Top 5 Stresses As a New Mum
Written by Emily Hawley for her blog, First Time Mammy.
You can follow her on Instagram here!
So, as a new mum I found there are a lot of different things that can stress you out and panic you (and I am by nature a worrier anyway!). Here’s the top 5 things I found most stressful.
Number 5: The pressure of being the ‘perfect mother’
I found once your baby is born everyone seem to have an opinion on what is the right way to care for and raise your baby. Your friends say things like “make sure you take them to sensory classes – it’s great to help them develop” and then there’s your mother/grandmother; “no, that’s wrong, you’ve got to do it like this,” as if medical advances haven’t been made in the 20+ years since I arrived. Seriously?! Even the questioning (which sometimes feels more like interrogation) from other mothers at baby groups can be quite intense!
Everyone has an opinion but none of that amounts anywhere near the amount of pressure you put on yourself. I began to overthink, panic, worry and stress all at once making me a total neurotic. I worry about if I’m being a good mum. Am I doing everything I can for Henry? How do I know when he is in pain or just tired?
I feel guilty for putting Henry in his swing while he’s awake so I can do some housework or blogging. I can see his big green eyes staring at me as if to say “Mummy, why am I in here?” and the ringing of parent books making me feel guilty for wasting his awake time when I could be showing him his sensory toys (which he currently has zero interest in and laughs more at my dishevelled ‘mum bun’).
Now, the thing about being a perfect mum is that (get ready for the glass to shatter (I hope all my ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fans appreciated that!)) there is no such thing. It doesn’t exist. Even if your best friend has all the top rated baby products, the instagram ‘superstar’ mums are showing you their seemingly perfect lives or you are reading about your favourite celeb mum in the magazines each mum will have their own concerns, worries and something that doesn’t work 100% perfectly. Trust me, there is no perfect mum but as long as you are doing what is best for you and baby there’s nothing more perfect than that.
Number 4: Breastfeeding
If you and your baby took to breastfeeding easily, honestly, I take my hat off to you. My breastfeeding journey was quite tricky but I’m so pleased I stuck at it! I know for myself and many of you mums it can be so difficult and sometimes not even possible!
My experience was made difficult for a number of reasons.
- Henry has jaundice: this meant at first he was so sleepy he wouldn’t take for feeds easily and he had no interest in learning how to latch. He was also having treatment which involved light therapy which meant I was unable to hold him/practice latching etc so meant we struggled greatly to with trying to get him to feed.
- I had surgery when Henry was 2 weeks old on my gallbladder so meant it was tricky to breastfeed him when I was in so much pain.
- Henry had latching issues which took a lot of work and time to overcome.
- Henry’s glucose levels were incredibly low so he had to have formula to bring his levels up and stay on formula until my milk came in fully. I would have to pump as much as possible to build and encourage my milk supply then feed him whatever milk I got and top up with the formula.
Luckily, we stuck it out and we are now both confidently breastfeeding but I know how tricky it can be but the main thing is that baby is fed. Whether it be by breast or bottle.
Number 3: Going out alone with the baby
I’m quite lucky because my husband usually gets weekends off and my mum has weekdays off so I’m really only alone a couple of days with the baby and I haven’t really gone out with Henry just myself yet. However, that’s all going to change because we’ve booked in for baby massage classes which is a 5 week course so I’m going to have to. I think it’ll be easier now Henry is older and I know all his different cues but it is still quite daunting!
Number 2: The pressure to get back in shape
I never knew how much pressure was put on women to get back to their pre-baby body shape and weight until I had a baby myself. Now, let me make this clear, the pressure is not from my family or friends but from social media, society and the 21st century culture! After Henry was first born the last thing on my mind was to make a green smoothie or steamed broccoli and steak, hell, I’m lucky if I even remembered to eat these days!
I was quite disgusted to see diet products and supplements in the baby aisle of a well known store. I couldn’t quite believe this store was playing on the emotions of women who had just had a baby and in my case felt quite self-conscious about my new body shape just to get sales.
Social media and celebrities seem to make such a huge deal about getting back your figure it can be quite overwhelming. Celebrities are getting paid endorsements from different diets to promote their products if they’ve had a baby or not (in fact it seems to be all I see on my feeds these days which is starting to get a bit boring. Could they not promote something useful like raising money for charity?!
When women have a baby their bodies go through enormous changes and I don’t think pressure from anyone is acceptable. If and when you want to get fit, loose weight, tone up or whatever it is that’s your decision and in your own time, don’t be pressured!
Number 1: Is my baby happy, content and thriving?
This is my number 1 concern. How do I know my baby is happy and growing as he should be? The answer is, nobody knows. You just have to trust your mothers instinct. For me this was hard because I am a control-freak, its just part of my personality and trusting my ‘instincts’ has never been easy for me. Now my baby is 12 weeks I have seen him growing in front of my eyes, I know when he is happy, sad, hungry, tired etc and he is starting to learn new things everyday. You just have to trust your instincts and remember that you know your baby better than anyone.