Everyone has a lot of advice to give to young expectant mothers, but nothing prepares you for the actual arrival of the baby. You have waited nine long months for this–and everyone expects you to be over the moon. But as a young mother it can be daunting. The fact that this tiny bundle is wholly your responsibility and your life probably has changed forever can be hard to deal with.
Biologically your hormones are all over the place, so having mood swings is common. Add to that sleep deprivation, tiredness, breast feeding, infant colic, numerous nappy changes, and above all the psychological adjustment to parenthood. It is no wonder then that first-time parents feel overwhelmed.
Rest assured, you are not alone. Crying spells, feeling overwhelmed, mood swings, and anxiety about doing the job right are all feelings that a majority of new parents will go through.
Having a child can be a stressful experience even when you have planned and prepared for it. Sometimes, it can take all your combined resources to come to terms with the changes. Moreover, having a child can make you reflect on your own childhood and how you may or may not want to do things differently.
If you have had a very happy childhood, you may feel under pressure to be the perfect parent that you perceive your parents to be. On the other hand, if your own childhood was not too happy, you may feel ill-equipped to handle parenthood and try too hard to not repeat the same mistakes that your parents made.
Parenting can also be stressful for couples as they find themselves with less time for adult activities that they may have enjoyed previously like meeting friends or going out for a movie. This can, needless to say, lead to frustration.
It can take time to adjust to becoming a parent. There’s no ‘right’ way of doing it, so don’t be too harsh on yourself if things work out differently from how you’d planned. Value your role as a parent–it’s a very important job.
However, it is not all stress and self-doubt. For most parents, this is a transient phase in which they will successfully manoeuvre. For a majority, it means that their dream of becoming a parent has come true and they love and feel proud of their little baby.
But during this very overwhelming time, the most important thing to remember is that you must take care of yourself so that you can take care of your little one.
Towards that endeavour, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Get proper rest
It’s easier said than done, but you’ve got to rest if you want to take good care of your baby
2. Eat healthy
And eat on time. Skipping meals or feasting on junk food won’t help you much.
Also read: It’s time to reclaim your pre-pregnancy body! Experts reveal 7 ways to do so
3. Ask for help
It is okay to ask for support, then be it from family or friends, as we all know how demanding raising a child can be.
4. Do not compare yourself to other moms
Everyone has a different experience of pregnancy and parenting, so each mother has a different set of challenges as well.
5. Do not be harsh on yourself
It is human to err and every new mom makes mistakes.
6. Attend parent and baby groups
Being a part of a community will reduce your feeling of isolation and make you realise that you are not alone.
7. Seek professional help
If it gets too difficult and you feel overwhelmed to a point where you cannot look after yourself or the baby, do not hesitate to seek counsel from an therapist.
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