As many of you may know I have spoken a great deal about my struggle with the transition into motherhood, the fourth trimester and being diagnosed with PND. So this morning I bring you my top 5 things not to say to a new mum, based of course on my own experiences of motherhood.
5 Things Not to Say to a New Mum
1. When are you having your next one? - Someone asked me this 8 days after giving birth, well actually they said 'Isabella is thinking about having a little brother'. Isabella definitely wasn't thinking about having a little brother, she was 8 days old, all she was thinking about was that she needed feeding, changing, sleep and love. Me on the other hand, well this was the last thing I was thinking about, I'd just had a baby and had a terrible pregnancy with 9 months of being sick. I was hardly ready to rush back into having another.
2. Please can I have a drink? - Yes of course you can, but please make it yourself. I've just had a baby and I should be resting not catering to your every need as a visitor. I found this one really rather difficult. I'd be up, ready, full face of makeup, showered each day for visitors, catering to their every need, rather than focusing on my own. Cue a burn out day three and then spending the next 6 months resenting even having visitors so early on.
3. Can I have a hold of baby? - In short the answer is NO. Yes this may be right for some people but it wasn't right for me. I was already struggling to bond with Isabella, and had hardly held her from the moment she was born. I missed her feeding cues, changing cues and I need my Mummy cues because other's insisted on holding her. Please let the parents offer a hold, don't presume. Those first few weeks are so important to parent and baby bonding.
4. How are you sleeping? - Well how exactly do you expect I am sleeping? I have just had a baby, a baby who wants feeding very 2-4 hours 24 hours a day. In fact I coped with the transition to no sleep pretty well (I thought) and although I was told to nap when Isabella napped I couldn't. I just can not nap during the day.
5. Can I come and visit? - Whilst having visitors early on works for some it definitely didn't work for us. I felt tremendous pressure for people to come and visit and didn't put myself or my new family of three first. The result, I felt like I hadn't bonded with my baby and 6 months plus worth of regret about not doing what I needed. Those first few days I should have been resting, in bed or on the sofa. My needs should have been catered to whilst I and my husband looked after our newborn, instead everyone else's needs and wants came first. I am now the biggest advocate for closing the door and not allowing visitors until you are ready. Whenever my husband is off work now, we close the door to the outside world, we spend time as a family of three and make the most of our time together putting our needs first.
One last thing, please remember that a new mum has just given birth, their bodies need time to recover and time to rest. Please don't presume they can be up and out and back on the 'school run' the next day or even the next week, regardless of what society would have us think. They have just been through a life altering event and need support, love and a big hug!