I say it to every parent. I say it to myself when I’m finding things tough. I keep reminding myself the first year after having a baby is the hardest! Maybe come teen years I’ll go back on that theory but I’ve always found the first year is the hardest. Yes the first smiles and giggles are super cute but it’s still a huge change, loads of readjustments that it can take a few months or even a few years to get used to for many.
First off there’s the sleepless nights which I had to get used to all over again after having 3 kids who had all started sleeping all night. That damn tiredness, the silly things you do when tired like forgetting the changing bag or your purse, making life that bit more stressful and feeling an unorganised mess, a failure to yourself and all your kids. But you’re not, you are trying.
Then there’s the just getting used to leaving the house with a baby or a baby and other kids. Maybe you just had you to worry about before, you know, get yourself ready and go. Or maybe you were out of the nappy, buggy and bottles stage with previous kids. Getting used to packing nappies, bottles, etc feels so overwhelming you don’t want to leave the house, I know that’s true for me. The fear of forgetting something like a change of clothes for a pooplosion leaves me feeling stressed before I even leave the house. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I dread the thoughts of things not going to plan, and they rarely do with kids, especially babies.
Oh, the teething and often inconsolable cries that comes with it where you feel both helpless and frustrated. You want to run away but then feel guilty for thinking of leaving your baby but your head feels like it’s going to pop if you hear more cries.
The boredom, both yours and the babies. They aren’t crawling or moving yet so all they can do is lie down or sit and want your constant attention to entertain them. It gets monotonous, it get’s boring. It gets much easier for you and more fun for all when they start moving, talking and getting a proper little personality. Quirks and tantrums and all. Honestly, it’s so much more fun and rewarding when that all starts to develop. The toddler years are probably my fave, the innocence, the giggles, the fun they see in small things.
The first year can also be the loneliest. After the doting visitors go, the other half goes back to work, life resumes for everyone else and you’re on your own at home with this helpless baby and it feels so lonely. Yes, you can get out of the house but sometimes as I said above you are just too exhausted and the job of getting everything needed ready seems so overwhelming when tired, that’s totally normal and OK. There’s also the housework and school runs too. I get it, but again it all gets easier to get out of the house when they are older.
Remeber self-care. You just had a baby, you just MADE A WHOLE HUMAN BEING in your body for 9 months. You are still building back up your iron and vitamins. Take some multivitamins, drink lots of water, and go easy on your self. And there is no shame in needing anti-depressants if you feel you might have post natal depression, like myself. Again, you just had a baby, you are possibly depleted of your vitamin and mineral stores like I was/am and your hormones need them and time to readjust and level out. Sometimes a shower can lift your mod so much. Getting rid of that baby puke smell and milk stickiness made me feel brand new again!
Don’t compare to other moms who seemingly have it together. Maybe they don’t, maybe it’s a brave face, maybe they have lots of family help and you don’t. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to feel you again, even 10 mins a day to just breathe in silence. Happy mammy….happy baby is my motto.
So to anyone struggling, I really promise it gets easier. I won’t tell you to ‘enjoy them while they are small’ because I hate that phrase. It’s so hard and the last thing anyone wants to hear when feeling tired and fed up is to enjoy it. I don’t need guilt for not enjoying the shit moments, the sleepless nights, the teething, the crying. I’ll enjoy my kids and seeing them grow and thrive but I don’t have to enjoy all the tough moments.
The first year is the hardest….but it gets so much better, I promise xo
p.s. I totally sang ‘ The First year is the Hardest’ in the tune of Cat Stevens The First Cut is the Deepest LOL!