Be kind to yourself Mama

One thing I’ve learned over my sixteen years of parenting is that I have to remember to be kinder to myself. Especially when I’m pregnant and have just had a baby. Society being as it is, we seem to think that being pregnant or having a newborn shouldn’t have an impact on our lives. We still expect ourselves to be able to do everything that we did before. Yet that’s not the reality.

This time last year, when I was pregnant with my fifth baby {at the same time as trying to get out of an abusive/controlling relationship} I was feeling SO ill – queasy, tired, that old ‘sore throat early pregnancy sign‘…. Some days all I could bring myself to do was sit on the sofa. I needed to nap every day, and the thought of cooking made me feel even worse, so there were more dinners that were simply a case of ‘what can I throw in the oven’ than I care to admit.

Yet I knew that I was doing my best, the other kiddos were fed, and loved, and happy. They still got to all their groups, they still did their homeschool work, they weren’t suffering. So I gave myself a break. I knew that things would change, this was just a phase, that beating myself up for not being able to do everything wasn’t going to help matters.

Pregnancy is a hard one – it can be something you have waited and hoped for such a long time for, yet you can still find yourself hating every moment of it – AND THAT IS OK. It is fine to not enjoy being pregnant, or at least not enjoy every moment of it. It doesn’t make you a bad person, nor will it make you a bad Mama. it just makes you human.

When I became a Mum for the first time, while it was wonderful and amazing it was also such a shock. I suddenly felt like I didn’t know who I was. The lack of sleep was so hard. As was my new body. While I adjusted pretty fast, baby number two was more of a shock. My first child was one of those ‘easy babies’ She slept through, was always happy and placid, I was well-rested and had time in the evenings to myself. By the time we had our second child we had moved across the country, so I had no support system, I had a husband who was working every single night, and we had no money. I suffered really badly with PPD and used to cry myself to sleep because I felt like I was failing so badly as a Mama. I was tired, I was emotional, there were far too many chippy dinners, and too much TV time for my toddler.

If I could go back and give myself advice, I would tell myself to just be kind to me. To not worry about whether I was failing, about the TV always being on or the chips every day for dinner. To remember that these sleepless days would pass. I’d tell myself to go and talk to someone and tell them how I was feeling. To get out every day, invite friends over, stop worrying that I haven’t cleaned the bathroom or mopped the kitchen floor. I’d say just sit back and enjoy your baby. If she wants to sleep on you, let her. If she wants to be hugged all day {or night} that hug her. These days are short and you are doing an amazing job.

If you have a new baby, then do what you need to do to make your life as easy as possible;

– fill your fridge full of healthy, ready prepared meals/snacks so you can eat well if you are too tired or don’t have the time to cook

– accept those offers of help

– nap with the baby instead of trying to catch up on the housework

– ignoring the to-do list

– take yourself out for a coffee if you’re feeling like you’re going crazy stuck in the house

– let your partner/mum/friend watch the baby for half an hour so you can have a bath in peace

If ever you feel like you’re not doing a good job as a Mama, please take these words from me – you’re doing a better job than you think you are. The very fact you are questioning if you’re doing a good job means that you are. Just be kind to yourself Mama.

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