When you have a new baby it can feel like life has changed beyond all recognition. You may have been eagerly waiting to give up work – no more ‘work’ for a while, what’s not to like?! You finish up, have a lovely send off from your colleagues (hopefully) and you wait for your baby to arrive (whilst watching lots of box sets and enjoying lunches out in my case!)
But giving up work and life as you know it can be hard – it was for me. I was 36 when my first baby was born. I had been working full time since I left University, I had a busy job and I enjoyed a great social life. When my eldest child was born, perhaps not surprisingly, that all changed. I knew it would – I was ready to be a Mum after all. But when it came to it, making the transition to being at home all day with a baby was just a lot harder than I expected and actually, quite lonely at times.
I was used to working in an office full of people, my friends had older children or no children at all and were working themselves. I had no-one to hang out with apart from my new baby. When you have an early start with a baby the days are long – the nights are long too. The feeding seems endless. Then the Mum-guilt kicks in. I worried that I wasn’t doing enough with my baby; should I be entertaining her more, stimulating her more, just doing more? I wish someone had told me that we could just ‘be’ and that was enough.
I found being a new Mum really disorientating. I’d lost my bearings and found it difficult to calibrate myself in this new role. I didn’t feel like ‘me’ anymore, or at least the ‘me’ I used to be.
So what do you do when you suddenly find yourself adrift and without an anchor?
I went to a few Mum groups, made some friends and slowly adjusted to this new life, this new ‘me’. I found my groove. The parts of me that I thought I had to give up completely were still there, some that were no longer serving went and I found some things in me that I didn’t realise I had.
My children are 9, 7 and 5 now and I look back on the early days and remember that amongst the hard times, there were some of the sweetest moments with my babies, the days snuggled up on the sofa, the cuddles in the middle of the night, the proud moments; first smiles and first teeth.
Motherhood is a huge transformation no doubt, but the biggest change for me was the shift from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. In our culture we value busyness, but with a new baby you simply can’t do all the things you did before. And that’s OK. Sometimes we need to be gentle on ourselves; we are always learning and evolving as mothers and parents. Being with our new baby and becoming a Mum is all we need to do. For now.
If you are looking for some extra support so you can be with your baby and ease your self into motherhood, I can be there for you with a cuppa, some kind words and plenty of reassurance and encouragement. If you are interested in my doula services, including post-natal support please take a look here or contact me for more information.