If you can think of anything that trumps becoming a parent in terms of the most life altering events, do let me know?
Of course, losing a loved one is equally life altering but when you think about it, even a new job, moving house, moving continents, breaking up with someone. Nothing is bigger than becoming a mummy.
It’s the biggest shift in life.
Going from being totally free, able to go here, there, whenever you want, living a life of no cares in the world. To all of a sudden, you’ve got a baby in your arms. And that baby is yours. Your sole responsibility.
I remember this so vividly when we walked in the front door with baby Benio just two years ago.
We’d stopped for KFC on the way home. I can still recall the tug of my stitches as I kept turning round every 30 seconds to check he was breathing. It was dark, late at night in January, pissing down with rain, and I can’t tell you how much I wished I’d eaten more carrots as a child so I could see him properly.
Needless to say he was fast asleep the whole journey, tucked up in a bundle with his little baby blue snowsuit lined with fur fabric, fur tips flashing from the street lamps as we drove.
We plopped him on the kitchen table as we walked in, super casual, equally shellshocked mixed with pure, unfiltered happiness. He was here at last! In his home, with his mummy and daddy. We were finally all together as a family.
We’d not yet had the chance to greet the dog and I could hear our pooch padding round upstairs as we talked about introducing the two of them for the first time. That was what we worried about in those innocent days!
And so, we just sat there, chomping on KFC, staring at our new baby. God knows how long we gazed at him for. I can’t remember who spoke first but there was definitely a moment of holy shit realisation right there. Here’s here! And he’s here for good.
For me, giving birth and the subsequent raising and feeding and loving and nurturing my children has been life changing. Life enhancing actually. It’s been a commitment like no other. The commitment I have to my children to being the best mother I can be, and to be there for them for the rest of their life regardless what happens.
My priorities have changed beyond recognition since becoming a mum, as has how I spend my time. I no longer travel to work every day with a quick Subway lunch wolfed down in 20 minutes.
These days I cook fresh soups, breads and home cooked meals, because the health and happiness of my boys is top priority. We go for walks, visit toddler groups and enjoy as calm a life as possible given the modern times we’re living in.
It does change your life, having children, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. It has to because looking after babies and young children is full on and rightly so. Children need looking after!
I’m well aware though having worked as a wellbeing coach for the past year and a bit, that the transition from being a woman to being a woman with children, as in, fully responsible for a little human, doesn’t sit well for some.
And in my opinion our culture doesn’t prepare us well enough for the transition to parenthood. Big statement I know. I mean, I personally was ready for kids. I’d waited for hubby for years to be ready, but equally so, it took a lot to get settled in.
The thing is, we’re bringing up children in an overly sterile, top down approach which leaves many women feeling lost in those early days, like they don’t have a say in how they care for and nurture their baby and subsequent toddler/child. Add to the mix the myriad of birth experiences and the probable lack of support at home, there’s no wonder why so many new mums are struggling.
I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare you for it, and perhaps that’s the crux of it all? How do you prepare to change your life like that?
This must be why everyone who’s been there says “You adapt”.
Yes, you do adapt, but it’d be great if you could have some prep beforehand I think.
Oh, and then there’s a little thing called a pandemic to contend with too if you’re becoming a mum right now. Let’s not forget that.
All of this is why I started Mamas Find Your Voice in the first place. To help new mums who are struggling.
Mamas Find Your Voice started off as a simple mums group on Facebook believe it or not, where we could share a little piece of our own time, such as artwork or hobbies we managed to do when the baby sleeps, or when we had a rare morning off.
It then developed into a 10-week anxiety relief programme (you can check it out here) which has been taken by over 2000 women worldwide to date.
That group is still open albeit not very active these days sadly. However, there’s plans in the Autumn to run a wellbeing hub in my local area for new mums, which I can’t wait to share more about.
I don’t have the answers by the way, and I may be shooting myself in the foot here by openly admitting this. Certainly not.
I’m no parent specialist, as someone rather cruelly pointed out on social media. “Who are you to talk? You only had a kid a year ago…” Ouch. There’s no such thing if you ask me.
But what I do have is knowledge on the topic of wellbeing, that is, on how to look after your mind as a mother.
Techniques, practises and a lot of knowledge on how the brain works from a practical point of view. Again, another disclaimer, I’m no neuroscientist! But I do get it.
I’m certainly not winning anymore than anyone else right now by the way, given the COVID situation, and I fully admit that I struggle to believe in myself at times. I have down days, and I freely express that I sometimes don’t know what I’m doing from one day (hour) to the next, but the difference is I apply what I teach when I’m struggling.
That’s the key. Applying what you learn.
I also have a naturally positive mindset and a can-do attitude. Big bonuses in these crazy times.
I guess with this blog I just want to say that it’s not your fault if you’re struggling. I know it’s been a bit of a ramble, but to end, I want to say that these modern times we live in, they’re tough, and I’m writing a lot about it over the next few months with the intention to help as much as I can, offering wellbeing advice and much more.
As always, I do believe you’ve got this beautiful mama. Sending a huge hug x
(Photo by Barb Asb Photography)