As a new mother, not only do you have to manage your wildly swinging hormones, you also have to adapt to a new and demanding role that may redefine you as a person. All on night after night of uninterrupted sleep as you cycle through the unspeakably exhausting tasks that come with caring for a little person.
It’s hugely demanding.
Some parents adjust without too much fuss, while others find it debilitating, and many are somewhere in the middle. Well-supported mothers often find it easier to ride the physical and emotional waves. Without support, this phase can feel overwhelming.
To bolster yourself, you need to eat well and rest well, despite having no time to shower.
How then do mother’s survive?
We all do it differently. And even if it doesn’t always feel like it, we will survive, and most often thrive. So here are some tips to help.
A certain amount of letting go is essential. You need to believe that the dishes can wait until tomorrow, that the laundry will get done (eventually!) and that no one will starve.
When someone offers help, take it! This is not the time to stand on moral ground and reject help. Take all the help that’s on offer.
Trust your partner
Trust that your partner can soothe, bath and change your baby, even if it is not the way you do it. Take advantage of any possible timeout. Don’t always feel you have to be the one to do something.
Play to your strengths
Know you strengths and use them to feel a sense achievement.
Don’t create unnecessary stress
Cuddle your baby when you need to. Don’t adhere to unrealistic or stressful routines.
Don’t blindly accept advice
Not all advice is right for you and if you try to do everything that everyone says, the result will be confusion, exhaustion and frustration. Accept advice only after you’re sure it’s a good fit for you, your baby and your family.
The days will slowly pass.
With love and support you’ll have longer, uninterrupted sleep periods. Your baby will become increasingly independent and tolerate longer separations from you.
Take heart, you’ll survive! Just remember to be kind to yourself through this demanding phase of your baby’s life.
Author: Helen Stevens. RN. RM. MCHN. Manager of Clinical Services, Education and Research.
Parent Infant Consultants. 0411880720.