You were chosen by your baby to be their Mum.
Although the pregnancy, birth, and early months may be in no way what you imagined, you know exactly what they need, even when those needs change from moment to moment, day to day.
There is no one who knows your baby better than you.
They grew inside of you, and you listened and connected and rubbed your belly whenever you remembered. That was enough then, and you are enough now.
Well-meaning people and professionals will offer advice, suggestions, and solutions to anything you raise or perhaps don’t even ask an opinion for. Receive what feels right and true for you and let the rest drift past like clouds in the sky. You may chose to come back and take a look at that offering at a later time, but again, trust yourself to know what you need or what will be helpful for you, as just like your baby, this will change from moment to moment.
I wish I had known how good it feels to surround ourselves with people who hold space for us, rather than people who try to fix or change us. Find your tribe. It doesn’t have to be big, and quite frankly, with a new baby, who has the time or energy for any kind of social life. Just find your person, or your few people who you can laugh and cry and yell and test your theories out about whether it was your green smoothy or your extra latte that gave your baby wind that day! Having a supportive husband or partner is amazing, but we need more than that at this time.
Your baby does not need perfection; they need presence—in the mess, in the chaos, and in the beauty-filled seconds that arise whenever they do. When we are present, we are connected to ourselves and most deeply connected to our baby.
And when you forget or are challenged by them or a situation, it is okay and reasonable that presence gets thrown in the “too hard” basket and that simply having a shower and getting out of our pajamas before your husband gets home from work is all that you can achieve in that day. Oh, and you kept your baby alive—snaps for that, especially on one of those days!
You will be challenged, particularly with your firstborn, around the ideals you’ve held about what being a “good mother” looks like. You may think it is about how long you breastfeed your baby, whether they are gaining good amounts of weight each week, whether or not they have a dummy, how quickly they learn to self-settle or sleep through the night. I wish I had loosened my grip on these things that only kept me further away from the mother I wanted to be.
First and foremost, I wish for you that you give yourself time to recover from the pregnancy and birth. It took nine months to grow that bundle, so give yourself at least nine months to ungrow. Don’t expect to be back in those skinny jeans days after giving birth.
Allow yourself the space to celebrate or grieve or integrate the arrival of your firstborn. Honour your body for all that it was able to do or not do, because there will be gifts in acknowledging both.
I wish for you that you give yourself and your baby time to slow down and be still together.
Get take away. Eat beans. Drink wine. Leave the washing for a day. Don’t clean the house. Whatever you need to relieve yourself of in order to give yourself time to do that.
I wish for you that you sleep when they sleep, because the fact is that you will never get this opportunity again if you add more babes to your brood. Sleep in the same bed with your baby if that feels good; sleep in the car on the side of the road if that is the only place you can get your babe to fall asleep. Just sleep.
I wish for you that you take time out for yourself as soon as possible so that you can miss your babe and return with more love to give than before. Find someone who you trust, tell them this, and have them remind you to do this after you get home from the hospital because, trust me, you will forget everything!
I wish for you that you plan regular dates with your husband or partner (it doesn’t have to be at nighttime because often, we are too tired to even string a sentence together once we get the baby to bed). Nurturing this relationship will be the foundation for navigating your journey as parents for the rest of your lives—regardless of whether you stay together.
I wish for you that you learn to ask for help. Quickly and frequently. If someone says no, then ask someone else. Asking for help whenever you need is a sign of strength, not weakness.
I wish for you and I wish for me that I had offered myself the same tenderness, compassion, care, and attention that I had offered my baby. This is still my practice, four little boys on, because I know that the way I treat myself will be the way they learn to treat themselves and the women in their lives.
From my womb to yours, big love and gratitude for all that you are.
You are enough Mumma!