From the very first signs of early pregnancy, you become instantly more selfless as you focus on the growing life within you. As you move through pregnancy those feelings intensify, as you realise you now need to put that baby before anything else. There is so much pressure out there now to be the perfect parent, but the truth is we all have different skills to bring to the mix and we can’t be the best at everything. Maybe you’re amazing at crafting together but you can’t stand getting muddy? Maybe you’re an awesome chef and make everything from scratch but you can’t bear playing imaginary play and board games leave you cold.
Don’t worry, it’s normal. It’s also normal to feel tired, touched out, burnt out and a complete failure. Hello, Mum guilt! I’m not saying you won’t feel guilty, it’s a normal emotion and you wouldn’t be human and a good parent if you didn’t feel guilty about something you are or are not doing as a parent. I love this Meme which sums up a lot of how I feel:
We all do things slightly differently, but we have a lot of common ground together. Instead of arguing with each other we should be supporting each other. So be kind to yourself as a new parent and try not to put too many expectations on yourselves. I was a Midwife when I had my first child, and I got postnatal depression due to in part feeling like I should be this brilliant mother because firstly, I had always wanted and imagined myself with children but I felt useless, and secondly I felt like as a health professional I should instantly know what to do.
Second time around I was more prepared and I didn’t feel the same desperation. If you are feeling even a hint of those feelings, please get help sooner rather than later.
How to cope as a new parent
Once the visitors die down from the birth and the Midwife’s visits finish, you can feel isolated and anxious. Maybe your partner has just gone back to work. Here are some practical tips on coping with your new life as a parent:
- Take a walk every day, even if it’s just around the block or to the corner shop
- Don’t feel guilty if you don’t ‘achieve’ something each day. Just getting through the day is enough, the washing up can wait
- If people want to visit, get them to bring any shopping you need or a meal
- Get your groceries online and delivered
- Start each day anew rather than thinking about how much sleep you’ve lost overall if you’re struggling with sleep deprivation
- Take a nap with the baby instead of cleaning
- Pop the baby in a sling or baby carrier and do the necessary chores
- Join a baby group or class to socialise and get out of the house
- Learn to say No to extra pressures and things that will add stress
These are just some of the ways to practically help you be kind to yourself as a new parent. If you are struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m around on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Disclosure: collaborative post