I never was one of those women who dreamt of becoming a mother. I just knew it would happen one day. I had no expectations or plans about what motherhood would be like. Maybe that’s why I waited until this age – to first find the man I feel secure enough and deeply in love with before I jump into the deep waters of parenthood.
Maybe if I had my baby when I was younger, I’d have more energy and wouldn’t be so exhausted, but I don’t think I was ever mentally prepared for the work and commitment it required.
When the time felt right and we both wanted to start our family, I was so excited to become a mum. Oh, how little did I know just how much my life was about to change!
Here are the 10 things I learnt after I became a mum at thirty-four…
1. The new kind of LOVE was overwhelming. I can just sit there and stare at this beautiful little girl examining her features. The more I fall in love with her, the more I love her father. It’s kind of crazy!
2. Patience is key – colic, troubled sleep, breastfeeding on demand… it’s all for a time. It may be exhausting, but it passes, so I keep telling myself “Just keep going, mama”.
3. No one told me how difficult it could be. All I’ve ever seen are beautiful pictures of mothers and their babies, but no one tells you how difficult and stressful it could be when your baby has colic. I have now been permanently sleep deprived for 5 months, I’ve learnt that I need to plan for a toilet visit and the shower is a treat. My baby can scream at a special frequency that drives her mum absolutely crazy, and makes me fall to bits in seconds.
4. There isn’t such a thing like a perfect parent, never mind a perfect mum. If anyone tells you different, don’t even try and don’t stress about it. I had to accept it and kept doing the best I could and, most importantly, giving my love to the little bundle. There were moments I couldn’t do anything else, but love and cuddle her. It’s a learning curve for both parents and baby, but love is the key to drying any tears.
5. I listen to my gut feeling. No matter what everyone tells me, I am the mum and I take the final decision. If I think my baby’s hungry, sleepy, cold or in pain, I’m probably right. I became braver when telling people what I think. If someone is touching or holding my baby in a way that doesn’t feel right, I tell them straight away.
6. Traditions are not always the best practices. Just because I’ve been weaned in a certain way, it doesn’t mean I should do it that way too. Same applies to swaddling, breastfeeding, sleeping habits, etc. I keep an open mind and conduct research, I listen to the advice I receive, but my husband and I make our own informed decisions about raising our girl.
7. On the second day in the hospital I found out that if baby is still crying after I’ve fed and burped her, then probably the key is in the nappy. Later, I just added up more things to the checklist, like: she needs to pass wind, she’s too tired, she wants to sleep, she’s bored, she wants to change position…
8. Priorities change overnight. Once I hear my baby cry, I literally drop everything. Work is important, but my baby is more important. I couldn’t carry as before, so I had to reduce the projects I work on for a couple of months, until we settled into a routine and baby became more independent. It was stressing me out so much that I couldn’t get any work done, until I decided to take it easy and enjoy these first months when my baby needs me the most. She will grow out of it.
9. There is a new sense of pride – when my little one reaches a new milestone or someone compliments her. My heart fills with joy and butterflies. My eyes get watery so often these days. I think the new me has become very emotional.
10. Time to make new friends with other mums. I don’t want to bore my other friends with baby conversations all the time and it is reassuring that other women are going through exactly the same struggles as I am.
It’s been nearly 6 months into my journey as a new mum. I know I have a lot more to learn as my little girl grows. Every day brings a new challenge and more fun, but I love discovering this new me.
Do you have any other advice for me and other new mums? Or maybe my tips helped you find you were not alone? Tell me in the comments below, because, you know, sharing is caring 🙂