When I was pregnant I really thought that I was fully prepared for being a mum. I’d read the books, studied my pregnancy yoga and postnatal yoga training courses, spoken to friends and attended antenatal classes. I’ve got this having a baby thing right? Er… wrong. Here are my top five reasons why being pregnant just didn't prepare me for being a mum.
1. You prepare for birth not motherhood
One thing I realise now is that a lot of antenatal classes and books are focused on building up for the day your baby arrives into the world, but NOT the first few challenging months of motherhood. I suspect that this is to prevent anxiety in pregnant women but when baby arrives you are on a very steep learning curve that never ends!
2. All the focus is on you
When you are pregnant people give up seats for you, let you jump the queue for toilets, carry your bags and generally help you out. I spent a lot of time doing pregnancy yoga to nurture my body, listening to guided relaxations to prepare my mind and started slowing down work as I got closer to the birth. The focus was all on me as the body growing this brand new life inside of me. When baby actually arrived, the focus turned instead to baby (and quite rightly too as she is a little angel). I found that taking care of myself just wasn't a priority - even just sitting properly, exercising, treating myself, all faded into the background compared to the attention I spent on my little one and continue to do now.
3. You don't know the meaning of tired
In the latter stages of pregnancy I was getting up three times a night to pee and I thought I was tired. As a new mummy, I’d take that any day over two hours of an unsettled and crying newborn. Tiredness and exhaustion hit another level when you have a new baby, and one that continues 24 hours a day… (but pregnant mamas, don't despair, the newborn phase doesn't last forever... and keep reading to point 5!)
4. Your body goes from blooming to broken
I was very lucky to have a healthy pregnancy with very few complications (barring a bit of heartburn - you've spotted the baby with crazy hair right?) and really wasn't prepared for how broken and empty the body feels after birth. It’s not a surprise really looking at what amazing things the female body goes through when you bring a new life into this world. As a very healthy yogini I remember trying to go for a five minute walk seven days postpartum feeling like my insides were going to fall out and that my limbs were as heavy as lead. Was this normal – why hadn’t anyone told me this?! Plus I kinda missed my big baby bump.
5. You just don't know how much love you are capable of!
I spent a lot of my pregnancy doing guided relaxations focusing on baby bonding, talking to baby as she grew inside of me and giving her a pet name, as we didn't know whether we were having a girl or boy. However once she arrived I just had no idea how much love I could feel for another person. Pure unconditional love. And this definitely makes it all worth it.
So what can you do?
So although pregnancy may not quite prepare you for motherhood, there are few things that you can do to help you though this tiring, wonderful, challenging and joyful journey.
Importantly, take a little time out for some self-care:
five minutes with a cuppa and a cake (or five!),
a hot bath or shower whilst someone else watches bubba,
read a book,
or just go for a walk.
My personal favourite though has to be carving out time for guided relaxations. These give you some me-time but also has the added benefit of recharging the batteries and helping to put some perspective on things. I listen to these usually whilst baby sleeps (on me or in the cot).
In fact, because I believe so strongly in the power of guided relaxations for new mummies, I have created a whole online course centred around this concept of nurturing the mummy. Rest Mama Rest: Guided Relaxations for Whilst Baby Sleeps is a unique six week online course created especially for new mummies to help them relax and re-energise in those early days of motherhood. You have access to six different guided relaxations to listen to whenever you need a boost. Just visit https://www.susansworldofyoga.co.uk/onlinecourses to find out more.
Plus you can download a FREE 10 minute guided relaxation to get you started right away! https://www.susansworldofyoga.co.uk/freerelaxation
Enjoy motherhood everyone!
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Susan’s World of Yoga www.susansworldofyoga.co.uk