Midwife, mother and grandmother, Jayne Alder wants new mums to know that they are doing a wonderful job.
The early weeks of life with a new baby are intense beyond words. You're recovering from birth, you're learning to breastfeed, you're learning how to be in this new relationship with yourself as a mother, your relationship with your partner has changed too. You need and deserve support.
But we struggle so much with asking for help. Why is that? Do we look upon the mothers ahead of us and think they have it all under control? Do we not want to bother people? Do we want to be resilient and capable? All of these things and more.
However, let me tell you, as a mother for nearly twelve years, we DON'T always have it under control. In fact I can safely say we have all come seriously undone at numerous times. And at other times, we have been chronically under-supported.
And in this state, we are not the mothers we want to be. We are stressed and frankly not thinking straight. Our kids suffer, our partners suffer, but most of all, we suffer. We deserve to have the support we need to be the mothers we want to be.
Jayne wishes she asked for more help. And so do I. Don't wait until you crack. See the pain you carry and the impact it has on those around you and reach out for help. You'll find there are people around you, waiting in the wings for clear instructions from you.
'Come and play with my toddler for an hour... Sit with me while I learn to breastfeed. Bring me a meal and leave it on my veranda. I'm not up for chats right now. But soon I will be. I can't wait to bloom into the fullness of my motherhood!'
And if any of you know a new mum, don't ask to come over and hold the baby. It's tiring for her to entertain you. You'll have plenty of time for holding the baby down the track. Instead, offer to bring a meal, look after her older children, vacuum her floor. Don't wait for her to ask because she probably won't. And tell her she's doing a wonderful job. Chances are not one person will have said that to her.
Hear more from Jayne about how to survive the early weeks and months in this podcast. This is not only for new parents, but so all of us can better understand how to support them.
Thank you Jayne for your wisdom and your honesty.
Photo by Carlo Navarro on Unsplash
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