The first few weeks as a new mum take you through most of the range of emotions you have ever experienced, and a few new ones that you might have not! Here are five things no one tells you about the first few weeks as a new mum…
You may, at times, regret having a baby. This does not make you a bad mother – this is all about the enormous, life-changing transition you are going through; perhaps the most shatteringly identity-altering change that will happen in your whole life. Part of that process may well include feelings of missing your old life, your old routine, not being responsible for another human life. This is normal and not likely to last long, as you develop new coping strategies and get used to your new status as a mother. Why not write down a few thoughts every day about how you are feeling; sometimes seeing them in black and white can help you feel more objective about them. Like any of these tricky bits of new motherhood though; if it is impacting on how you are functioning day-to-day, and getting you down, tell your GP or health visitor.
You may have intrusive thoughts about harm. This is another scary one, but research shows that at least half of all new mums experience thoughts of harm coming to their baby, or of they themselves harming the baby. These thoughts do not indicate that you are any more likely to hurt your baby than if you didn’t have them. These thoughts may be part of our inbuilt survival mechanism, and an increased perception of threat, which makes sense now you have a tiny human to keep safe. Don’t worry about the thoughts themselves – but again, if you are concerned or if low mood or anxiety is affecting you day-to-day, tell your GP or health visitor.
You may not want to do any of the things you had planned to do… and that’s fine. When it comes to it, the coffee dates, days out and baby groups you had envisaged during pregnancy may just seem like too much effort to get to, and that’s OK. As long as you get yourself out of the house as much as you need to to feel OK, that’s perfect. Some days will be easier than others to make it out and ‘do something’, and there is no shame in asking a friend to come over for a cuppa instead while you’re in your pyjamas.
It takes a LONG time to leave the house. Like, at least 30 minutes longer than before. Babies need a lot of stuff, it takes ages to put weather-appropriate clothing on, they will almost certainly poo just before you leave, and then you remember that you also need clothes and shoes which are tricky to accomplish putting on while holding the baby. And then they might need a quick feed. And then they’ll poo again. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for running late for absolutely everything!
Your shoes may no longer fit. Around 60% of women have permanently larger feet than before pregnancy. Who knew?!