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Dear new/first time mums- a message for you

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  • Dear new/first time mums- a message for you

    Dear first time mums,

    1 -If your baby/toddler is well fed, warm, clean and cared for, you are doing JUST FINE

    2 - If you've been plagued with feelings of self doubt or worry that you're not a good enough mother, or the feeling that this is not coming naturally to you and you're just winging it- that is a perfectly natural, NORMAL way to feel and should not be viewed as a sign of failure

    3 - If your nephew learned to walk and talk 3 months earlier than your child, that does not automatically mean there's something wrong with your child, nor does it mean that your nephew is a genius. I've seen perfectly normal healthy kids take their first steps at 9 months old and I've seen perfectly normal healthy kids take their first steps at 16 months old and they all grew up thriving, mobile, healthy, active and meeting their milestones

    4 - It's good to encourage your child and build his/her self esteem and it's also good to save some encouragement and self esteem for yourself. If your husband says you are beautiful and he still loves you; believe him- don't assume that he's faking it or stopped loving you just because you've put on weight and are cranky from sleepless nights. If he isn't as loving and attentive as before, it could mean that you need to have a calm and honest conversation about how having a baby has changed things and how to go about still making time for each other... it's also all the more reason to save some of that encouragement and self esteem for yourself

    5- Read up and research whatever approach you feel is best for your child. Some say let your baby cry for 15 minutes to learn self soothing and some say pick your baby up straight away to offer comfort. Some will say vaccines are the best way of keeping your child safe and some will say vaccines carry certain risks and dangers you need to be mindful of- find out what medical researchers in the field have to say; don't just rely on parental anecdotes. Look into these things and then make a decision- there will ALWAYS be someone who disagrees with your decision but that does not make you a neglectful or bad mother (internet trolls will say whatever decision you make will mean you're the worst mother in the world who endangers your child and it's just not true)

    6- Before your baby was born, you had 50 life goals and a list of ideas about what you can still accomplish after having a baby. If you manage to achieve 3 of those goals after having the baby, consider yourself successful as it's perfectly normal to find your whole concept of routine, sleep, privacy, comfort and time with friends has been turned upside down. Those goals will often change or have to adjust to your new circumstances and THAT's OKAY. It does not make you a failure. If your cousin or sister in law managed to achieve her 50 goals after kids, GOOD FOR HER, applaud her, be happy for her, but that shouldn't mean that you have to measure your life according to how her life is. Maybe she had a lot more support from her spouse/extended family than you, maybe she had to make a lot of sacrifices and cried herself to sleep for missing some of her baby's milestones in order to get where she is, maybe she envies you for devoting your time to your baby and not having much room in your life for other things but she's too proud to admit it

    7- Don't measure your success/failure as a parent by how other parents are doing. Refer back to my first point. Other parents have other struggles that you probably know nothing about, or perhaps you have other struggles that they don't know about when they try to offer well meaning advice that you find condescending. Other parents could be posting home made crafts on pinterest, feeding their toddler home/allotment grown home made organic pureed broccoli whilst you don't have the energy to keep that up day to day so you buy a cow&gate jar- again, refer back to my first point

    8- If members of the public glare at you whilst your toddler is screaming in the supermarket, just remember, it is normal for toddlers to throw tantrums for trivial reasons. It is not a failure on your part to discipline your child no matter what your mother in law says or any member of the public who goes "tut, can't she control her child?". Sure as a parent, consistency helps, setting boundaries helps, but the words "toddler" and "control" don't really belong in the same sentence (except for when referring to toddlers being out of control lol)

    9- Bonding between you and your baby doesn't always happen overnight. Some mums feel a warmth of overwhelming love the first moment they look at the baby and some are so exhausted from many hours of labour, or groggy from the meds etc that their minds aren't fully present in the moment when first holding the baby. A high proportion of mothers of premature babies have post natal depression because of their fears of whether the baby will be okay and because the baby is kept separately in an incubator so the usual bonds that develop through regular holding, touch and feeding could be absent and again, cause a long delay (possibly months) in proper bonding. Again this is normal. It does not mean that you have failed as a parent, or that you don't care enough for your baby or anything like that

    10- Last but not least, if all things considered, you truly feel that you're overwhelmed, struggling and barely coping; do not be afraid of admitting it and asking for help. You have made a monumental achievement to get as far as you have. As the saying goes "it takes a village". Not everyone has a supportive spouse or extended family willing to pitch in and give you an hour to take a break or bathe in peace and every parent needs that. Speak to someone you trust about this; whether it's a close supportive friend, an understanding elder in your family, your doctor etc- someone who is more likely to show understanding and offer help

    Too often new mums are only told the nice stories about the love, closeness and great rewarding feeling of being a parent and seeing your baby smile etc to encourage parents to realise that being a parent is often so rewarding and fulfilling and that's true. Having said that, there are also decent, loving normal parents, especially first time mums who feel daunted that they've suddenly been presented with a mountain of challenges that they don't know how to overcome, which makes them feel terrified and makes them feel like bad parents for not brimming with the positivity of pinterest mums (or sometimes even mother and toddler group mums or competitive sister in law mums etc) displaying photos of their home crafts in their clean kitchens with their neatly groomed toddlers like an image that belongs in the mothercare catalogue. Mums need the reassurance of seeing that a lot of what they see as their overwhelming, unique and insurmountable challenges are actually often normal aspects of parenting that few have the courage to admit to for fear of being labelled, when the label that really applies to these situations is "normal".

    FYI I'm not a parent or any kind of child psychologist or expert or anything like that so none of this should be taken as qualified medical advice- just a random person on the internet with good enough observation skills to have noticed these things.
    The Lyme Disease pandemic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5u73ME4sVU

  • #2
    thanks for the advice
    u shouldnt have

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    • #3
      Good post mashAllah.

      Some new mums don't have any help yet get people coming round to see the baby. She should be able to say to people when it is a good time for her to have visitors.

      Don"t refuse help if it is being offered especially if you know you could do with it.

      Also if someone is going to visit a new mum and baby cook some food and take it. Does not have to be a three course meal.




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