Dear new mother…it’s OK

Dear new Mother,

You’ve just had a baby. It’s OK to feel happy, to feel scared, to feel sad. It’s OK to be in shock and it’s OK to feel elated. It’s OK to ask for help. In fact, you must. Please ask for help. “Help” will be your best friend, now and for years to come.

It’s OK to want some pieces of your old life back, the freedom, nights out with friends, holidays and sleep. Oh, sleep.

Your body is different now too, no doubt. It’s OK for that to feel strange. You don’t have to love your stretch marks or your soft tummy or all the other parts that feel different. You may embrace your new body, the different shape and size, the unfamiliarity, the new sensations. You may despise it. That’s OK too.

It’s OK to feel empowered by your birth experience but it’s also OK to feel broken. Perhaps it all went according to your plan but perhaps it was the birth you always feared. Talk about it with someone, take the time to heal. Rest and recover. You did it, didn’t you? It’s a cliché, I know, but your body just grew an entire new life and that’s Mother Nature’s most exquisite work. Truly, you are beautiful, OK?

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Baby Jasmine, a few days old

Oh, new Mother,

It’s hard work, right? Harder than you thought, even if it’s your dream come true? Even if you thought you were ready? I know. Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever done. It’s OK if it’s not all as wonderful as you imagined it would be. It’s OK if some things are unexpectedly rubbish and it’s OK if some bits aren’t much fun at all. It’s OK not to “enjoy every minute.” That’s almost impossible I’d say. You are right at the start, new Mother. You are on page 1 of chapter 1 of the longest and most magnificent book ever written. It’s OK to go slowly, not to rush. It’s OK to pause, to stay at home, to simply just be with your baby. It’s more than OK, actually. I wish I’d listened more to this advice.

I hope you know too that it’s OK if you breastfeed and it’s OK if you don’t, if you baby wear or if you don’t. It’s OK if you follow a strict routine or if you don’t, to read all the books or none at all. It’s OK if you don’t really know what you want to do. There seem to be a million different ways to be a Mother.

It’s OK if your relationships change. They’re bound to. You’re a new Mother now with a new set of priorities and a different type of day. It takes a lot to meet the needs of such a helpless little person all day long. It’s OK to miss your friends and to feel frustrated at missing out, like no-one can possibly understand what you’re going through. It’s OK to feel alone and misunderstood. You’re not alone. I understand.

You may have less time for your friends right now and that’s OK as well. Your partner may get less of your attention because you give all your kisses to the baby now. Those cheeks make it hard not to! It’s OK to feel pure joy and elation one minute then utter sadness and despair the next. It’s OK to feel jealous of those who get to sleep. It’s OK to take naps instead of doing the dishes. In fact, once again, you must! It’s OK to stay indoors and it’s OK to venture out too. It’s more than OK to stay in your pyjamas all day and it’s more than OK if your house is a mess, although I understand it’s not how you want it to be. Everything can feel like a sacrifice, can’t it?

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Baby Summer, born at home

It’s OK if it takes time to fall in love. You’ve got your whole lives for that. It’ll come and when it does, it’ll grow so much that you will be amazed at the capacity of your own heart. It’s OK to struggle with the transformation, to take time to find your place with motherhood. No one starts something for the first time being perfect at it. There are no lessons in how to Mother, just millions of books and millennia of experience. Speak to others…they can help. Find those Mothers who just get you, even if they do things differently. Find the Mothers who will lift you up, offer support, reserve judgement and listen. We all need someone who can really listen. The sisterhood of Mothers is a beautiful one. Really. What a place to be. Find your tribe, your like-minded mums, your middle of the night allies.

You’re a new mother. You grew and birthed a baby and you are a miracle too. It’s OK to feel anxious, to worry, to protect. It’s OK to relax, to use your intuition and to feel totally at ease in this place. Perhaps you finally feel like you’ve arrived in yourself.

It is OK to want a break. You will need one. Take it. Take breaks so you can replenish yourself and your energy. Your love for your child won’t be questioned. It’s OK, it’s more than OK to make time for yourself. It’s OK to be taken care of. Actually, it’s vital. Let someone else make the tea, make the food, rub your shoulders. You don’t have to be perfect, to achieve as much as you used to. It’s OK for the goalposts to change.

