5 Ways of Dealing with Guilt as a New Parent
Number 4 Is A Tricky One!
Being a new mum
No matter what book you read, or who you talk to, nothing can quite prepare you! Overnight your life completely changes. Many women believe when they are pregnant that their life will be exactly the same as before, just with a baby. Oh my, what a rude awakening that can be!
Not only are you suddenly meant to become some sort of ‘baby whisperer’ but cope with your body post-natally too! The trauma of birth becomes a taboo subject and you should now be portraying a glowing earth mother – preferably surrounded by an aura of tranquility!!
Our reality is very different. We are suddenly in charge of a new life! That alone is enough of an earth-shattering change - then add in sleeplessness, post-birth trauma, the never-ending visitors and finding out how to cope with sleeping, feeding and crying and you have a situation that is enough for anyone to handle. We often feel guilty right from the start. When we are hit by that fact that it is not all fluffy unicorns and gazing longingly into our newborn eyes.
So, you are now at home, pass the blur of those first few days and the accumulation of lack of sleep is being to take its toll. Gone are the days when generations lived in the same village and offered support. Now, partners take off 1-2 weeks, parents pop in to cuddle the baby, friends drop of lovely presents and then, we are on our own.
What happens, the guilt kicks in. We should be able to handle our baby, cook dinner, clean the house and of course, look amazing too! You look at Social Media, everyone else looks they are having the most amazing time with their new baby or juggling the family and a fabulous career. Surely it’s just you?
No, it affects all us mums! Honestly, it does. In my classes, where I’ve been teaching baby massage & yoga for 14 years it is something I see all the time. It only takes one Mum to speak up, then they all chip in. The truth is that as a new mum we are all faced with challenges, as individual as our personalities. However, the good news is:
- You are not alone
- There are things you can do to help yourself
- Support is there if you can just ask
What can I Do?
- Find some support, from friends and family but also further afield. Join some baby classes locally, there are plenty of different activities out there. Connect with people in person, do not just rely on ‘virtual support’, the posts on Facebook or WhatsApp. It is important that you find other mums who are going through the same stage as you, support of like-minded mums is a very powerful thing!
- Get out and about. Leave the house, even if it takes you an hour to do it. If you don’t drive, then go for a walk with the buggy. If you can get out to classes, or meet up with friends then do. Getting fresh air is not only good for the body but also for your emotional state. Also, to go out you have to make an effort to get dressed, and sometimes that can seem an unachievable mountain all on its own. You don’t need to be dressed for a night out with full makeup, just not in a onesie
- Try some Mindfulness. I know it is the buzz word at the moment but it can really help create moments where you can feel connected to yourself again. It is also amazing to use with babies! If you are new to the whole Mindfulness thing then I recommend some great apps, cards, and groups below and in the resources page. The thing is to find a way that works for you. You can also check out some useful tips to use with the older kids in the Top Tips Blog too.
- ASK - Yes, I know you hate to do it but honestly so many people around you would happily drop off a bit of dinner, or watch the baby while you have a bath. It is often the small things that when they mount up, take us over the edge. If someone offers to help, even with something small, take it! Get family, friends and even work colleagues to involved, people really do love to help. Especially when it is a new mum and a little baby.
- Ditch the Guilt - Ask, get out, try some moments to yourself and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY about it! This parenting journey is a long ride, you need to be able to see the long road ahead and that only happens when you can start to be just a bit kind to yourself!
So being a new mum is not the picture of mother earth delight it is often cracked up to be.
If you have days in your pj’s, realise you have been out all day with baby vomit down your back, have cried over trying to get a car seat out of a car. Well, then welcome to Motherhood! You are part of a tribe that acknowledges your guilt – but can tell you to let that stuff go! You are doing an amazing job!
If you want to learn how to introduce Mindfulness into your family then my book Mindful Moments is available on Amazon. If you would like some monthly tips on Parenting then do sign up to the newsletter, I promise not to spam you.
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Rachel Hawkes is a mum to twin teenagers and teaches baby and kids yoga & mindfulness classes, alongside running a business Wellbeing Centre. She is a published author of 2 books relating to Mindful Parenting and loves to share her tips and ideas wherever she can.
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