First time mum/referee/ sleeve snot wiper to a wild toddler. Designated household bum changer. Blogging about this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest and unfiltered perspective.

To my first time mum self...


18 months ago I became a mother. 18 months ago I was lying in a hospital bed cradling the tiniest little human in my arms, those moments unexplainable through words, utterly surreal.
Feeling bewildered and a little green around the gills, I shoved my building anxiety in a drawer and, like I always did when any obstacles surfaced, buried it, kept marching on, and tried to forget about it.

The adrenaline I was high on began to fade that same evening, and the nervous anxiety slowly crept its way into my mind. I was sat alone with Arthur, shaking, fighting not to fall apart in the swamp of realization and reality and the comedown. In love but terrified, in company of a fresh out the bun baby but so alone. Inexplicably happy but exceptionally depressed all the same. 

I look back on my 'new mum' self and I feel that familiar anxiety come to greet me. I feel a little heartbroken when I think of her. How much she was shattering under that unbreakable appearing exterior. How overwhelmed she was when the reality hit. How much she really needed help she felt she couldn't ask for. 

She had spent so many months preparing and organizing for this little boy she was so impatient to meet. She felt at ease and content in her pregnancy, full of a love never before experienced. She was strong, she was for once, at peace in her mind.
She was thriving.

As prepared as she was with an assembled crib, a comforter, folded baby clothes piled neatly in drawers ready for every sick tsunami, she hadn't thought of the emotions that would follow.
She was sorted in the aspect of being organised, of having bottles sterilized and nappies stored in ease of reach for midnight changes, but she hadn't concerned herself with the mental toll having a baby can have on you and the severity of its impact.

So, what would I say to my Fresh Mum self if I could travel back in time and face her right now?

breathe, baby! Just slow down.

I'd tell her to, first, take a breath. Just take a deep breath. Close your eyes and take this moment in. Take just a small second to process what you have experienced. You just had a baby! You have only just endured a traumatic and overwhelming endeavor. Your body is tender and sore and needs time to heal, stop throwing yourself into housework, and other tasks like it's any other day. Stop overworking yourself to the point you are burnt out. 
Why do you feel like you are expected to get right back to it? You are not a machine. 

I'd tell her, no actually, I would plead with her, to please slow down. Take care of your mind. Stop beating yourself up and feeling frustrated because you can't manage it all today. It's okay to need to stop. It's perfectly alright to neglect a bit of housework right now, to cancel that lunch date, to feel deflated.
Your mind is in overdrive and desperate for a pit stop. Prioritise your well-being.

Let it out

I'ts okay to not feel happy all the time. The reality of motherhood is that its not all baby coos and little laughs. It's exhausting and boring and never bloody ending. 
Just let it out. Stop forcing back tears that threaten to expose you don't have it altogether. Nobody does (they're lying!) Just because you feel you are about to crumble, doesn't mean you have been defeated. It's not weakness or anything to feel ashamed by. Dig out some ice cream, watch a soppy romance and have a good old greet, you'll feel better for it. 

Ask for help

I'd ask that she please talk to someone. I'd tell her to stop hiding behind forced smiles and exhausted eyes. You are struggling because it's tough, not because you're failing. No one will think any less of you for admitting that you don't quite have the hang of it, that you sometimes feel like running away or that you miss your life before sometimes. We all need a little help, we need to be more than just 'Mum', in no way does it diminish the love and adoration you have for your child. 

You're doing okay/it'll be okay

She was full of self doubt and so hard on herself. Questioning her own capability and her eyes always brimming with tears, as fragile as crepe paper. Exhausted, anxious and alone, scared to ask for help because she feared it would declare her a failure, incapable. 
I would give her a hug, a big fat comforting squeeze and assure her she's doing a good bloody job. I would tell her to remind herself that she cannot control everything all the time, that it's okay to accept help and its most definitely okay not to cherish every second. 
I would reassure her with the comfort that it will get easier someday, that she shouldn't be so tough on herself, that's she's doing okay and it WILL be okay. 
But, most of all, I would beg she revel in every fleeting second before she blinks and reminisces about a time she wished so eagerly away.


2 comments

  1. Yes girl! This advice is spot on. I'm sorry you didn't have the right advice and I'm sorry I didn't have the right advice and I'm sorry thousands of other women didn't get the right advice but it looks like it could be starting to happen thanks to articles like this! So thank you.

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