There’s only so much you can do to prepare yourself for the experience of raising a child for the first time. Whether you’re going it alone, with a partner or, god forbid, with parents and in-laws involved, you’ll need to psyche yourself up in both body and mind for the long journey ahead.
Here are three of our top tips for surviving one of life’s most challenging gauntlets: the first year of motherhood.
1. Remember Your Sense of Humour
Amidst sleepless nights, wailing lungs and total body exhaustion, you’ll need to keep yourself sane. A new-born child is a miracle without a doubt. No one’s disputing that. Your brain will be high on happy fumes and wonderment because of it for the first couple of days. But after that, reality tends to set in.
Being a mother is a tremendous responsibility and being a mother to a new-born is an even further tremendous strain on both your body and mind as your family adapts to new patterns, needs and habits. So: we recommend you make jokes. Let yourself relax. Put on a comedy podcast off iTunes. Watch TV. Whatever it is that can bring in some sense of perspective and normalcy, embrace it, include it in your life, or you might just get caught up in cabin fever.
2. Ask for Help
We cannot recommend this one enough. There is absolutely no shame in this – help with laundry, help with groceries, help with babysitting, help with mental health. Whatever your situation as a parent, be sure to reach out to those you love and trust.
Split night duty with your partner. Ask a friend to come visit with takeaway Dominoes pizza. Get your sibling to babysit while you escape on out into town – whatever! Just ask. The likelihood is that people will want to help and chip in where possible. For them, being around a new-born child will be a novelty, so take advantage while you still can! You might use the time to indulge in your own self.
3. Look Forwards
Know that things will get easier. Know that, as time goes on, you will get better at the job, more used to its demands, and find space in the day to be yourself. To look forwards, you must look back to who you were before pregnancy. Were you a 9-5 gal? A writer, an athlete, an online casino table extraordinaire? These are all things that will become possible again with every passing day. So set a goal, be it to run a marathon, get your first pay check since leave or cash in big in a game of All Bets Blackjack. Get your LA gym membership. Load up Microsoft Word. Log on to Betfair Casino.
Even if you can only find time for these passions once in a blue moon, make sure you do. See, the thing is, your first year of motherhood isn’t really a block year at all, but one long series of adjustments. You’ll get there. You’ll live. And you may even find time to enjoy it during!Just remember to take lots and lots of photographs.