You are about to start the journey of motherhood. Leaving behind work for a number of months to care for your baby. Becoming a mother is a transformational experience.
Here are a few experiences you may come across during your first maternity leave.
To The Mom Who Is About To Go On Maternity Leave for the First Time
You might not fall in love with your baby immediately.
Not all mothers fall in instant love with their babies the moment they are born—and that’s completely normal. That is the fact that we often brush over. Even as a mother myself, it is not something I ever openly discuss as I felt inadequate and ashamed about it.
When this happens to you, do not beat yourself up about it. Give yourself time, and continue caring for your baby and giving your baby what they need: love, affection, and care. If you feel that is something you struggle with talk to someone, such as your doctor.
Don’t fall in the trap of comparison. Every mom experiences Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood Differently.
Some moms will have a beautiful, serene pregnancy, and some moms will be bent over the toilet until they give birth. Some moms will have a natural way of being when they need to care for a newborn, and some will not. And that is OKAY.
Give yourself time to figure out motherhood. Your way.
Commit to yourself now to let your partner be a REAL Partner
Remember, we are all different and you will learn and adjust to being a parent in your own time. Therefore, if you need your partner to stand beside you in the early days, then say it.
My husband was very engaged in caring for our newborn. And I let it be. I did not feel that I needed to control the situation. He is my partner and a parent in his own right. He did not exist to ‘help’ me as ‘help’ suggests that parenting is only secondary in his life. The resultant effect was that it set the scene for how we will parent for years to come.
People are going to give you a lot of advice.
Always ask for advice, but choose what you implement in your own family. Trust yourself, and your instincts. People mostly mean well.
Always aim to be kind when people offer advice.
There will be difficult days and beautiful days
You will cry. Often. You will wish for sleep and you might lie to friends and family who ask you how things are going. You may feel that you can’t really respond and say you are exhausted, hormonal and you feel trapped in the house (or can you?).
For some moms, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and sad during those first few weeks. Those first newborn days are not really all sunshine and roses. Yes there will be beauty in there but do not beat yourself up when and if the hard times come. Just take it one day at a time, or one feed at a time.
With my girls I had two different experiences. The first time around, I was in a very positive space with my newborn and it was love at first sight from the moment I saw her face. The second time around, I really battled. Again, we are different, and we are all in different stages of our lives.
You are going to have doubts about your job and work life.
Should you slow down at work?
How do you deal with being a parent and still striving for your career ambitions?
Whatever you do, it is your choice. As long as you are comfortable, and you and your partner are aligned, do what you need to do. There is no formula for how to be the best mother you can be. Seek out opinions from others and then make your own decision.
Begin as you mean to go on. Build a little structure into your new family lifestyle
Now that your family will change it is important to realise that you will need to establish new routines as a family.
Yes this time period is crazy emotional and nuts but there are little ways to bring a sense of calm.
Example, have a set early bedtime. Start there.
It does not matter how insane a day with a little baby is, there is always an early bedtime where you will be able to have a break by yourself and connect with your partner.
Build a routine from the get go, use a baby tracking app or our Baby Tracking Journal to help you understand your baby’s rhythms and patterns. Keeping track enables you to build a sleeping and feeding routine early on.
Do it your way, Mama
Listen to advice and people around you. Trust your instincts! Do it your way Mama.
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