perfectly normal to still look pregnant once bubs is out. NORMAL (note caps again) so try not to focus on it too much, okay?
Try and laugh at the silly things. You will get chucked on, pooped on, peed on, spat on, eye and face gauged, head-butted, hair pulled, kicked, punched and then they learn the word no, so get used to it.
Good luck, you got this mumma bear.
From Clare, mother of two.
Clare Griffin is a Melbourne based writer who begins conversations with “I love your shoes!” – often to complete strangers. Her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications and in 2016 she published her debut novel Tumble which you can buy here. Clare lives in Melbourne with a house full of men in the form of her husband, two sons and a retired greyhound.