Mum in front of a yellow door

everything’s changed

How to adjust to your new normal as a new mum 

There were a lot of things that took me by surprise when I had my first child. Note. Depending on your upbringing, religion, and sex education there may have been more or fewer things that took you by surprise when you had your first baby too. The fact is, there are a lot of things people don’t tell you about parenthood. Every new parent will be surprised by something. One thing is for sure, having a baby changes your life and your lifestyle. So how do you adjust to the new normal of being a new mum?

Be patient with yourself 

I’m sure, like me, when you were pregnant you had times when you daydreamed about cradling your perfect little angel in your arms, like those soft, fluffy TV ads with the idealised families in them. But this is real life ladies. It’s time to lower your expectations and embrace the authentic. 

There will be times when your baby isn’t angelic. They may seem more like a screeching, milk spitting, shitty mess. You may find you get frustrated with yourself or the baby for not living up to some fantasy notion of what you thought life would become. Slow down, breathe, forgive yourself and the baby for not being perfect. You’re just human right, and nobody is perfect.  

Parenting isn’t always easy. It can be intense! It is important to remember that, especially in the first eight weeks, you’re not going to know the answer to everything. You’ll make mistakes. You won’t be happy all the time. There is a learning curve. This is a big change, and it will take you time to adjust and get a routine happening. Your routine is going to change as the baby gets older too. 

Whatever you do, don’t judge yourself by comparison with other mums, especially those photoshopped insta-mums on social media or rich celebrities with nannies, cleaners, and personal chefs. 

Pay attention to your moods

Hormonal swings, sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, anxiety, self-doubt, shock, and even feelings of resentment and loss can be commonplace for new mums. That definitely adds to the challenges of adjusting to your new life. Having these feelings does not make you a bad mum. You can totally love your baby and your partner and still have moments when you wish you could run away to a tropical island and drink mojitos. 

Don’t be afraid to seek help and talk to a health professional about your feelings. Sometimes we can feel ashamed of feeling depressed, wishing for our old lives back or resenting our partners for their comparative freedoms. That’s why a health professional can be a better option that someone you know and who is in any way emotionally invested in the situation. Check out the resources page for useful links and services in the region.

Remember to reach out to your friends, family members, partner or even your community of fellow Mums:) for assistance when you need a break. You don’t have to do everything alone. You’re also far more capable than you give yourself credit for, so try to trust yourself and let go of self-doubt. 

Allow yourself to evolve

Now you have a baby, your priorities are going to change too. This may lead you to question who you have become. You might find yourself changing your mind about things you used to believe. You may care less about things you used to think were important. 

Allow yourself the space to change and grow. You’re no less ‘you’ than you were before. You are simply evolving into the next phase of your life.  

When possible, stop and appreciate the little moments of peace and joy. You will find them along the way. Yes, it’s a challenge to change your whole life for this little human. There are also many rewards in parenting and a whole lot of love.

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