Let’s start with our partners. Lets just take a moment to consider the fact that they may not of had the baby physically, but they were there, they saw what you had been through. In my case my first experience was a negative one as it was for Bradley.
The fact is, once you are home you are both onto a new chapter in your life. Every relationship is different, but I began to see Brad in a new light. He was finding his new role. I think it is hard for the partner as they are not nursing etc so sometimes they can feel helpless. I think it’s important to remember that because they are not 100% involved (other than feeding you, minding you and changing nappies) it’s easy for them to feel left out. Now you may think that is just childish, but it’s very easily done. You are bonding, feeding and up all night with your new-born. Your focus is not on them. This us where I am going to say – THAT IS OKAY! Do not begin to worry. Your partner will find their feet, they will be alright. I think it’s important to pick your battles. Allow space for upset and confusion. It’s all new to both of you.
I remember letting the small things get to me and it would cause an argument and that then would escalate and really there was no need for it. If something really upsets you, let your partner know. But something I had to remember is that we all need some head space, we all need time to ourselves or with friends and now that there is a baby sometimes you are not able to do all those things as much together. However, make sure you also get your time. That is highly important. Just because your partner is not feeding the baby etc doesn’t mean you cannot get time to yourself. There must be compromise.
Yes, parenthood is a roller coaster. Its fun, scary, terrifying, exciting, turbulent and crazy but you are in it together. You are both going through it, be kind to each other and look after each other’s feelings.
(This picture was our first date night in 6 months)
The next type of relationships I would like to talk about is the ones with our family. When a baby is born it is wonderful for everyone. Babies bring joy and happiness so of course everyone wants to see the bundle of joy. And that is lovely, however you must consider how you are feeling first. You need to be ready for people to come and be in the house around you when you could be a little fragile and overwhelmed. No matter what, remember you can say no. You can say ‘no sorry today is not a good day for you to visit maybe another day?’ People do this all the time. Your family may be a little put out, but do you know what, they will see the baby another day, they will get over it all and they will love you no matter what. You need to do what is best for you.
I remember what made me uneasy and that was breastfeeding in front of family. I would be fine going to a café and feeding in a room of strangers but being home and feeding infront of uncles and brother in laws hard. So, everyone has their reasons and that is alright. You need to feel calm and secure with baby so make whatever decision you need to be just that.
Relationships with friends can also be a bit tricky. I found friends with children have a completely different view on it all. They can relate to what you have been through. They know to keep distance and usually bring you essentials when you get a visit from them. Friends without children are wonderful but maybe not as understanding especially when you cancel, re arrange to don’t reply to text messages. I have learnt pure, real friends will always be there no matter what. The others were supposed to be with you a certain time of your life. We all make memories together, move on with our lives and find ourselves on different paths. Those paths may meet again but don’t get hung up on these things. You are at a wonderful time in your life. Embrace it. Its time for you and your baby. Its time to do things for you. Do things what is right for your family. You can still socialise but maybe a little but more on your terms. Again, compromise is important in all our relationships.
I was very selfish for at least a year. I cancelled, didn’t reply and focused on my postpartum and baby. This was not a conscious decision I made at the time it is just what happened. I did not cancel or not reply just because I didn’t want to. Some friends drifted, everyone met the baby eventually and my relationship with Brad grew.
I now have a small group of friends but they get it, they understand me and I don’t feel guilty saying no. Becoming a mother or father can be a tricky experience. Everyone needs positive support.
The final relationship and the most important is the one with you. Your mind, body, responsibilities and life has completely changed. You need to relate to yourself again, understand who you are and what you have achieved. It took me at least a year to come to terms with myself as a mum. Even now when I call myself Mum, I am like ‘Whhhhhat!’ So, take your time. Tell yourself how wonderful you are and do everything at your own pace. You got this!
Thanks for reading x