Instagram is such a great concept, don’t you think? It’s a place where a group of complete strangers can become good friends. It allows you to connect with like-minded people without ever having to meet in person. Sharing stories, pictures and musings to this cool little community, which continues to grow and inspire. When Amy recently reached out to me on Instagram to ask if I wanted to guest blog for her, I didn’t have to think twice. I was very humbled that she wanted to include me in her powerful movement of #womensupportingwomen and #mumssupportingmums.
This is me and my little Super Man (wink wink) xx
As I've been in this motherhood gig for just over a year now (yay to my one year Mother-versary), I thought it was a nice opportunity to reflect on a few lessons learnt and ones I'm still learning. More for self-reflection than anything else, but if anyone finds these things comforting then that's wonderful!
1. HELP IS NECESSARY
And amazing. Truly, it really is. So often you hear people say "let me know if you need anything" but our pride tells us to say "thanks, but that's ok we'll be fine". Yes, most of the time you will be fine. But when you're not fine, ask or take any help offered to you. Without my partner's help, I would be lost. Without my family's help, I wouldn't have been able to work or join the occasional social event. And without friends (some of whom I didn't even know this time last year) I wouldn't have maintained (most of) my sanity this past year. Even if it’s a quick chat or occasional message, those who care about you and your wellbeing will make themselves known and be there when you need. Just make sure you let them.
2. NOTHING COMES NATURALLY
Well for me it didn't anyway. Before starting this little journey, I'd heard all too often about the overwhelming love, devotion and purpose a baby gives you. It sounded like something out of a movie where your whole life leads up to this one moment in time and then everything makes sense. Breastfeeding is a cinch, life with a baby is a dream and this whole new level of love for your partner becomes apparent.
It's hard work. I didn't experience the instant connection because there were complications at birth so I didn't get to even hold him until the next day. Breastfeeding was harder than I expected, but we got there. And although I discovered a new love for my partner seeing him as a father, we bickered a lot at first thanks to my exhausted, emotional state. With all of this said and done, is it worth it? Absolutely! But just try not to get swept up in this image of a perfect transition into parenthood because I don't think that ideal is possible. Remember that if you do find things harder than you imagined, it doesn't make you any less of a person or mother.
3. PRACTICE SOME SELF-LOVE
This one I'm still learning. For our whole lives, we are taught that in order to look after or save someone else, we must first take care of ourselves. Take saving someone from drowning for instance - if we forget about ourselves and devote all energy into the other person, chances are we will all drown in the process. This is what it feels like in the very early months. Leading up to birth we are educated about newborn care but the concept of caring for the mother sort of goes out the window. Some days I'd find myself hardly eating or drinking at all, as I prioritised household chores over meals any time bub was napping.
Needless to say, this left me teetering on the brink of a complete breakdown. Time to put Mumma first (when you can) and let chores wait a while. It took a few months to find a hobby I could do, but I ended up taking weekly ballet classes. Even if it's just an hour out of the house, it felt amazing and really helped my mood, energy levels and confidence.
4. NO JUDGEMENT
This was a big eye-opener for me as any previous parenting ideas I had, have gone completely out the window. I'm actually ashamed of the judgement I used to have for people I didn't even know. If the old me saw a parent struggling with a public toddler tantrum, I would've shook my head and questioned their parenting style. Now if the new me saw that exact situation occurring, I'd feel like running over to give the mother/father a hug and whip out a kettle so we can sit down to have a cup of tea and chat (because tea solves everything, right?) Unless you've walked in someone's shoes, it's never ok to judge anyone, ever!
Some people think that the second they have a baby, they become an expert on ALL babies and parenting in general and they aren't afraid to openly judge others. If you have anybody like this in your life, swiftly remove yourself from that friendship circle. This type of judgement or negativity can be really toxic and leads to unnecessary insecurities. Trust in your instincts and surround yourself with positive people.
5. FINDING PURPOSE
This is another one I'm still learning. Some people find purpose in their careers while others find purpose in motherhood. I feel like I need a purpose just for myself. Something that gets me out of bed each morning feeling energised and motivated. Something to work towards or grow. Something that will remain with me when my kid/s have grown up and flown the nest. And most importantly, something that I can look back on when I'm old and grey and feel really proud of myself for achieving. So what is this illusive 'thing' that will give me purpose in life? No clue. But I'm working on finding it.
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