Not a medical opinion……just a mum’s!
Like any parent, I will never forget my first day of motherhood, the day we brought our first born Lucy home from the hospital. The two of us walking from the hospital to the car with her tucked up in her car seat, both of us looking at people in a shocked manner if they moved in any way that potentially, in any way, could have ended up in harming her.
We placed her in the back seat, facing backwards, checking and re- checking the seat was fitted correctly. I sat in beside her and held the car seat….. just in case (well you can never be too careful, can you!!) while my husband proceeded to drive home at 10 MPH!!
I was so happy! “Nothing could upset me today” I said to myself.………..Ten minutes later (& about 100metres from the hospital with the 10MPH driving!) I was in tears! What am I going to do with her when we get home ?? The Midwives helped me with everything up until now??? The midwives made me a cups of tea- more sobbing!
‘OMG, I’m failing already…….I’m a useless mum……already! ’ That is when my husband asked me would I actually like to go into the house or was I going bring our child up in the car in the driveway!
Well, you’ll be glad to hear I did not bring her up in the car, I went in and I was ok! Obviously nothing can prepare you for the real thing but looking back there were a few small things I wish I had taken more heed with.
When you are pregnant, no matter what people say, you think when your little bundle of joy arrived it’ll be like this……
But we were like this……
There is a mountain of information on how to cope and everyone will give you their six pence, especially family!
A few tips I wish I had known, for what it’s worth & I am certainly no expert, were the following:
Stop Self Criticism:
- When you catch yourself berating yourself for not losing the baby weight quick enough, you’re not breastfeeding/you are breast feeding!, you can’t get out the door before lunch and perfect ‘Susan’ has 5 kids up, fed and perfectly dressed by 7.30am!- (well done Susan!) Whatever it is, try and pull yourself back and ask yourself would you speak to your very best friend like you have just criticised yourself if she was in your shoes. Knocking yourself will only make you feel worse and with that you are more likely to make bad lifestyle choices and it then becomes a vicious circle. (The best friend thing may seem ridiculous but it works! I would never say or even think the things I have said to myself about myself to one of my friends!)
- I know this can feel self-indulgent nearly and I do not mean go from self-criticism to arrogance but just treat yourself with the kindness you treat others. A good tip I found to help me get over the ‘self-indulgence or self praise’ feeling & putting a stop to the negative voice was that as your children get older (especially girls) you do not want them to self-criticise themselves and unfortunately, monkey see/monkey do, so why not change the habit now and you’ll also be a happier person for it too- so……..win/win!
Get out & meet other mums:
- I know that sleepless nights can put a stop to having the strength or energy to get out the door but if you can muster up the strength it will always be worth it.
- Chatting with other mums will make you realise you are not alone and that EVERYBODY thought they would be the family in the first photo but are in fact feeling like the family in the second one!
- Obvious one I know, but SO important, even if it is just a stroll to the shops, again huge for your mental health and it is always the very day that it is hardest to make yourself do it is the most important day that you do. Make an arrangement to meet a friend for a walk and that way you will be less likely to pull out. And if you do pull out…don’t beat yourself up about it!
- If possible, really try & attend a Post natal pilates or yoga class. They are both invaluable to your physical recovery and for future pregnancies but so relaxing too, both elements so important to new mums. It is just very important you choose the right classes. Make sure that they are taught by professionals that have specialised in post natal exercise in order not to get injured or cause damage.
Make The Right Food Choices ‘Most’ Of The Time:
- I really struggled with this one!! I just wanted sugar 24/7 with being so tired. When I did manage to drag myself away from the sugar and the 20 cups of coffee I felt the benefits massively, so it is so worth it if you can manage to make those choices. Though some days you just have to drink copious cups of coffee with several packs of Toffee Pop biscuits and that’s ok too!
Try & Have Fun!:
- Particularly with your partner. This may be a tough one as you are probably killing each other or just feel too tired to make an effort. Let go of being the perfect mum, give yourself and break, laugh- you won’t regret it! & the times goes so fast so try not to be too serious about it & enjoy it!
How can Personal Health Help New Mums?
Exercise, Meet Other Mums & Have Fun:
Post Natal Pilates & Yoga classes led by Chartered physiotherapists and Midwives: see here for schedules and prices:
(Babies are welcome up to crawling age at Personal Health.)
Dietary workshops for new mums: Coming soon
Book an appointment with our Consultant Dietitian:
Call: 01 4964002