Adjusting to motherhood: new mama tips
Becoming a mama is life-changing. Not only has your body undergone a huge transformation, but so can will your relationship with your partner, your family and friends, and even yourself. Just remember, a new baby doesn’t mean the end of your story – it’s just an exciting twist in the plot! Read our tips on adjusting to being a new mama.
Accept the season you’re in
While some people find the transition easy, others feel lost without a performance target or KPI to keep them on track. This can be unsettling as they feel their new ‘work’ isn’t meaningful, and the productivity can’t easily be measured. Well mama, it is meaningful – more than you can imagine. Where you see a messy house, your unkempt hair, a full nappy bin and maybe a grizzly baby, remember this quote from writer and psychotherapist Naomi Stadlen for anyone who has ended a day of baby care feeling like she has ‘done nothing’: What did I do today? Nurture a baby. Grow a brain. Build a relationship.”
It’s different for everyone, and everyone is different
In a perfect world your birth would go according to plan, you’d bond with your baby, you’d both sleep and feed well, your partner would be happy, extremely able and involved in baby care. However the world isn’t perfect and birth, parenting and relationships are no exception. So, whether you gave birth naturally or took every drug on offer; whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, whether your baby is sleeping in multi-hour stretches or still waking every hour; whether you and your partner are finding things tough or are tracking okay, you’re amazing. Just do what you are able and need to do.
Aim for small wins
“The baby slept for three hours in a row and so did I.” So said one new OHbaby! mama when asked what ‘wins’ she’d had that week. With a new baby, it’s only natural that your goals - and therefore your wins - decrease in size. One OHbaby! mama said her first expedition to the park with her newborn in the front pack gave her a huge sense of accomplishment. Another mama said she made a daily list of 10 essential things to do around the house, and felt great when she did just the top two (she needed the list to be long enough to prevent her from feeling like she had to get them all done). Putting a load of washing on and hanging it out, even eating a meal while it’s still hot – these are things to be celebrated!
Give yourself the advice you’d give a close friend
We tend to be nicer to others than to ourselves and our inner voice tells ourselves things we’d probably never say to a friend. So when you’re feeling low, or as though you really don’t know what you’re doing, think how you’d respond to a friend who’d come to you, and was feeling the same way. You’d be caring and sympathetic; you’d encourage and you’d support. You’d commiserate, and you’d try to cheer them up. So even though it’s ‘just you’, try being a good friend to yourself. And give yourself a hug! (because even attempting that might at least make you smile).
Remind yourself of what is going right
Your baby is fed, cared for and safe – try cling to those three basic things when you’re feeling low. One OHbaby! mama said when she was feeling low, a good friend helped her make a list of steps she and her partner had already taken to ensure their baby’s welfare. “We realised we’d done a lot of good things we just couldn’t see them,” she said. On her list were things like sorting out the family life insurance, (companies like Cigna offer a great quick quote tool) setting up a savings account for baby and creating a budget for their new one-income status. They may be intangible things, but they’re things you may want to think about.