It’s OK to break generational patterns, to carve a new lineage. It’s OK to disagree with old methods and to challenge age old advice just because you turned out alright. We are evolving, we are spiritual and emotional beings. Our children are born into a different world and we are progressing towards greatness, don’t you agree?

It’s all OK, new Mother. I guess that’s all I’m really trying to tell you.

I love you,

Naomi

 

Don’t go, Summer

With the Autumn Equinox behind us and the weather on the turn I’m feeling really nostalgic for all things Summer…both the baby and the season! This summer season was a biggie for our family. The anticipation of our second baby arriving, our last few months spent as a family of three and an intense heat wave certainly made it a summer to remember. Wow! Those days seem so long ago already and looking back at photos of our adventures with Jasmine and ‘bump’ brings me so much joy. How is it possible that Jasmine already seems to have grown up into a different child yet again in the few months that have passed since then? I have such happy memories of our time in the hot weather, playing in the paddling pool in our garden, spending hours outside, having picnics and ice creams, going to our first ‘festival’ and boiling away in the intense heat with only a single fan in the house to keep us cool. I will fondly remember this summer of fun, the 3 of us (and bump), and the gorgeous never-ending sunshine which I’ve come to appreciate so much these days.

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Jasmine enjoying the sunshine in the garden
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Jasmine at her first festival 4 days before Summer arrived

Then there’s the other Summer, our aptly named second baby girl born during the heat wave of July this year who has transformed us into a family of four, made Jasmine a big sister and brought us all more happiness than we could have imagined. Summer is growing and changing so quickly and the weeks are flying by in a flash. She has a huge gorgeous smile, takes lovely long naps and has such an easy-going and relaxed nature (so far!) I am in absolutely no rush for her to grow up and wish I could slow down time to enjoy her just as she is, to soak in those snuggles and stare at those eyes. I already worry that my memories of her time as a newborn seem distant. Did I take enough photos? Will I remember those precious first weeks in years to come? Did I make enough time to take it all in? I haven’t recorded all the details or memorised the dates of her milestones because time just seems to have vanished somehow. (They said this would happen with baby number 2 and I guess ‘they’ must be right!) Summer will soon be 3 months old and although there is so much fun ahead of us, my heart feels a little sad that my little one is already growing up so much and there’s nothing I can do to stop it!

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Summer as a newborn

So summer is over and autumn is officially here. My newborn has grown in a flash and I’m left with a feeling of slight sadness and apprehension. The seasonal change at this time of year is always a challenge for me, let alone when the clocks change! I adore long light evenings and detest it getting dark at 4pm. I’ve noticed that with the seasons changing, my thought pattern is becoming a little negative and that is something I need to keep in check. I’m feeling disgruntled at thoughts of cold weather and the inevitable colds and flues that Jasmine will bring home from nursery and no doubt pass to her sister. I’m aware that the upcoming seasons present an even greater challenge to be productive and active and resist the urge to hibernate under a blanket every night of the week. I’m already longing for another summer of sun that now seems so far away. The transition this year is more difficult than ever because it carries more emotional significance and I feel like I’m saying goodbye to a time I will never get back again but have enjoyed so, so much. I know I need to remain positive, get outside, focus on my gratitude and move with the flow of life, which includes babies growing up and seasons changing and as always, I’m focusing on the lessons that all these feelings can teach me.

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Newborn yawns

Being your Mummy teaches me so much and no less on this occasion. This week and in this transition, I’m focusing my thoughts on these important things….

