My dream was to become a mum. But when I became one, I struggled.
Becoming a mum may come naturally; it may not
For some, motherhood comes naturally, like they were made for it. For others (like myself) it is a shock to the system. I struggled to breastfeed, I couldn’t seem to settle my baby and I felt really awkward as a mother. But over time, with lots of support from others and giving myself grace, things improved. Things started to come more naturally as I practised and learned to accept my new normal.
Baby sleep is often tricky
Babies (and parents) struggle with sleep! Falling asleep, staying asleep, learning to sleep- it’s a crazy experience that usually involves a lot of swaying, stress and tears. In the first few months, mums need to do what they can to survive. If you like structure, try to follow a routine. But remember, babies have their own way of doing things so be flexible. Use a dummy to help her sleep without being attached to your boob. Try the carrier or the stroller for a change. Finally, if it’s all getting too much, get help. Talk to more experienced mothers, or seek out a sleep consultant. Which leads into our next point!
Get the help you need and don’t feel guilty about it
When a baby is born, so is a mother. The transition to becoming a mum can be one of the hardest for women. From physical wounds to emotional distress and hormonal changes, there is heaps to process through. Get the help you need- whether it’s booking in with a lactation consultant, getting pre-cooked meals, passing your baby to grandparents or speaking to a counsellor. There’s absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Motherhood is a chance to rebuild yourself and grow
Motherhood gets to the core of who we are and challenges our identity. For many, this can be scary as we feel like we are losing so much of ourselves. We feel like we’re not the person we once were and we might grieve that loss and that’s okay. It’s part of this process of change. And while it is hard, we can be sure that it is also a chance to rebuild. It’s an opportunity to grow in new ways and discover who we are again, this time as a mother. It’s a hard journey, but becoming a mum is a beautiful and worthwhile one.
Find your tribe
It takes a village to raise a child. Mothers are not meant to do this alone. We parent best in community. So find your tribe. Join a MOPS or mother’s group, speak to relatives and friends you trust or join an online community. Do what you can to ensure you have support and friends to rely on. Often, in sharing honestly with others, you’ll find that you’re not alone in your struggles and that those exchanges will encourage you in your journey as a mother.
Give yourself time to find your way
From the moment you conceive, you will be advised on everything from pregnancy exercises, to birth plans, to breastfeeding and what toys to get. It’s overwhelming and it’s hard not to compare your experience with others but remember that everybody’s situation is different. As much as possible, give yourself space and grace to find what works best for you. This is all new, but with every day that passes you gain experience and discover what type of mother you are confident being. Remember there’s no such thing as a perfect mother, but there are many ways of being a good one.
Finally, commit your decisions to God and trust Him as He gently leads you and your family into what’s best.