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  • Writer's pictureLois Jane

New mum and struggling? Read this.

I remember back to the first few weeks of having Lily home and amongst all the super squishy cuddles and that new baby smell was the lack.of.sleep. Let’s be honest, sleep deprivation is super hard for anyone, but for people who are already prone to anxious thoughts and feelings, it can be even more difficult. The first few weeks felt like a complete blur, we were on such a high after taking Lily home from hospital, it was all we had focused on for so long, but it felt like I crashed after all the celebrations were done and the flurry of visitors had started to slow down to a trickle.

Suddenly you find yourself in the day to day routine. For a lot of people with anxiety, routine is quite important, you’ll have certain things that you’ll do each day as you know it helps you feel better. I don’t think I’d really anticipated just what it’s like to wake up every single morning of every single day and have a tiny human fully dependent on you, for everything. If nothing else I have always been fond of a lie in - and these were now a thing of the past! And the loneliness, boy that was real. Thank goodness for social media or I don't know how I'd have managed.

I struggled. And it always felt like there was a really high expectation on Mum’s to be ‘oh everything is fine’ and to just suck it up and get on with it, when really I often felt upset and worried. I’d look around some of my Mum friends who were just so positive and upbeat all the time, it made me think it was just me. I had this fear that by somehow admitting I didn’t love every second of motherhood, that I’d appear ungrateful, or that I didn’t love my baby as much as the next mum. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is you can find being a mum really difficult at times and be incredibly grateful for your baby. You can feel frustrated and grief at how your life / body / routine has changed and feel so much joy and love for your child at the same time. All of your feelings are valid and none of them make you any less of an amazing mum.

I found reading stories from other mums online, and realising that it wasn’t just me really helped. A quick google search will soon help you realise you're not alone in this. Over this last year it's become so clear that becoming a mum doesn’t magically make your anxiety disappear, and in fact, due to the fact that some of your coping mechanisms (time for yourself, taking a nap etc) are suddenly taken away, it can often make it worse.

It’s ok to ask for help (and I would actively encourage that you do), and it’s ok to admit it if you’re struggling. I’ve said it often enough ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’, and yes this still applies when you’re a mum. Society might have you thinking that as a Mum you have to put everyones needs before your own, this is not the case. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can then help others.

Whatever it is you can to do to feel just a little bit better go for it. Even if its something as simple as making sure you choose yourself a nice outfit for yourself for the day, I know we're so good at making sure the babies look cute we sometimes forget about ourselves! For me it was taking long hot baths whenever I could, getting out and about with my friends baby free, I got reflexology and massage treatments whenever I could just to help give myself the head space I needed to come back a little stronger the next day.

A good friend of mine took up running when her baby was little, he's now 3 and she still views her twice weekly runs as her precious 'me time'. I mean there's more chance of pigs flying than me going for runs multiple times weekly but you get the idea.

If Lily ever chooses to become a mum one day, I want her to know that’s its ok for her to admit it if she finds things difficult. That she doesn't need to be ashamed and that it doesn't make her any less of a good mum.

And if you find you’re struggling, I want you to know that you are a fabulous Mum doing a fabulous job, anxiety and all.

Sending so much love,

Lois x

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