  • Practicing mindful parenting. Learning to slow down and savour those precious moments without distractions. Taking time to really ‘be’ with my children, whether it’s for half an hour or five minutes but to be fully present is such a rewarding experience but can be so hard to accomplish in today’s world of business and ‘to do’ lists.
  • Go with the flow. The seasons changing is part of life (especially living in the UK) and is also Mother Nature’s best work. Every season comes back around each year and moving with the flow of this can help me to remain tuned in to all the good things that they bring. Each season and each new stage with a baby brings about new beginnings and new things to enjoy.
  • All good things must come to an end. The glorious, precious newborn days (which I appreciated so much more this time round) may have come to an end but it doesn’t mean the memories aren’t there. The good things teach us what we love about life. For me this summer has shown me I appreciate hot weather and being outside with Jasmine and that I can strive to achieve elements of that in the other seasons too.
  • Take photos! Yes, technology is both a blessing and a curse and yes our phones can take us away from being present with our kids but I am so thankful for our ability to capture happy moments on camera with no limitations. One of my favourite things to do is look back at photos on my phone whether it’s from a year ago or a week ago and it never fails to make be smile thinking about those moments or talking about how much Jasmine and Summer have changed. Photos are a way of preserving memories both for myself and my girls.
  • Gratitude. This is the biggie! I know that when I’m feeling low or when those negative thought patterns kick in, coming back to a gratitude practice always lifts my mood. So rather than getting frustrated when it’s dark at 4pm and wishing for something else, I’m going to remember by gratitude practice. Gratitude for the change in seasons and the different experiences they bring. Gratitude for the abundant life I’m living. Gratitude for being a mother.
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Our smiley Summer

New beginnings

Jasmine fell asleep ridiculously early tonight and Summer is currently in her Daddy’s arms so I’m using this rare moment to sit here, and write. I recently came across several posts online that all carried a very similar message and one that spoke so strongly to me, I couldn’t ignore it. This message was one about doing the work in order to manifest your dreams and working out what may be blocking your ability to expand and achieve the things you can so clearly visualise but never seem able to do. Of course with a toddler and a newborn ‘time’ is not something I have a lot of, however, sometimes you can’t ignore signs from the Universe that all the right things are coming into alignment just at the right time so what better time than now to begin.

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In recent months I have written enough words to fill an entire book but the problem is these words are just stored in my head, the odd note written in my phone or as pages in my journal. They are words that have streamed out of me in a moment of pure emotion, in a moment of clarity or in the moments that follow a particular experience or conversation. Every single day I think about writing them down ‘properly’. I think about saving them somehow, sharing them with others, getting them out into the world. I think about whether my girls will read them one day and whether they would want to. Then something stops me. It’s not that I don’t want to share these words because I desperately do but there’s something there, something I can’t quite pinpoint, that holds me back. Perhaps it’s the fear of being so vulnerable, opening my heart up to the world? Perhaps it’s the work and time it will take to write these things in a way that can truly portray how I feel? Perhaps it’s the fear that it’s really just a pointless exercise and I should keep these things to myself? Perhaps it’s the fear of what people will think? Perhaps it’s everything.

I don’t really understand why my desire to share such personal things is so strong. Why do I feel that my words belong anywhere other than in my journal? What makes me someone who has an experience in life no different to that of millions of others, but one that comes with a whole narrative of its own? A narrative about my daughters and about motherhood. A narrative about women and our experiences. About feminism, about learning. About veganism, spirituality, personal growth, marriage, relationships and life. Narratives come to me almost every day and I now feel that if I do nothing with these words, at the end of the day, that would be just a big waste.

I want to keep these words for my daughters and my family so that one day they can read them and not only be able to learn about me as their mother but about themselves as young children and my experience raising them. They will be able to learn about the world as it is now with all it’s problems but all it’s beauty. The journey of motherhood, of which I am just really at the start, has truly been transformative in so many ways and to capture that is beautiful and has become my passion. It is my life and my experience on this planet and in so many ways being a mother, being your mother, is wrapped up in everything I do.

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The experience of Motherhood is a universal one. My girls, Jasmine and Summer, are unique in themselves and unique to me but my experiences as a mother are shared by millions. The highs and the lows, the struggles and the doubt, the learning and the reward and above all the love. Oh, that love!

So it’s time to start the work. I don’t want these words to disappear from my head. I want to capture them now, as they are, real, raw and authentic. They are me being vulnerable, emotional, unsure. They are me seeking growth, guidance and connection. They are me being passionate, brave and truthful. With all that, and all the fear, I question again why I feel so deeply compelled to share but then, I do know. I know the power of sharing because words others have shared have helped me. I know that words I’ve read about motherhood have brought me to tears, have made me feel less alone and part of something bigger. So part of me, a big part of me, believes that my words might just be able to help someone else too. Perhaps also, one day my words will help my daughters to carve their way through their own motherhood journey and know that I came before them just like my mother before me. If that’s not a reason to write, I don’t know what is.

This is for you my girls, my daughters, my heart.