As my little ones first birthday looms uninvited on the horizon, I realise that time is not slowing down. Not now not ever.
This makes me feel emotional, but good emotional. After looking back on pictures from life over the past ten months, I see how far I’ve come as a new mother and as a person. I’ve found myself more than I ever could have. I love myself more than I have in the past. I am proud. So here I am, fluffy pyjamas on, pad open and ready to pen my former sane self a letter. A letter with words of advice and support I wish I’d read back then. So deep breath, this could get emotional….
You did it. You’ve brought a beautiful bundle of joy into the world. See it wasn’t as bad as expected….okay maybe you didn’t expect the pain but you feel happy about experiencing that pain right? The worlds a funny place. But now just relax. It’s okay to not want to get up off the couch, it’s okay to want to just eat chocolate and do not feel guilty for that. I know you’re probably wanting to rush out with baby in the trolley, show her off and show the world that you kicked labour butt – but slow down, you have enough time to do everything you want and more. There’s no time limit. Enjoy post-partum and all it brings, yep even the bad bits like the stinging when you have a wee (it gets better, but do take some cotton pads and warm water in a squeeze bottle to every toilet trip until so, it works wonders), you’ll soon be past this stage and it will only be a fond, distant memory. Make sure you relax, spend some time with your family of now three, these are new times for you all.
Support each other! Don’t be scared to share your little baby with your family and friends, it’s okay for other people to help out with nappy changes and feeding – it doesn’t make you any less of a mother. I know it’s hard to see the most precious person in your world tucked up snugly and cuddling someone else, but she is still your child. And it’s normal to not want to share your little angel too! Don’t be afraid to cry. Especially when your baby is upset and you can’t figure out why, it’s something you will learn to understand. Be prepared for those injection appointments. You’re going to tell yourself you won’t cry…but you will. More than the baby. Embrace it. That’s motherhood. You will have visitors come round to see baby and the house will be filled with dirty nappies, clothes that need washing and dishes that need putting away – don’t be embarrassed, all new mums are likely to have this home after birth. Unless your superwoman in which case I applaud you and please teach me. Oh and all those super cute newborn clothes, shoes and sets you bought? Yep not even half of those are going to be worn. Your baby is going to grow so quickly, she will be in size 6 month clothing before you know it.
Speaking of 6 months nothing will give you greater joy than seeing your little one start to learn to roll over and react to the world…oh and don’t waste your money on food jars, do batch cooking for a healthier, cheaper option in the long run. Read some baby books and articles before she’s due to wean to give you a heads up. It’s much easier than trying to figure it all out whilst trying to understand weaning. Planning and preparation is key, well as much as can be. Babies run off their own plans. Nothing gives you bigger satisfaction than seeing your child polish off a home cooked meal. Remember sleeping through won’t actually mean sleeping through. There’s a good chance you will be going into the nursery a few times for a few minutes of reassuring pats and cuddles at some point in the night but still no bottles and in her own cot is something to be extremely proud of. Sleeps can be tough for both of you. Remember your baby is learning how to sleep, be patient and grab whatever sleep you can. It will slowly creep up on you and before you know it your daydreaming about duvet days and long lost lie ins. Remember dad needs support too!
But above all else remember, no one is perfect. Everyone was a beginner at one point. There’s no training to parenthood, there’s no manual – no matter how many books you read that insist they have ‘the secret’. You learn with every moment and what fantastic moments they are. Live every moment, cherish it and remember the little things like lying in bed with your little one holding your finger or learning how to kiss you for the first time. They really are priceless moments, moments you will never get back. Document everything, make scrapbooks, write blogs, take lots of photographs because before you know it your sat in your pjyamas, watching your ten month old play on her own in her own little world and thinking about the looming first birthday.