“I was adamant that I didn't want any drugs during my birth. I wanted to keep it as natural as possible, but it didn't turn out the way I had planned. During my labour, it was in my best interest and my baby’s, to be taken down to theatre and have a c-section. I was upset but I knew I had no other choice. It was an experience that I had to repeat to nearly everyone who met me and my newborn. I kept replaying the fact that it didn’t go the way I wanted. For months I would say that I didn't get to do it the way that I wanted to but then looking back now it actually did go the way I wanted to. I gave birth to my healthy baby and I made that decision to trust the professional. Even though at the time it didn't feel like I was in control, I actually was. I was just being guided to change the course slightly, but the outcome was exactly what I had wanted. Sometimes it might not feel like we are in control but clearing your mind and seeing the positive in everything you do, does open your mind to understanding your own control.” Kayleigh
It’s pretty hard not to try and keep up with those around you and their expectations. This doesn’t mean that you are losing the race, because life isn’t a race, it’s a journey. But if someone says you need to be visiting family with your newborn, getting back into your routine or fitting into those skinny jeans, you automatically believe that’s what you should be doing, and you question why you're not already there.
The problem lies with the fact that other people don’t know how ready you are for any of this, because they aren't recovering from having just given birth. Their minds are replaying their own experiences, so will naturally assume that you can do what they could do in the same time period. And of course people can forget how hard it was. Everyone is different, and they don’t know how you’re feeling on the inside, as both your mind and your body are healing from something so physically draining. For me there was nothing worse than someone telling you how quickly they were back driving or to their pre-pregnancy size.
Whether you're a new mother, or a mother of two, three or more children it can feel like you’re losing control over every little thing, from choices during pregnancy and birth to being home and starting your parenting journey. This is especially if you had a tough time during childbirth and are in need of that extra bit of support.
But too many people crowding you in your home can become seriously overwhelming. So, how do you create that balance to keep you and everyone else happy? Hang fire! See how I automatically asked how to keep everyone else happy? This is a common slip and the opposite of what you should do. I cared about my family and friends’ wellbeing during this time of course, but realistically I was the one who had gone through three days of labour, lost a large amount of blood and was physically drained. But how could they know how I was feeling if there wasn’t any communication from me? Staying in control means you must share how you’re feeling and say what you want. My husband’s favourite phrase when I was pregnant was, ‘Well, how was I to know? I’m not a mind reader.’ How true are his words!
You don’t have to think about anybody else at this stage. Some mothers might feel like they can get back up and take over the world, but it doesn’t have to be that quick.
Taking time out for yourself is what is needed for those first few days. I know how hard that can be, especially if you have older children who depend on you, or your partner has to return to work. Even the simple things can get to you, like washing piling up and the dishwasher not being turned on for days. So, how do you cope with this?
DELEGATE! Delegating can be hard work at the best of times, but when you’re pregnant or you’ve just had your baby, it can seem impossible. No one does it like you, right? So, what’s the point because you have to go over it anyway? There’s a big point. It will give you time on your own and to bond with your new baby, without having to multitask. It’s the time to sit back and allow motherhood to catch up, and to let the realisation of the changes that are happening to your body and mind settle. It’s the time to pick up that book you didn’t finish, while your new baby is feeding.
The importance that surrounds a new mum bringing her baby home, is sometimes forgotten about. The amount of times I’ve heard new mums say that they would have preferred to come home, settle in and then see visitors, is increasing. It’s only right that everyone wants to meet the new addition, but this can be worked around the needs of the mum.
When you become a mother, it can feel like you have to learn quickly and relate to what motherhood is all about, opening up a whole new perspective on life and the challenges it brings.
I believe that all visitors’ attention should be focused and directed at both mother and baby. Questions like, ‘do you want a cup of tea?’ or ‘do you want to go and lie down or for a walk by yourself?’ can make a massive difference to how a mum is feeling and open up the communication doors to see if there is anything troubling her.
I’m sure you can relate to a time when you’ve gone past the stage of reasonable thinking. It’s like a switch just seems to click in your mind. Everything goes dark and it feels like you have blanked out. Then you suddenly come back into reality, and no one even noticed that you weren't there for moment. That’s one of the loneliest things you can experience as a mother. It feels as if no one cares, but realistically how can anyone notice if you’re not prepared to talk about what’s going on?
Communicate, Delegate and Concentrate on yourself. The positives will then flow.