It is hard to believe our wee Mila is going to be one year old this week! I started this letter to myself when she was only a few days old and over the next months, especially during night feeds I wrote down little notes on my phone to remind myself of those things that I discovered to be important or not so important!
It took me a while to decide whether to share this post or not as I realise that everyone’s experiences are so different and things I found challenging or needed to be reminded of will be so different to others but in the end if this can encourage one person then it is worth sharing.
To give you a little background about my journey into motherhood my pregnancy started off with severe morning sickness which lasted the first 6 months after this I had to be very careful not to do too much or become tired or it would start again. I was working full time as an early childhood teacher until 4 weeks before Mila’s due date.
Because Mila was breach we had a cesarean booked to deliver her however our strong wee lady decided to kick her way out breaking my waters 15 days early. Those early months of being a new mum were incredible and equally challenging too as I adjusted the expectations I had of myself and learned to be a Mum. Unfortunately during the surgery my spinal fluid was punctured which resulted in me not being able to be upright or walk around for more than an hour at a time for the first 6 months of Mila’s life.
As well as my spinal puncture Mila had colic for the first 3 months of her life. She would often scream in pain especially during the night and their was nothing we could do to help her except hold her until it had passed.
I write this not to get pity or complain about what happened I am honestly so incredibly thankful for the experiences I have had. Rather I am sharing to encourage those who are becoming new mums. The journey may not be what you expect but it is so worth it. From a perfectionist, highly organised person who had a strong need to achieve and never sat still or allowed herself to relax, this is the advice I would tell myself…
Dear pregnant me – a few things you should know about being a new mum…
Firstly nothing prepares you for the journey you are about to start. You may have in your head how you think it will be but until you are there you will not fully understand. In saying this though it does help to be open minded and mentally prepared for all birth scenarios. Remember that no matter how your birth story happens you need to know that you are amazing to have grown and carried a tiny human in you for the last 9 months.
Those first few days are pretty exhausting; you thought having to get up to the toilet 5 times a night was tiring! A hungry newborn who needs you 24/7 is pretty tiring too! But it is seriously the most rewarding and special time as you hold your wee bundle in your arms. Nothing prepares you for the overwhelming love you will experience. You won’t be able to imagine life without them!
In those first days it seems like the world stands still. I mean you have just had a baby! Life as you know it has changed forever and you are totally responsible for this little life. Your heart grows a million times its size as you stare at their sweet sleeping face. You created this tiny miracle and she is perfect. You will spend many hours watching in total awe, smelling, kissing and snuggling your baby as you marvel at how amazing she is.
You should know that your recovery after birth may be different from others. It is ok to take care of yourself, slow down and give yourself time to adjust to the newest addition to your family. You may need to adjust the expectations you place on yourself. You don’t need to have everything together. Let go of the fact that the house is messy or you haven’t been able to get dinner ready, those first weeks are about recovering, bonding with and caring for your baby, the other things can wait.
It is certainly not a race to get out of the house or show your little one off to everyone even though you will want to! Take your time and be kind to yourself 🙂
You will not know where the days go! It feels like your life is full of eating, sleeping and feeding! How does anyone do anything else! Enjoy this time bonding with your wee one. Everyone tells you they grow so quick and trust me they really do! Treasure these precious moments as you get to know your little one.
If you happen to have a more difficult baby know that this is not your fault. Every baby is different and yours is unique too. Some babies get wind and cry more than others. You are an amazing mum and are doing all you can to provide the best care for your baby. Colic wont last forever! Hang in there and don’t beat yourself up or compare your journey to that of others who seem to not have the same issues. Do what you need to do to get through and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a weakness to ask for support.
God has blessed you with the opportunity to care for and raise this little person. It is such a huge honour and privilege to be a mum. On those longest nights when you are sleep deprived, emotional and feeling alone, please know that you are never alone. God will never leave you, he is so proud of you. Ask him for the strength you need to keep going, to find joy in the small moments, to be encouraged. No matter what you are facing remember to be thankful for even the smallest of things, it will help you to stay positive and remind you that there is aways something you can be grateful for.
Finally slow down, take a deep breathe, hold your baby close and store these special times in your heart as I said earlier they go far too quickly. Enjoy the journey, its not about racing to the next stage but embracing the moment you are in now. Becoming a mother takes practice, be kind to yourself as you learn.
Remember you are so loved, so treasured and so valued as you embrace one of the most important roles in your life.