It’s been almost 3 months since we welcomed our little angel into the world, and what a magical few weeks it’s been. Having a baby is such a whirlwind of emotions and experiences – in less than a year you go from just looking after yourself, to seeing your body completely transform, to bringing an entirely new person into existence before your very eyes! It’s by far the most beautiful experience I’ve gone through to date. Honor has taught me so much already in her 3 months of life, so today I’m sharing with you the 5 most important things I’ve learned since giving birth (though I know so many more lessons are to come!).
The female body is amazing!
I have a whole new respect and reverence for the female body, including my own. It grows and stretches to house a whole person, not to mention the process of giving birth itself, and its ability to create the nourishment your baby needs to survive and grow strong. Even following Honor’s birth, I’m still so in awe that my body is slowly settling back into what it was before pregnancy. While we can feel so much pressure to lose weight quickly or “snap back” to our old selves, I’ve been trying to be loving and patient towards my body – it will get there when it gets there, and I’m so grateful for what it did. PS. A lot of you have been asking about my post-natal diet and exercise regime. I’m breast-feeding, which means I’m HUNGRY! So I’m eating a lot of warm, hearty meals, but trying as much as possible to be healthy. I’m ramping up my exercise again finally, to include spinning, circuit training and barre class – and I’m creating a vlog for my Youtube channel with all the food and exercise details in it, in case you’re interested or want to follow along.
You can handle a lot more than you think you can.
Before the baby arrived, I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to handle the lack of sleep. People terrify you about it. Add balancing a career and a relationship on top of that, and it seemed damn near impossible. But I think 9 months of pregnancy really does prepare you to be tough. I wasn’t sleeping well towards the end (anyone else pee ten times a night?!) and I had done a lot of reading for tips on maximizing your time (and sleep) as a new mum.
You realize quickly after you give birth that you can handle more than you ever imagined possible, including very little sleep, and all the other responsibilities life demands of you. Multi-tasking goes to a whole new level and this little person seems to uncover all the strength and willpower you never knew you had! But the difference between say, being exhausted for work and being exhausted as a parent, is that the minute they smile or coo, you forget about how you feel. Genuinely, the joy and pride of having this tiny helpless person look into your eyes is the greatest, most tremendous joy I’ve ever felt, times a thousand.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
I’ve also realized that just because mums are superheroes, doesn’t mean that we should do absolutely everything. That’s a surefire way to burning yourself out, quickly. If working out, cleaning, cooking or social engagements just seem like too much at the beginning, give yourself a break and ample time to settle into this new life. I mentioned this on my post about how to get sleep with a newborn, but it’s ok to sacrifice that load of laundry or dishes if you just need a moment to yourself when your baby is napping. I got very good at delegating, and asking friends or family to do specific things: not just making tea but going to the supermarket with a list, making the bed, or watching Honor for an hour or two (not just ten minutes!) while I took a bath or got a proper nap. Ask for help and be kind to yourself!
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
This is something that I’ve rarely heard other mums talk about on social media, but I know it’s true for all of us. Being a mum is hard, and sometimes it feels too hard. Sometimes you cry out of sheer exhaustion and feel like you’re never going to get your life together. Sometimes you just want a minute to yourself or with your partner, and there are days where even that one minute doesn’t come. Even though your sweet little babe is completely worth all the struggle, it’s not all cuddles and playtime. I remember Honor’s 6 week growth spurt was full-on. She wanted to feed every hour or two (that’s 24/7 for about 5 days), and wouldn’t stop crying. Nothing would calm her down. I had read about this happening and when I asked friends, they all had varying experiences. One said she just took off her bra, sat of the sofa ready to feed all day and had her hubby bring her food. Another said they had barely noticed the growth spurt. But the point is, I was reaching my breaking point and decided to reach out for advice and stories. You guys gave me the best tips online too (downloading the app Wonder Weeks was a life-saver!) and I think more women should feel free to talk about these struggles, without feeling guilt that they’re panicking or worrying they’re not doing things right – we’re human after all, and motherhood is far from perfect.
You fall in love with your partner in a whole new way.
This is something people told me when I was pregnant, and I can say now is completely true. Becoming first time parents transforms your relationship in such a powerful, beautiful way. You go from the fun, flirty, spontaneous days… to falling in love and creating a life together as a couple, to bringing this special person into the world together that you both fall head over heels for. It’s such a journey that only the two of you are on together. Mackenzie comes off as all jokes, but he’s completely mad about Honor, and the most dedicated, loving, protective father. He calls us ‘his girls’ and is so hands-on. Watching him become a father has made me love him even more than I did before.
Parents out there, tell me what having a child has taught you, below in the comments!
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