A year ago you are pregnant and still half-unbelieving, after fighting 8 years of infertility to finally conceive. You are full of wonder and joy but also fear and anxiety. In the middle of the night, plagued by hip and back pain, you cradle your bump and feel those alien-kicks and wonder how on earth you are going to cope. Your mind is filled with things like how do you hold a baby, change a baby, feed a baby? Is the lack of sleep really as bad as people say? What if you can’t breastfeed? What if something goes wrong? What if he doesn’t love you?
As I think back to that time, I wish I could give you a big hug and tell you everything was going to be okay. It’s scary and hard at times, but it’s also a journey filled with wonder, joy and unconditional love. Your marriage will be stronger, your life will be fuller and nothing will ever be the same again – but that’s okay!
I’d tell myself how to be happier mentally
Stop worrying about other people and what they think and what they do. Comparison really truly is the thief of joy. Read the Supermum Myth, stop thinking about how other mums have their lives sorted out whilst you’re floundering and banish that mum guilt because you’re doing a terrific job. Even when you’re sitting on the bedroom floor rocking an inconsolable newborn who has colic at 4am in the morning and you’re crying along with him. You’re still nailing it!
Bright and happy baby! 6 months old in a week! Time is really flying. Going out with his grandma today in this bright two piece from #mothercare #littlebird range! Love him in colours. . . . #LittleFierceOnes #baby #babystyle #babyfashion #babymodel #kidsofinstagram #kidsofig #cutekidsclub #babyboyclothes #love #rainbow #bright #colouryourlife
I won’t tell you to stop worrying – because I don’t think that phrase is helpful. But I will tell you to talk to the health visitor and GP about how you’re feeling mentally. Please be open, raw and honest from the start. It’s not always as simple as “just stop worrying!” or “cheer up!” but there is help and support there for you and things will get better.
I’d tell myself about products that actually work
When you search the internet or walk into a shop, you’re going to be bombarded by products. Not just one, but hundreds, thousands, millions (well it feels like it) and most of them are completely useless (or at the very least, unnecessary). When you ended your breastfeeding journey and had to move to bottles, you bought four different brands but you didn’t need to. You didn’t need that electric sterilizer and a microwave one. Why did you buy a hairbrush when he doesn’t have any hair? You certainly didn’t need that weird little health kit with the tiny nail clippers that the health visitor will immediately tell you not to use. You didn’t need 18 different teethers because he only uses the one. You didn’t even need that many baby clothes because let me tell you – he’s going to grow so fast!
And if you walk into the baby aisle in the toiletries section of a supermarket – wow. Shelves upon shelves of different products.
The things you need are simple and practical, so don’t ever feel like you need to buy everything.
Lanolin – That lanolin cream really is the miracle cream you dreamed about for breastfeeding. Don’t wait until your nipples are sore, cracked and bleeding but use it from the start.
Infacol – We endured 6 months of colic, gas, wind and constipation. Babies don’t have the best digestive systems and sometimes need a helping hand. Infacol helped when nothing else did.
Vicks Baby Rub – He will get a cold and be unwell and it’s not your fault but watching him struggle will be hard. Tiny newborns can’t use many traditional cold medication, but a nightly massage with Vicks Baby Rub will help and honestly, the rosemary and lavender will help you sleep too! You’ll never get tired of touching him and massage is an amazing bonding tool whilst the aloe vera will be gentle for his delicate skin. It doesn’t have to be used when baby is unwell, as it’s like aromatherapy – a fragrance that can soothe, calm and settle in any occasion. One product that can be used for many occasions is far better than buying a dozen different things!
Wet Wipes – Yes, they really are as useful as people say. At first you’ll be thinking “How many wet wipes can I really use?” and you’ll end up using them for everything and bulk buy them in ridiculous quantities, but make sure you dispose of them correctly!
Chocolate – Piles of it. Stress relief number one.
I’d tell myself that life being different is okay and that it keeps changing
Life is very different now. At 35 perhaps you were more resistant to change than you realized, but you can’t fight it. Things definitely won’t be the same as before as now this tiny human is your priority, but don’t give up on being you and enjoying yourself too. Baby comes first, but life needs balance and you just need to be flexible and positive. You can eat out with a newborn. You can still go to your weekly swim class. You can still go on holiday and travel. Change isn’t a bad thing, so don’t resist it but find solutions so that your new family can move forward together.
Make sure you still make time for your husband, who is struggling with all these things right along with you. He too has sleepless nights and anxiety. He needs a hug and to be told it’s all going to be okay just as much as you do, so make time for each other where you can. You can have a date night at home after the baby is asleep you know!
As life goes on, things will keep changing and sometimes there will be obstacles to overcome, but you are strong and brave and it’s going to be okay.
He is brave and strong! Not quite sure about mom, but we’re trying our best! This was a gift from an American friend for Christmas. I love the bright orange! . . . #happylittlebuttons #bigbabyboy #littlfierceones #celebratechildhood #littlefamiliesofig #mummylife #babyboy #honestlyparents #happybaby #babysmiles #igerscardiff #igerswales #pblogger #mblogger #momentsofchildhood #coolmomclub #capturingchildhood #motherhoodsimplified #dearestviewfinder #mumofone #braveandstrong #babymodel #babyootd #babyfest #kcacols #snaphappybritmums
I promise you can do this.
This letter to myself is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99. chains.