Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lessons of Being a New Mum

I want to start this post by saying I am in NO means an expert on babies and being a mom. I am 11 weeks into having little Fleur in our lives and I truly believe that every day brings a new lesson on being a mom, every day brings something different. I have learned quickly that there is not a manual on being the perfect mom. Perfect? What is perfect really when raising a little baby? Does someone have that manual being printed soon? ha! 

I do think I have learned a few things over the past few weeks about life with a new baby and being a first time mom. Lots of people ask me often how my labor was, how am I doing with sleep, am I finding time for myself, etc. I am not always great on taking my own advice but am truly trying every day to get better at it in my new role as a mum and thought I would share the few lessons I have learned.
 Be Ready To Go Off Your Plan 
I spent a lot of time staying healthy and exercising throughout my pregnancy. I had all intentions to have Fleur naturally and had spent a lot of time mentally and physically preparing for her birth, I had a plan. Well, our little lady didn't want to come out and I ended up experiencing every step of labor. I was induced,  I had contractions for hours and was fully dilated, I pushed for two hours and after three days in the hospital the doctors decided I needed to have an emergency c-section and was whisked into the emergency room {or as they call it in London, theatre}. Our baby Fleur arrived 15 minutes later after three days of sleepless tiring nights, this was certainly not my plan. I did not expect to have a c-section, but really just wanted what was good for me and the baby, so prepare yourself for that a bit. The idea of my water breaking at home, calling a taxi and having the baby two hours later did not happen for me like in the movies and I'm fine with that. Prepare yourself a bit for the other options of what may happen, I wished I had mentally considered if I had to have a c-section. 

Not only is the labor process something that I may not have expected as much but also just the day to day life with a newborn is something you may not be prepared for. As a professional planner, planning events and constantly living on a schedule, life with a newborn and trying to create a plan and schedule for her was something I struggled to accept at first may not happen! Babies eat, sleep, poop, cry, giggle and sleep and eat throughout their day. The first few weeks were really hard to realize that this was not a plan I could control. We had friends stop by to visit at what I thought was a good time and Fleur wouldn't stop crying, that wasn't the plan, but I realized that it was what it was and now 11 weeks in,  I realize that every day. You can start to plan for the day but don't be surprised if as you are running out the door you need to change their extremely messy diaper which takes twenty minutes longer then you planned or they are crying and so hungry and it makes you late to your appointment you had planned. Life in the early weeks of baby life really go according to their little schedule of what they have planned....too bad they can't verbally share it with us;) 

 Be Kind To Yourself
OK, so this is a big one to learn. I remind myself of this every day, multiple times! Both physically and mentally, be kind to yourself. I mentioned it earlier but accept that things will not go to your plan because there isn't a written manual on being the perfect mum. Some days I think, I have this down, she is napping, I can easily stop her crying, she is smiling and then next day comes and she cries for hours, the dog is barking, dinner is left barely made in the kitchen and my projects sit on the table untouched for days. I have had breakdowns crying to Mr. Beau saying how lost I feel and how I have no idea when I will get back to my old self, he then reminds me I am doing a great job and how raising a little baby isn't easy so not to be so hard on myself. 

I helped throw a friends baby shower when Fleur was six weeks old. Months back before she arrived I thought that by six weeks I would certainly have time to myself to get stuff done during the day, how hard could it be. Well, flash ahead to the week of the shower and I was stressing out to find time to bake cookies, decorate cookies, style flowers, make signs, etc. Some things on my list I finally had to cross off and just accept that I had a newborn and it was OK if it didn't get done, I wasn't a failure, it would be fine, and guess what, it was. It is times like this that I struggle mentally on telling myself it is OK right now not to be Rebecca the business women/ event planner/ social butterfly etc. during these few months, things will change and in a few months I will be back at it in full swing! It is OK. 

