Ani's motherhood story - A letter to myself as a first-time mum
Dear first-time-mum me,
You’ve just given birth to a beautiful baby GIRL.
As you lay there, your mind racing after only a couple of hours of sleep, you’ll wonder to yourself - will your life ever be the same again?
Well, 4 years, 5 months and 13 days later, I can tell you that the answer to that question is no.
Your life will never be the same again. In fact, YOU will never be the same again.
But I’m here to tell you that you will be fine. Actually, you will be more than fine - you will be amazing.
In this, your first year of motherhood, you will face and overcome your life’s greatest challenges.
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Breastfeeding will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do.
Despite working so hard at it (pumping exclusively for nearly 4 months), you will feel immensely guilty when you decide to stop. I’m here to tell you to stop beating yourself up about it. How you feed your baby is not a measure of your success as a mother!
There will be times times when you wonder how you can feel so lonely yet never alone. But as the days pass you will discover that “one of the most wonderful joys of motherhood is the other mothers”.
There will be new friendships you make with complete strangers - bonding over lost sleep and ‘that rash’ that just won’t clear. And that unforgettable moment when a mum you barely know, knowing you never had a mother’s group, kindly and selflessly invites you to join hers.
Yes, sadly some friendships will be lost, but there will be others that will blossom is ways you could never have imagined.
You will fight with your husband over who is pulling all the weight and making all the sacrifices.
You may even consider strangling him while he sleeps peacefully in bed at 3am while you settle the baby with no sign of getting to bed any time soon…or ever again. But know this - your love for one another will grow more in this year than it has ever before. So now that you know that, you can relax - he’s not going to leave you in the middle of the night!
In those first 3 months, you are going to be offered help from those around you. Accept the help! I know you don’t want to let go. I know you worry that they won’t do things exactly the way you like done. I know, I know you feel like a big-fat-failure.
But here’s the thing. Without their help you are going to fall apart. Literally, at about 6 weeks you will find yourself lying in the nursery floor crying alone for hours. Accept the help.
Now let’s talk about the crying. The uncontrollable all-day-long crying. And the paralysing anxiety that sees you chained to the couch and literally never leaving the house.
I need to tell you that you are NOT okay. You need help. You know who you need to tell and you know that she is just waiting to listen. Tell her! The longer you let it go on, the more you will regret those lost days.
Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
Because one day you will look back at these days, as I do now, and realise just how amazing you are.
Perfect is not the standard, you just show up.
Hang in there mama, you’ve got this.
Ani is the Lead-Mama of MumLife Australia and Mum of two girls.
Helping new parents embrace parenthood with confidence and find the joy in parenthood.
Image credits: Jess Worrall Photography
The information in this story is a unique and personal reflection of the writer's experience. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.