The main reason I struggled with my adjustment to motherhood was my inability to accept that I had lost control. I lost control of every aspect of my life during those first few weeks of becoming a mother and I am now certain that if I had done just a few of the things I mention below, my transition to motherhood would have been a lot easier!
I hope you find this informative and that these little tips help you through your transition. There are probably so many more tips I could give, but I don’t want to bore you (and you probably have heard or read about them before). So here are my top 10 tips for those first few weeks of motherhood:
1. Prepare to have absolutely no time for yourself – and this is exactly why everyone says ‘rest as much as you can before baby arrives’. Yes I know, you want to kill me for saying that because so many other people have said it to you, and because really, how can I expect you to REST when your belly is too big for any comfort? I have learnt that yes, they really do mean that you must sleep, but I think it is more about cherishing the time you currently have to do as you wish. Your baby will consume every second of every day of your life, for at least three weeks (in my case, 12 weeks). Prepare yourself for the lack of sleep. Prepare yourself to hold your wee in for long periods of time because you are too busy with your baby. Prepare yourself to not be able to take a shower at a desirable time. Prepare yourself to eat cold meals because chances are your baby will cry when lunch is ready. Prepare prepare prepare!
2. Schedule help from friends and relatives – no, not (necessarily) help with your baby, but help with your life. Before baby arrives, arrange for someone to come and assist you with doing your daily household chores, because you will not be able to get to it. I was not in control of my baby, nor my life, and losing control of my home sent me over the edge! Everyone says that your baby comes first and everything else can wait. But while I was completely stressed out from pacing up and down my home trying to settle a crying baby, the sight of unwashed dishes, unfolded laundry and things being out-of-place made the situation so much worse! Having someone assist with doing the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms and doing a general tidy up really would have helped save my sanity!
3. Prepare for home cooked meals – whether this is preparing and freezing home cooked meals yourself, or arranging for a friend or family member to cook for you, a home cooked meal will be highly appreciated. And yes, perhaps your husband (or partner or whatever you wish to call him) would be able to do it, but remember that he is also exhausted! Having too much take-out also aids in making you feel unlike yourself. Your hormones are out of balance, you already feel like the ugliest and fattest person alive, so you do not need another reason to make you feel unhappy!
4. Stock up with easy to eat snacks – ready popped pop corn, nuts, sweets, crisps, health bars, fruit, anything you fancy! Have them ready for those late nights when you are walking up and down trying to settle a crying baby. Because the moment you put your (finally!) sleeping baby down, you will instantly feel hungry. It will be too late or you will feel too tired to make a sandwich, so something easy and quick to fill your tummy will always be appreciated!
5. Arrange for friends or relatives to drop off every day necessities – milk, bread, fresh fruit, juice, replenishment of snacks, the everyday essentials. Prepare a list of the things you prefer to buy and ask a friend or relative to drop off these things every few days. Again, you think that you would be able to do it, and you probably would be able to, but having one less thing to worry about really helps you to relax and concentrate on your baby.
6. Stock up on your monthly essentials – toiletries, detergents, personal items, all the things you will need to run home for 3 to 4 weeks. Everyday items will be arranged as above, meaning you do not need to think about shopping at all (another thing less to worry about!).
7. Try your best to avoid visitors after 5pm – This does sound harsh, especially in the community we live in. We do not need to schedule a visit to friends or relatives, but having an unexpected visitor ‘pop around’ after 5pm to drop off a gift for the baby can sometimes really be an inconvenience. This really only applies to the first three weeks, the most vital part of the transition. Thereafter it becomes a little bit easier and you will be in a better space to have visitors at any time. For some reason, once the clock hits 5pm, you automatically feel tired. After a (probably) very long day, 5pm calls for a rest with your baby. Even if you cannot sleep, use the time to wind down and rest. Lay down, watch some tv, have a cup of tea, take a shower (if you can) because the next long night is approaching and you need to get those energy levels up. I did not have many visitors, but I remember visiting others with a new-born baby. I can kick myself now, I must have been such an inconvenience for them. I have now vowed to myself that I will not visit a new parent during those first 3 to 4 weeks!
8. Have a tea station ready for visitors – Have your kitchen armed for tea for your visitors. If you are anything like me, your intention would be to entertain your guests, but this may not be always be possible. Therefore, prepare. Have an air tight container filled with biscuits. Have your teapot, tea bags, sugar and tea cups all ready to be served (keep them close to the kettle). This will make entertaining much easier, and better yet, you will aid your visitors in assisting you with making that cup of tea. (They will offer to help, accept it!)
9. Pre-book your newborn photo shoot – Because when baby arrives, there will probably be no time to even think about it. Arrange for a friend or relative to contact your chosen photographer after baby is born to confirm a date. I really wish I did this, because before I knew it, Ammaarah was 1 month old and I never got around to booking a newborn photo shoot!
10. Don’t be so hard on yourself – This will be like nothing you have ever experienced before and you cannot anticipate how you may feel. Don’t be hard on yourself, you nor your baby has ever done this before. The entire experience is new to both of you, so take it in your stride, one step at a time and one day at a time.
If you are a mother already, what other tips would you give to expectant mothers? Reply below, I would love to know!