Bundle is very excited to welcome Fi from Mumma Morrison as a new guest blogger and member of the Bundle family! Be sure to check our Fi's own blog for lots of insights, hints, tips and stories, along with lots of laughs, about pregnancy and motherhood.
Motherhood is the most challenging, tumultuous, and exciting journey I have ever been on. Now that my son’s first birthday is fast approaching (eek!), I have been reflecting on our time together, and the many things I have learnt along the way. While there are lots of things that people tell you about becoming a parent – helpful tips such as, “you’ll never sleep again,” and “enjoy this time while it lasts!” – there have been some really invaluable lessons I have learnt that I wish I knew about before becoming a mother.
1. You’ll miss your “freedom” but wouldn’t replace it for the world
Before becoming a mother, I underestimated how much I would miss having the freedom to go out whenever I wanted with minimal fuss or organisation. If hubby and I wanted to go out for a spontaneous date night, it was no problem. If our friends wanted to organise going to the movies on a Sunday night? We’d be there! But since I’ve become a mother, those opportunities to go out whenever I want have become a much more burdensome task. A date night requires extensive planning of babysitting, baby bedtime routines, and even organising the babysitter’s dinner. While there have been times where I’ve missed the opportunity to go to the movies with friends, or have a more regular date night, spending time with my son quickly changes my perspective and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.
2. The first few months will be rough
Many people will try and offer you helpful advice in preparation for your impending bundle of joy, however nothing can actually prepare you for the roller-coaster journey you’re about to embark on. Having a baby is a completely new experience, and it will take you a few months to adapt to the demands of a newborn – dirty nappies, constant feeds and broken sleep. Add to that a baby’s natural “fussy” period between 6-12 weeks of age, and you’ll find that the first few months are extremely rough (I went through Postnatal Anxiety during this time). I wish I believed people in those early days when they told me it would get better – I struggled to see through the haze back then!
3. Postnatal Anxiety is a thing, and you can get help for it
I remember hearing about Postnatal Depression in our Prenatal classes, but nothing about Postnatal Anxiety. I had definitely experienced some of the factors that can contribute to PND, such as family history, and experiencing big life changes (we moved houses when my son was 3 weeks old). However, when I got to a stage where I didn’t want to leave the house in case my son would have a screaming fit (which, during that natural fussy period, was frequently), I didn’t recognise this as an ‘issue’ because I wasn’t aware it was one. It wasn’t until many months later that I learnt what Postnatal Anxiety was, and I recognised this as my early experience of motherhood. I became acquainted with an organisation called PANDA, which helps women (and men) going through PND and PNA, and I have since become a Community Champion to raise awareness of these conditions. I wish I knew I was going through Postnatal Anxiety so I could have spoken to someone about it, and enjoyed my son’s childhood from an earlier age.
4. Motherhood will change the nature of your relationships
One of the biggest challenges of motherhood is that it changes the nature of all your relationships – from your family and friends, even to your spouse or partner. There will be a change in expectations, for example the amount of time you will spend at a gathering (as you may need to rush home to get the baby to sleep). There will be a change in the amount of time you can dedicate to different people. For example, with your spouse or partner, it can be difficult to juggle time with each other around the demands of a newborn who eats, sleeps, and poops erratically. Unfortunately, there are some friends or family who may not understand your changing priorities (most likely because they do not have kids or their children are older). However, over time, most of them will come around and will work with you to find times to catch up that suit around your baby. Those who don’t – I have learnt – are most likely not worth the effort, as raising a child will take up all of your time and effort.
5. Motherhood will be the most amazing and fulfilling thing you will experience.
I will always say, hands down, that motherhood is the hardest and best thing I have ever experienced. Before having my son, I never knew I could experience such an intense love for a little person. He has taught me so much about myself as a person and as a mother, like I am stronger than I ever thought was possible. With my husband and my son, my life now feels more complete. While I initially struggled with a sense of losing my identity when I became a mother (in those first initial rough months), I have since become so attached to it that I aim to help other new mothers in their motherhood journey too. I no couldn’t imagine my life in any other way, and I wish I knew before I became a mother how amazing it would be to have such a beautiful title.
What are the 5 things you wish you knew before you became a mother? Let us know in the comments.