My New Life As A Mumma + Some Tips For The Mumma’s-To-Be
Just over 3 months ago, I gave birth to my first child, a baby boy named Théo.
Since then, I haven’t stopped learning, adjusting and processing new things. So much that I haven’t seen time go by.
I gave myself a few months of “maternity leave” and here is my first blog post since the birth
That’s why I wanted to take some time to write about what has changed for me. Plus, if I can give you a few tips that might help, based on my personal experience, I’d be super happy
Pregnancy was an amazing experience and the birth literally sent me on another planet. I was one of the lucky ones because my active labour and delivery only lasted a few hours (about 3 to 4 hours). But the pain was way stronger that what I could imagine. Even though I got prepared for it with a midwife in the last months of pregnancy, this was much more intense than what I could imagine… but I wouldn’t change a thing.
The intensity of the whole experience is what I missed the most after the birth. I could compare that to bungee jumping. It’s freaking scary before you jump, then the experience itself is super intense and when it’s done, you just want to do it all over again because it was too quick and super cool despite the fear and the pain.
Then, in the first few days and weeks after the birth, your whole world changes. Your body changes, your relationships, your couple, your routine, your priorities, your sleep, your pace… everything changes! As per all changes, it can be challenging at times and that’s why I would recommend all new mothers to be super gentle with themselves and taking all the time they need to adjust.
To be perfectly honest, it’s been over 3 months since Théo is born and I am still adjusting to it!
It’s also important to be able to take a break from your mum’s life to do a few little things on your own from time to time, such as having a haircut or a massage because you need it and you deserve it.
At the beginning, having a life beyond baby stuffs is almost impossible. In the first few weeks I was super happy if I could manage to get my hair washed and my teeth brushed before 6pm. No kidding! Being a mum is a lot of work and harder than I thought! (Respect and love to all the mummas out there )
But step-by-step you’ll gain a bit more time for yourself. That’s why this first blog post is a kind of an accomplishment for me (I still can’t remember how many trials it took me before managing to actually write something coherent in almost one go ).
I deeply think that birthing and creating a family is an amazing experience but it’s not all rainbows and sparkles like we are – too often – told. It comes with challenges, pain, suffering, stress, blood and tears.
Not to mention post-natal hair loss and depression. When your hormones are a mess, so are you! And it takes time to get back to “normal” and feel the same again… I am still not there yet and there is no magic recipe to fast-track it.
Of course, creating a family with the one you love is worth it and having the most amazing little human in your arms is just incredibly wonderful but if I can recommend a few things to help get through the first few weeks, here they are:
1. Take it easy!
Don’t try to manage it all. It’s ok to go with the flow (AKA your baby’s flow). That might mean that some days, you won’t leave the house at all, you might not even take a shower before 5pm and you might eat yogurt for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s totally ok. It won’t be like this forever (even-though it might feel forever when you’re going through this).
2. Don’t skip meals – especially if you’re breastfeeding.
I had a hard time managing it all at the beginning. When the simple fact of getting showered was a challenge, you can imagine that eating 3 balanced meals per day is mission impossible. So, sometimes I just forgot to eat until I got starved and ate anything I could find that didn’t require any preparation. This is NOT something you want to do!
Recovering from a birth is tricky and requires time and energy. Not to mention that you’ve lost a significant amount of blood and that you might be breastfeeding all at the same time. This is hardcore!
For my part, I had to be careful to eat regularly (luckily, my wonderful boyfriend was there to help me). But despite his help, I still had low blood pressure and collected an urinary tract infection, an eye infection and a breast infection over the first 4 weeks after the birth. I was so weak that my immune system was just down. So…
3. Take your vitamins (+ cell food)
4. Limit visits and / or ask for help
Friends and family will want to see your little peach. And even if it’s a great thing and that you love them, having a little baby is a lot of work and you won’t have much time left to cook, clean and take care of yourself, the house and… your guests. Visits are just an extra pressure. So put yourself first and don’t be scared to say “no” when it’s too much. A friend of mine used to tell her family “ok, you can come and see the baby after work but you’ll have to bring dinner”. I think it’s a brilliant idea!
6. Make sure you get enough proper sleep… here is how
The difference between being tired and sleep deprivation is huge but the boundary between both is thin and easily crossed when you’ve got a newborn. You’ll definitely be tired in your baby’s first months of life. You’ll notice that your short term memory is not working so well anymore, that you have to go to bed at 9pm because it’s impossible to stay up late anymore and that sometimes you’ll be falling asleep in the sofa without even realising it.
Sleep deprivation on the other hand is much more destructive. It happened to me once, when I experienced a few sleepless nights in a raw.
I guess everyone reacts to sleep deprivation differently. Personally I was so tired that I was not feeling tired anymore but more sad and depressed, like I was on the edge all the time. No need to mention that taking care of yourself + your baby when you feel that way is pretty difficult and very draining.
The most interesting thing is that, unlike when you’re tired, you won’t sleep more or better when you’re sleep deprived. Actually, it might even be more difficult to fall asleep and I guess that’s what’s dangerous. Also, there is not much you can take when you’re breastfeeding to help you sleep better. Even the natural valerian root is not recommended.
So make sure you won’t cross this thin line. What I found works best is drinking heaps of Camomile tea during the day and before bed time. This will also help calm your baby down. When I feel a bit more agitated, I am taking homeotherapy remedies. I found that “Ignatia” was working well and a friend of mine also gave me “Pulsatilla”, which works wonderfully too!
This is very precious when you notice you’re not sleeping as well as you should!