The biggest lesson for me in being kind to myself has had a lot to do with my physical self. Before my pregnancy I had just finished my fifth marathon and I felt in the best shape I had been in quite awhile. Nine months of pregnancy and a c-section later I feel like when I look in the mirror I don't know who this person is. My body has changed tremendously, my arm muscles are gone, my belly is like humpty dumpty, I have gained thirty pounds and do not fit into a majority of my closet, it has been really hard to accept. This being said, this past month I decided to hire a trainer for a few personal sessions and it has really made me realize that its OK,  I will get back to that self again. I can't beat myself up, I just had a beautiful baby and major surgery and it will take time to recover. It will not happen overnight {unfortunately} but giving my self small goals of going to a class, having a personal training session, going on a long walk has made my mind set change tremendously compared to the first few weeks where I cried almost anytime I looked in the mirror. You haven't just eaten a few too many cookies, you had a baby! 
 Be Ready To Say No
I have such a hard time saying no in the past. I get asked to organize photo shoots, participate in events for the blog, donate items for an event amongst just meeting up with friends and since Fleur has arrived I have learned to say no much better. As much as I want to meet up and see some of our friends, recently I have learned that a Wednesday night at 7:30pm just isn't the best time and I have to say no. While I would have loved to collaborate on a styled shoot for Christmas like last year, I had to realize I just did not have time and that was OK to say no. Opportunities will come again and I would rather cherish these first couple of months with Fleur that I will never get back then to be stressing about styling a photo shoot that I could reschedule for the spring!

Find A Group Of Mum Friends 
I have been really lucky to have met a great group of girls through my NCT group. Even though a lot of my friends have little ones, most of them are two years old and older. It has been nice to meet a group of girls that have babies the same age as Fleur who I can talk to and ask questions about things I'm going through; breastfeeding issues, doctors appointments, etc. All of us live within 15 minutes to each other and meet up for coffee and a walk often. We have taken classes together and have met up  with the babies and our guys at night. It really has been so nice to have this group of women in my life close by since Fleur arrived.

Accept People's Help 
Mr. Beau and I really wanted to have the first week after Fleur was born alone, just the three of us. We wanted to enjoy our new little family without having a million visitors around. Well after having an emergency c-section and Fleur arriving much later then my due date, we were beyond happy to have our families around to help. At first I couldn't get use to not doing anything other then feeding Fleur. My mom did our laundry, helped clean, my sisters cooked for us, my in laws came and helped out, someone there to watch the baby so you could take a short nap, honestly it was amazing. Whenever everyone left I was sad and didn't know how I was going to get by, but I figured it out. However, those first few weeks with  having extra help around was truly amazing, so if friends and family volunteer to help you out, take it! It gives you time to rest and take care of your little one. 

Schedule Time For Yourself
The first couple of weeks when Mr. Beau was back to work full time and I was with Fleur all day, I couldn't get anything done for myself {ummmmm, notice the big break in blogging!}. Taking Fleur and the dog for a walk was a big accomplishment of the day. Mr. Beau insisted that on the weekends I take a few hours to myself and he watched Fleur. I went and got my nails done, went and got a coffee or just went up to our room and closed the door and took a nap. A couple of months later I am still trying to do the same thing, find time for myself. Go take a yoga class where they have childcare, get your hair done and have your husband watch the baby, splurge and get a babysitter and do some Christmas shopping alone. I love being a mum to my little Fleur, but I am still myself and need a little quiet time alone sometimes! 

Get Out Of The House 
Make yourself take the buggy and the baby and go for a walk. Find a theatre that allows babies to come with you during the day and see a movie. Go out and get a coffee with the little one in the baby carrier. Whatever it is, don't stay at home 24/7 feeding and changing the baby, get out. It lets you clear your mind and is good exercise. Taking long walks with Fleur and #siroliveruk allowed me to feel myself again instead of staying in the flat all day, every day. 

Oh and last but not least.......
snuggle and cuddle with your little one as much as you can! In 11 weeks I have seen Fleur grow every day! I now believe what my mom always told me......they grow up so fast! 

I know this was a lengthy post but I loved listening to mom friends of mine advice while I was pregnant and I think it is important to share your experiences. I would love to hear any advice that you have being a new mom. As I said, every day is a new day with a little one, enjoy it, it gets easier, I'm still learning that! 

xoxo Rebecca

* All images above were taken when Fleur was two weeks old by my super talented friend Lucy Davenport. Check out Lucy's site if you are interested in an amazing photographer for your engagement, wedding or family photos! 


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