Don’t be scared that you couldn’t breastfeed properly and that having an unsettled bub meant she didn’t have a full tummy. If you need to introduce formula, do it! Don’t feel guilty about this, you’re trying and doing your best. Putting yourself down because all those other new mums breast feed like champs won’t serve you. Not all milk supply is good supply anyway as stress is a factor of low quality milk. If your gut instinct tells you to get them ties double checked, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Finding an upper lip tie at 10 months old makes you doubt yourself yet again and the doctors that didn’t pick up on this sooner!
That lost feeling you get when she won’t settle and you question whether or not this mum gig is all that it’s cracked up to be – it is. You don’t need to doubt yourself. Soon the struggles will ease or you’ll become more resilient and start to realise it is worth it. Those scary blues in the early weeks – where you cry at every little thing, struggle to shower and use the toilet, are afraid to leave the house without Adam and the incessant little voice that tells you you’re doing it all wrong – thankfully disappear. Listen to your GP when she says you ARE doing a great job and your daughter is thriving on the life you have given her. Her caring support helps you in your constant struggle with postnatal anxiety in the early weeks. What a relief to know that this too shall pass with her support. Your baby was and is a happy and healthy growing baby and the Drs are always happy with her development.
You’ll brave an outing when baby is 8 weeks old. Don’t judge yourself that you’re not out and about sooner like the other mums – there’s plenty that stay in just like you too. You’ll see in time that there is no wrong or right way, there’s just the way that works for you and that all the other mums have their own ways that work for them too. It’s okay that you’re not on top of the housework, you’ve created life, your body is healing while leaning into the 24/7 care that a newborn demands.
Don’t feel bad because you co-sleep, if it works for you and bub, then do it! If people want to come visit, they are not going to criticize the way you feed or that you can’t burp straight away, that’s just your anxiety talking. You are still learning techniques. In the end; you get there. It is a long journey, but you are becoming such a great mum!
When people offer to bring food over, LET THEM! Don’t be afraid to ask for help with housework or just needing a nap. Plenty of people you know are mum’s, so they are more than willing to help. They know what it feels like. You are not a burden on anyone.
When you return to work and put baby in daycare she’ll be sick frequently. Once again you’ll doubt yourself and once again, you don’t need to. You’re doing the best with the situation you have. She’s rarely sick now and other mums tell you it’s an adjustment phase and they’re building their immune systems which makes sense.
Life is all about learning and growing, becoming a mum will change your whole outlook on life now and how you choose to live it. Embrace motherhood and remember each child is their own unique self. Go with it and trust your gut instinct.
Your new strong self
I first met Lauren when we worked together in our early twenties. Over the years we sporadically kept in contact. After having my baby, Lauren would message me and share little stories that offered immense relief in shared experiences of emotion. Her words were worth their weight in gold and helped me more than she might’ve known. If you know a new mother, reach out and ask her how she’s doing. In sharing stories, there is hope and realisation that you’re not alone and the early weeks don’t feel as isolating. Thank you for sharing your story Lauren.