5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Becoming A Mother
by Laura Abba
Things I wish I knew about motherhood
There is no manual for new mums, it would be a best seller if there was! But there are some considerations that we can take on when preparing for motherhood. And again, there is nothing that can fully prepare you and you will learn to do it your way, from love. Looking back, now being a therapist, I am sharing with you the top things that would have helped me to navigate my journey into motherhood.
Whilst we are all unique, and the way we decide to raise our babies is completely up to us (even when we have the extended family’s opinion!). There are a few things we can all do in preparation to stack the odds and become the mother we want to be; something I have learned over time. And this journey is constant learning! Here are a few things I wish I knew about motherhood:
The mum develops as the baby develops
When a baby is born, a mother is born. Pregnancy is an amazing time to slow down. I spent time reading about facts during pregnancy and postpartum, and what I wished I spent more time was on reading how I was changing as a person. How I was developing into a new role that has been romanticised and made so easy when actually it takes time to adjust. Looking back, I can see how I was trying to make everything work as if the pregnancy was not affecting my schedules. Becoming a mother is a process, it is not an instant, like a seed it takes its time to become a tree. Take the time to grow as a mother in transition, while your baby develops in your womb.
Self-care is not about taking a shower
It is crazy to think that taking a shower is part of self-care when it is a regular, basic, act for anybody else! Showers are a need, as it is to brush your teeth, go to the toilet, eat or wear clothes.
So when you talk about self-care, you need to look into what does that actually mean to you? The way I think about self-care is like this: If I were to take myself into a date, what would that date look like? And just like that, you managed to get a list of different things to do for a whole year! And all those things will be about you dating yourself.
Taking time to recharge makes you a happier mum
When with new mums, I always talk about knowing yourself. And this is as well knowing where do you get your energy from? Are you more of an introvert or extrovert person?. I already knew that I was an introvert, but I wish I knew that actually recharging (being on my own), instead of spending too much time with other groups; was also a necessity. It took me a while to understand that when I was low on energy, I could only feel better by being with myself, after that, I could go back to feeling super mum; ready to do whatever my child needed with a big smile. A mum that tends to be more extroverted, staying at home with the baby for the whole day, can be a challenge, as they need to recharge their energy by being with other people.
Being in your child’s shoes (or socks)
Being a responsible adult seems to mean to forget what it was like being a child. We make no time for that, and we decide for our kids with our adult rational mind. It was only recently that when making sort of important decisions, I always think of the impact that it will have on my children from their perspective. So, if I am to take on a large project, I weigh: the financial benefit, my time and effort and what would my kids want? For that last one, I go back to when I was a kid, and if my mother would have taken such project, would I be content with the impact it has on me?
I personally believe there is always time to build your wealth, but there is only your kids’ childhood to build their memories, what memories do you want them to have?
There is no shame in asking for help
It has only been since I became a mother that I learned how to ask for help. Before that, it was all about “I can do it by myself”. Now I still believe I can do it by myself, but my life would be so much easier if I take help from others.
I am a therapist and hypnobirther because I love it and I believe I am helping others. I attend therapy/coaching because I love how I can be supported, and that is my way of asking for help.
All in all, it is hard to be a happy mother when we are not looking after ourselves, or even know what we need as mothers. I remember being pregnant and only thinking about what giving birth was about, how my body was going to change, or the things I needed to buy for the baby; and I totally lost the point to actually take the time to see what I also needed, how the new demands will fit with the things I wanted to achieve. Still, the journey as a mother, so far, has been amazing; and because of the things I have learned about myself, I am a happier mother, taking the time to look after the family (and that includes my individual needs). Enjoy the journey ladies, and do not lose yourself on it!
Laura Abba is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Maternal Coach, supporting mothers and expectant mothers through feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, trauma, depression; towards a fulfilled and happy motherhood. She is the mother behind Mind the Mother, where she also provides hypnobirthing courses, that can be individually tailored for positive childbirth.
Find Laura at Mind The Mother or get in touch at email@example.com