A Few Things I Wish I had Known Before Becoming a Mum
We all know that motherhood is a privilege and having children can bring amazing moments of joy, but for something that so many women experience, it is not always honestly represented in the media or even amongst friends. Here are a few things that were ‘not in the brochure’.
Mothers (Parents) Group
After years of working and socialising the shock of the first year of having a baby can be tremendous. Even when you have family and friends for the support it can sometimes feel like it is always just you and your child. The lack of adult interaction and the loneliness some women feel is undoubtedly why parent groups were created.
In Australia, you will be assigned a group with about another 8 or 9 mothers in your area by your community maternal nurse. It can seem like the last thing you want to do at the time when you haven’t slept or washed your hair but being around other mothers (and some fathers) in the same situation can help. It also gives you a tribe to talk to about everything from breastfeeding and sleep training to whether you will ever stop wearing your maternity jeans.
Even if you are the most laid-back person in the world, having a child can create anxiety about things you didn’t even know existed before. Suddenly finding a rogue button on the carpet sends you into a “what if” cycle and every hint of a rash make you want to go straight to the emergency department.
Recognising the difference between expected levels of anxiety and more serious conditions is important. Your Maternal Health Nurse will visit you at home in the first week as well as ongoing appointments where mental health is very much at the forefront of their support, talk to them and your GP about any concerns straight away.
You Don’t Need Expensive Baby Clothes
When you are pregnant the whole idea of having a gorgeous little one to dress can be so exciting. You imagine your cute, plump little baby rockin’ white summer dresses or baby chinos. However, for the most part, newborns are just sleeping or feeding which gives very few opportunities to show off their designer wears. Then when their sleep cycle is more fashion friendly, they start on solids….and every piece of clothing they own (and most of yours) will be stained with spaghetti sauce or pumpkin juice or something unknown and still sticky.
I know Instagram and Facebook have a constant stream of babies in (unstained) designer clothing and that is great, for a photo shoot, but I can guarantee those parents are getting them out of their pricey outfits before they let them start swishing strawberries into their mouths.
Privacy is a Thing of the Past
It can be hard to accept that you will not go to the toilet or shower with the door closed for some time, but you won’t. In the beginning, it will be so you can hear them if they start crying and jump up mid-wee before they really take off.
Once you have a toddler, forget about solo anything, there is nowhere you can go that they won't follow. They will be half an inch behind you every time you leave the room and any closed door will result in screaming and banging and crying, it is easier to embrace it, get a little chair or potty for the bathroom and enjoy the company.
There are hundreds of things that each mother learns as she makes her way through the new world of parenting and plenty of advice from other mothers, some helpful and welcome, and some unsolicited and unnecessary. You be the judge of what you pick up and what you ignore, only you know what works for you.
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