Congratulations! You’ve just a baby! And he or she is truly the most adorable thing you’ve ever laid sight upon on this earth! Alas, your exhausted mind is also realizing your gorgeous mini-me is also a mini dictator who screams demands at all hours of the day, and a part of you might even feel like you can’t do it.
Thankfully, you’re not alone. Everywhere around you, there are mums struggling too. Join any motherhood forum, attend any mums meeting, walk into any baby store, or even talk with other mums within your circle of family, friends or colleagues. You’ll soon find out that since they can completely relate and may even have had similar experiences, fellow mummies can really be your best source of support.
Sometimes though, some mums can get a little touchy, even aggressive, about certain topics. Don’t let it affect your mood, or discourage you from seeking support from fellow mums in future. Come on, mummies! We’re all in this together and nobody is going to support us as much as we can support each other. So here are some of the best ways we can do this:
Admit that you don’t always have everything together
Ah, we mothers always place such high expectations on ourselves. We expect to have done all the house chores, prepared dinner, maybe even juggling a full-time job, all while ensuring our little one hasn’t choked, fallen or electrocuted themselves? Let’s be real for a minute here. So there’s a big chance the laundry and dishes have piled, and you’re calling your husband to buy food from the coffee shop downstairs. IT’S OKAY! It’s more important we as a community of mothers stop creating this perfect standard of a “Wonder Mum” we feel we must live up to, by admitting that hey, we all have bad days, things do go wrong, and it’s completely fine to say, “Darn, I sure failed at this today, but I’ll try again tomorrow.” And we need to remind ourselves to laugh at all the things that didn’t quite work out the way we wanted to! How else are we going to get by?
Go easy on the comparing
Sometimes we tend to get carried away with our baby’s development, we don’t realize we’re comparing. “Oh no, my baby is already 8 months old but hasn’t started crawling yet!” How often have you seen something like that on a forum, or heard it from a friend? Relax! Babies all develop at their own pace, and all you can do is guide them in the right direction and let nature take its course! In that same vein, just because someone’s baby started eating only at 6 months, doesn’t mean that another mother should stop her baby from eating solids if he or she was ready to start earlier. Whatever your concerns, listen to your pediatrician, but most importantly, trust yourself. You’re the mum, you know best.
Stop the judging
Every mother gives her 100% to care for her child. Working or not. Breastfeeding or not. Childcare or not. Helper or not. Husband or not. Family support or not. Money or not. None of us are doing a better job at being a mother than the next mum. Let’s not focus on the different ways we choose to care for our children, but instead focus on supporting each other’s commitment to giving our children the best of what we can. Being a mum is a ridiculously tough job, and we should all commend one another for it! In fact, the next time you see a mum with a crying baby at the supermarket or on the bus, give her your biggest smile that says, “No judgment, you’re doing a great job, hang in there, you can do it!”
To be totally completely honest, we could all use a little encouragement over a little advice. We tend to be so quick with giving advice, especially if we’ve been there, done that. But wouldn’t you rather hear someone say, “You’re really doing an incredible job,” or if it’s a close friend, “I’m so proud of you!” rather than “Have you tried (insert advice)?” or “What worked for me was (insert advice).” Don’t get me wrong, if a parent is asking you specifically for advice, by all means, go for it. But if they had a horrid day, or feel worn out and on the edge, what they need is some good old fashioned encouragement to uplift their spirits!
Don’t be afraid to talk about it
The baby sure wasn’t a secret, in fact you might have even flooded your Facebook page and Whatsapp with pictures of the handsome hunk or pretty princess. So why is post-pregnancy this huge unspoken secret? As fellow mums, we happily swapped stories of swollen feet and back aches during pregnancy, but why do we shy away from talking about the other stuff? It’s high time for an honest and frank conversation about our real post-pregnancy bodies. Vaginal discharge, pain during sex, bleeding, yeast infections, burning sensations, queefing (vaginal gas), incontinence, post-partum depression. These are very real issues here, and they deserve some real discussions. You’d be surprised, once one person starts talking about an issue, only then will you see just how many others are experiencing it too. Some post-partum vaginal problems, like discharge, odours, itching and such, can be helped with a little help from an intimate wash. Some other problems call for a trip to the doctor’s, treatment, or just time. But knowing you’re not the only person going through it can certainly boost your motivation and strength to deal with it. Remember, you are not alone!