Survival tips for new parents you don't want to missPublished on
Today we handover the Pura blog to Intuitive Counsellor Elizabeth Guest who shares her top tips for surviving the whirlwind that is new parenthood.
Until you've been through it, you will never fully understand what being a parent is going to be like. Babies are harder work than you could ever have imagined and more amazing than you could ever dream possible. Here are some tips that I share with my new parent clients:
You're not alone!
On the first few days after bringing your baby home, you may feel like you’ve been hit, head on, by a convoy of travelling circus trucks. Chaos, sleep deprivation and overwhelm are never a good mix, but it is the relentless nature of it that is the biggest shock.
Let's face it, no matter how you give birth - naturally, caesarean or surrogacy - it is an experience full of heightened emotions, stress and hard slog. Most birth stories are, shall we say, dramatic! Know you’re not alone. These feelings are common to new parents and this phase won’t last forever. Even though it may feel like it.
The best advice I was ever given as a new Mum was to sleep when the baby sleeps. Did I take it? No. I wanted everything to be perfect, I used the time the baby was asleep to vacuum, put a wash on, tidy up. What I should have been doing was napping. Which brings me onto perfectionism in parenting - make no mistake it stinks.
We parents can get caught up in ideals of how things ‘should’ be which is a recipe for distress. When I was a new parent there was a particular parenting book that everyone was reading. It claimed to give you a contented baby, so of course everyone bought it. I hadn’t counted on it making me not only discontent, but a blubbering wreck after a day of trying to stick to the prescribed routine.
There are many books and social media accounts that appeal to the perfectionist in us, my tip is to take the advice that works and ditch the rest. Every child is different - and you know your baby better than anyone else does. Give up the notion of parenting perfectly, just be as loving as you can be to yourself and your little one - and you’ll be good enough.
Let it go!
This tip is really a continuation of the above. Try to let go of all your expectations of how you think you should do it. Trust your instincts and just be. That means be in the moment with this little soul who has entered your life, they don’t need everything to be just so, they just need your love.
The early days with your baby passes in a daze and a flash - and if you can sink into that special bubble of time without wanting it to be any different than it is, then you will be able to look back and say you were present if not perfect.
The biggest thief of joy to your parenting role is comparison. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others - it’s the surest way to ruin your special time with baby. Comparing ourselves to others is dangerous, especially when you have been up all night. It’s like buying clothes in Next and trying to outstyle a Kardashian!
There is always going to be some smug Mum on Insta who cleverly lies about her perfectly ridiculous routine with triplets. Take it all with a big pinch of salt. If you can just be content no matter how imperfectly you do it, I promise you, other people will wish they could have a slice of it. A mother or father who is just peacefully going about their business, totally ok with the ups and downs of life, with a baby is a rare thing.
Don’t put on a brave face
A quick word about postnatal depression. This is more than the baby blues. If you think this applies to you, or your partner, it's important that you can open up to whoever's around. Don’t let it go undetected by putting on a brave face. All you have to say is, “I'm not sure that I'm right at the moment, I may be feeling depressed.”
Postnatal depression is more common that you might think. Your body has been through the mill. Hormones and chemicals in your body have been disrupted, which may affect your mood and outlook, so it's important that you get the support to deal with the depression. Also, don’t forget that Dads can feel depressed too. They also have had a rush of emotion and stress hormones flooding their system. All parents should watch their mental health at this time. Get professional help if you need it from a GP or health visitor.
Self-care isn’t selfish
Your focus is on the baby at this time, and rightly so. But there are a few simple things that you can do to look after your own mental, emotional and physical health at the time.
Eat as regularly as you can and keep hydrated. Get out for a walk once a day, even if it’s just a shuffle to begin with, the fresh air will do you the power of good. Sleep when the baby sleeps. You may not take my advice, but I bet you’ll give it as advice in years to come!
If you find you doubt yourself, take time to get quiet and the answers will come. Try and have just five minutes of silent time, not looking at your phone or the TV. This could be staring out of a window or watching your baby sleep, allowing your mind and body space to slow down and rest. Then you will hear your intuition.
If you feel that you need to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article you can contact Elizabeth Guest through her website www.elizabethguestcounselling.co.uk
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