The marvel of motherhood is something that can truly stun us all. Of course, by the word marvel we do not mean that you strap on your superhero outfit and fight crime to moonlight during your maternity leave. However, seeing yourself as a superhero can absolutely get you in the right mindset when it is necessary to prepare for the responsibilities of being a parent.
Motherhood is beautiful, amazing, a gift, a privilege, something that you have likely hoped for your entire life. However, it could also be considered overwhelming, worrying, relatively scary and many other adjectives that denote that feeling of wonder and fear. This means that preparing for motherhood is a mental task as much as it is physical and even spiritual.
This is best taken care of in the infancy of your pregnancy, as of course the overall overwhelming nature of giving birth and having a child will take your own focus when the time comes. However, for now, you might focus on the following:
It can be difficult for people to feel a sense of confidence and agency. This is doubled when your pregnant emotions seem all over the shop. You will likely feel different in your body and maybe even less attractive than you are now (you aren’t though.) Some might not express their needs as well as they might, or might fall into modesty due to generally being a good person. It’s easy for the mother to not complain or moan about situations that need resolving, or to simply be a good sport about everything.
You should respect yourself to the ultimate degree. As a pregnant woman, you are the most valuable person in your family unit. You need to ensure that your needs are listened to, that you have the confidence to express them in the first place. You need to understand that while the dress size might be going up, and you might not feel as rosy or attractive as you once were, you are nothing if not more attractive. Keeping self-respect means knowing that you are beautiful as a mother and that nothing can change this. You take priority, as does the baby you are carrying. When this mindset takes hold you won’t feel ashamed in the down days, instead you’ll pleasantly enjoy the process of becoming a new mother, looking forward to it with all your might. You’ll be less self-conscious and more interested in the entire journey of your baby. It will allow you to forgive yourself for chaotic emotions or eating breakfast custard on toast for the last seven days. Now that, is a good place to start.
It’s important to know that while you may be on maternity leave, being a mother is not less of a job in any way, shape or form. You’ll need to schedule your days to ensure that the right equipment is purchased and you cater to your overall duties. After all, the house can still get messy even with a new child to love.
Hopefully, you will have a partner who can help you with this entire endeavour. For the most part though it will take time for you to come to terms with your new schedule. This schedule will see you through however, from the early days of scheduling meal times with your child, to the 6 month old schedule of napping that every young child must follow to develop well.
Scheduling well also affords you time to learn how to be a mother. Of course, most of this is experiential. It’s not as if for thousands of years mothers kept instructional manuals dictating how to read and raise children. However, these tools can be of use in certain circumstances, and if you hope to bolster your competence they might be worthwhile.
A solid schedule will also free you up time from your daily responsibilities to take some time for yourself. This concept might become alien to you after a few months, but returning back here can help you tremendously. This might be simply watching a movie with a small glass of wine, inviting a friend for a coffee date or playing that new video game system with an indulgent state of mind. No matter who you are, there is massive utility in relaxing, taking some time for yourself, and generally unfolding all of your stress. This allows you to become a better mother, and it helps you move through to another day of looking after your gorgeous child.
Expressing needs self-respect as previously listed, but it requires a little more introspection. Being a mother is hard. It’s easy to suggest that you simply ‘have confidence!’ or ‘schedule well!’ but sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. It can be very easy to fall into post-natal depression through no fault of your own. This means that you might require some specialist help.
However, if you bottle all of your emotions after this relatively stressful time, then you’ll likely never find a solution to it. This is very tragic. Taking the time to introspect about how you are feeling and what you could improve will allow you to enjoy a much healthier perspective around motherhood, and give you the tools to truly blossom in your daily tasks. After all, what good is a mother who isn’t emotionally available or even enjoys the process of raising a child?
If you have a good partner to confide in, we’d recommend doing that at every opportunity. Give them daily and hourly updates if you need to. If not, then be sure to contribute these thoughts to your Doctor or midwife, and generally stay open and available for enquiry if you hope to experience it.
With these tips in mind, you can be sure that self-expression, self-confidence and daily practicality will all combine to help you become the best mother you can be. After all, that is the mother you likely already are.