Yoga is incredibly helpful for new mums because the very essence of the practice is to be in the moment. So, I tell them to just take it day by day and then I remind them that just as it takes a year for your body to fully recover from pregnancy and birth, it may take a year to really feel like you're in the groove of motherhood.
Mothering Poet has encouraged me to reflect on my experience with baby Che. And so, I've written myself a letter (inspired by this memo)...to my pregnant-for-the-first-time-self:
You're 23 and about to have a baby. Because you're concentration is lacking and because you're prone to forgetting (go on, blame those late-pregnancy hormones!) I've written this letter in dot-point. A few things to remember, as you embark on your first year with your new baby:
- Stretchmarks fade. Really, they do.
- Your belly may take a while to return to a semblance of its former self. Please don't get upset when people ask you when you're due. (FYI - people will ask the same question with your second baby, even when you're holding her in your arms!)
- Breastfeeding is challenging. It requires determination and perseverance - especially at 2am. Before long it will seem like the most natural thing in the world and you'll revel in the beauty of it.
- Soak up the newborn scent. It doesn't last long.
- When he's four months old the newborn fog will lift and you'll recognise your old self in the mirror (hello cheekbones!)
- When he's four months old your hair will fall out. This is normal - don't freak out.
- The word routine should never, ever come into your vocabulary. Babies don't have a routine. Rhythm is a better word, start using that one.
- Let go of the hope that your baby will sleep through the night. Babies rarely sleep through the night, especially in their first year. If, for some reason, he does sleep through, mentally repeat to yourself: do not get attached.
- Instinct is your best guide.
- Co-sleeping is safe, good and perfect for your little family. Don't question it because of the remarks made by others.
- Just because other babies are feeding at six months old, doesn't mean yours has to. Gagging is not feeding, it's a sign that he's not ready. Listen to him. It will take him a while, but, at around eight months old, he'll start to love his food.
- He'll really get into solids in the autumn time. When you think he's turning a bit orange don't spend a whole day worried that he's got jaundice. You've been feeding him too much pumpkin and kumera and he's over-dosed on beta-carotene. Simple as that.
- Never feel guilty for taking an afternoon nap.
- Check your iron levels!
- Don't spend all afternoon reading blogs. Why? Because within no time you'll have a crying baby, no dinner prepared and quite quickly you'll crumble under the chaos of it all.
- Learn to prioritise. You can't do everything in one day.
- Cuddle him for as long as you like.
- Take lots of photos, he'll grow up really quickly (too quickly!).
- Simplify - your home, your day, your life. It will help you be a calmer person.
- Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself. Know that you're doing a really good job.
So, mums out there, what would you say to your just-about-to-have-a-baby self? I'd love to know.
Ps. the Dragonfly Toys giveaway ends tomorrow...
Photo: Che at three months old. Taken by Daniel, on his old film camera.