My little sister is going to have her first baby in the coming days.
Next to the joy and happiness it brings me, I can’t help but remembering with fright the terrible first months of motherhood.
I felt so angry towards all those ‘already mothers’ who didn’t warn me about what I was expecting.
So I tried to share my experience with my sister, but she made me understand that for now she didn’t want to think about it this way.
Maybe I wouldn’t have either. I mean, what’s wrong with romanticism?
Still, here are a few tips for you Sis’, when you feel ready. Some things I am happy I did, and some others I would definitely do differently.
1. Involve the father
Because he may not be of great help at the beginning, especially if you are breastfeeding, but he is the one who will support you best, in the end.
2. Not worrying (too much) about my body
What the hell was I thinking when using this damn rowing machine instead of looking at some stupid soaps or romantic movies ? I needed to relax when Emma was sleeping.
Forget diet and sport until you manage to catch some good rest.
And, by the way, it will come back (… hum, eventually)!
3. Cry out loud at least once a day
I felt ashamed of those outbursts of tears over the phone with my mum : “why is my little baby cryyyyyiiiiing all the time, she just hates me I know it”.
Truth is, I really felt a lot better after them.
4. Sleep when the baby sleeps
This one you will hear/read eeeeverywhere.
Well, do it. I have always been planning my days at 164% (still do at work), and coudn’t accept the idea to lose so much of the few time I had for myself. Guess what? You are not yourself when you sleep 4h/night.
5. Accept my possessivness
A tricky one.
It is your baby, but (s)he means a lot to some other people, certainly in your family (hum, & in-law).
They all want to see, cuddle, squeeze… it, because they love it.
I used to feel very bad during the first months when people took Emma away from me for too long (“away” meaning about 3 meters, their arms, not mine, you see?). I tried to fight it, I tried to talk about it… now I feel like I should have just taken her back when I wanted, and “given” her when I felt it was alright for both of us.
Because not only you need some calm as a new mother, but your child does as well. If you feel your baby is getting nervous or uncomfortable, just take it into another room for a few moments.
I think it would help, once again, to involve your husband and to give him the role of interfering when it goes too far. Im a pretty sure it would prevent people from running away with the buggy during your 2 minutes chat with the neighbour, or lead them to conclude their visit when you are tired/breastfeeding.
6. Choose a pediatrician I like
We firstly went to the pediatric unit of the hospital where Emma is born.
I saw 5 pediatricians there, hated them all. There was so much haste in their superior attitude, they always made me feel foolish. I mean, this is were you can forget your diplomas, your carreer and popularity : you are a new mother and don’t know shit. The last time, I have been asked to put Emma’s clothes back on in the corridor. I still felt too submissive to react, but we did not come back.
I eventually found a pediatrician who really gave me the impression to look at Emma and listen to me. I cried, full of gratitude, the whole way back home.
It may have been pure bad luck at the hospital though, and it certainly has some advantages (for example, when your pediatrician is on holiday, the others have access to your file and in case of huge problem, you are directly at the hospital). Some of my friends do not go to the pediatrician with their child but to their family doctor.
I guess it doesn’t really matter, they shall all be able to treat your child when he is sick or to detect any physical issue. The point is that you are fragile indeed because you don’t know shit, and you really don’t want to be treated as such.
7. Fill in a baby book
I know it is very kitsch and this (and my lazyness) is the reason why I never got myself to complete Emma’s.
But my mother did it when I was born and I really enjoy looking at it, especially now that I have a baby myself. I mean isn’t it fantastic to be able to compare your baby’s weight with yours at the same age? Ok this is lame. But what am I gonna tell Emma when she will ask me what she did in her first months? Same thing as in here I guess : “You cried”.
8. Stay at home when not feeling like going out
Going out with friends or even family when I felt exhausted was never a good idea.
I think tiredness leads us all to 2 kinds of reactions (some of us may be more extreme than others – I prefer sensible) : sadness or agressivness.
So if you don’t want to start crying when you get your spaghetti served nor to throw it in the face of your companion because he noted you still haven’t lost all your pregnancy weight (yes, you may have such stupid friends as well) (no, I didn’t throw my spaghetti in his face but he got pretty lucky)… stay at home if you feel you need to rest.
Friends and family will definitely get it (and otherwise, to hell with them).
9. Buy nice clothes, 2 sizes bigger
I know I said you will get your body back. I didn’t say it was gonna be fast.
It took me almost a year to get back into most of my clothes (I still wonder how I could wear such mini-skirts before) (and secretly hope they will fit me back soon).
So the baby is there, and while until now everybody was looking at your belly with admiration, hope, love,… now they don’t even see you anymore, and sometimes you are grateful for that because you are conscious you look bad.
You need to rest, recover, figure out your new life/you… your body is the last thing you will be able to take care of at the beginning.
I remember this emergency call to my sister : “I cannot look at myself in the mirror, I am fed up with it, please go and get me some large clothes in my former bedroom at home!”. Well she couldn’t find lots of treasures in there.
So don’t bother about the money you spend, just buy nice clothes that fit you. When you will lose your pregnancy weight, you will be too happy to… mmmh put them in a box (for your pregnant sister, e.g.).
10. Rely on the persons I love
Your mother and sister are the only persons who are deeply interested in your baby’s schedule and achievements. Harass them with your stories and pictures and NEVER, ever think you are boring (well, to other people you may, but not to them – at least I hope so…).
And talk to your friends.
The mothers are full of advices and will (hopefully) get it all.
But cherish the ones without children too. Because their mind is not (yet) blured by motherhood, they will be able to get you back on your track when you need it.
And it feels so good to be allowed to be emotional around a strong cocktail.
Actually I can resume those 10 tips in this advice : “be selfish and patient”.
Love you, Sis’.