As a society we spend a lot of time investing in, thinking about, and buying things for baby. But a baby really doesn’t need much - clothes, milk, nappies, a bed and love will cover the basics. But a mum to be and a new mum require quite a lot more.
They need care, support and understanding. They need people to focus on her rather than just her unborn or newborn baby. She needs to know that there are people who have got her back, who will come when she’s had the toughest day in the world and will hold her baby whilst she takes a 5 minute nap.
A mum needs to be invested in. Whether that is through relaxation, through her body, through her mind. She needs time for her. After you have given birth people often call round ‘to see baby’, they ask how baby is and they may bring gifts. But how often to people come to see the new mum, ask how she is or bring gifts for her? How many visitors offer to do things around the house when they call? Like make themselves a drink or bring a home cooked meal? How many people just ignore the major life event that that woman has been through?
We spend so much time preparing for our baby, for the birth of our baby that we often forget about the period afterwards where we are left with a small human to look at after. Often feeling confused as to what their needs may be when they are crying.
During pregnancy I found myself investing a great deal in my unborn baby, from clothes to toys to furniture, bedding, the list can go on. The focus is then majorly on baby, how is baby doing, how long have you got left, how big do they expect baby to be, etc etc. What people often fail to ask is ‘how are you doing’ ‘how are you finding it growing a human’. Throughout my pregnancy I found that I came secondary to most now that I was pregnant. My unborn child now came first and my needs where often ignored despite the very fact that during this time I should have been making the most of being ‘child’ free.
When baby arrives everyone flocks to see them and I don’t know about you but again it was all focused on the new arrival. Not how I was doing as a new mum. Obviously my baby was now the most important thing in the world but I was equally just as important and my needs were too. After all how could I care for my child in the way that I wanted if I didn’t feel okay cause I hadn’t washed in a few days. What I often found then was that the baby classes we attended where all about my baby. No one asked how we as mums were doing, if we were okay. The expectation at this point seems to be that everything is solely focused on your new arrival and by even thinking about yourself you aren’t being a good mum.
But as a mum, and to be able to be a mum to the best of your ability you are entitled to a break, you are entitled to still be you, to still enjoy and go and do the things you did pre-baby! We need to spend more time investing in ourselves and society recognising this is okay and if I want a break that’s okay.
Pre-birth I did invest in myself through weekly Pregnancy Relaxation, a Pregnancy Massage and having my hair done. These things felt important. I needed to be the best version of me to be able to look after my child. Post-birth I have also invested in myself but not quite as much as I should have, a post-natal massage, cinema trips with my husband and baby free time with friends.
I believe this is so important! How can I be the best mum to be daughter if I don’t have a break? If I don’t feel like me? She may now be the centre of my world but everything I need and my husband needs is still as valid. We need to remember this, we aren’t just a mum, we are still whoever we are or want to be! We may be a more tired version of ourselves but we are still us!
You can see more of Emma Cottam at: