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What I wish someone had told me when I was a new mom

by Tanya Kovarsky, Rattle & Mum
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Are you going through those confusing early days as a new parent, or are you a more experienced parent who thinks they could be doing a better job? I think we will always be our own worst enemies, and be more critical of us than we deserve.

As a first-time mom, I had postnatal depression and I wish I’d known then that it was all going to be okay, and that I wasn’t a terrible mother and woman. I wish I had spoken up and listened more, and understood that what I was going through was quite normal.

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If I could go back in time and tell myself something, it would be this:

Dear Tanya

You’re doing a great job looking after yourself and your baby, and well done on helping him thrive. 

You are scared that life won’t ever be the same again, and that you’ll never actually have a life again. Relax. You will. And in fact, life will be better than before. You’ll get to a point where you’ll say “My life was empty without a child” and “What mundane things did I fill my life with before?”.

You’ll still run – not as much as before, but eventually you won’t mind. Your life will be defined by different and sometimes more important things. And that’s okay.

You’re feeling a little blue that your life has changed so much. Get help. It’s normal that you’re feeling like this, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it. Chat to your doctor NOW! These feelings of regret and fear, and feeling like the worst mom in the world are irrational. And no, your newborn is not looking at you and hating you and thinking you’re ugly.

You may want the first few weeks and months to speed by but try to relish them, despite the challenges. You’ll miss them one day and realise what a gift they were, and how having your newborn fall asleep in the cradle of your arm or on your shoulder might never happen again. Development is wonderful and so is looking forward, but don’t forget the awesomeness of the now. Don’t wish it away.

You feel like a fat cow most of the day, most of which is irrational. Look how your baby is growing and thriving – that’s due to you, and the wonderful care around him. Yes, you’re a feeding machine, but you don’t look bad. Or like a dairy animal. At all.

As with everything, the tough times pass. Look after yourself and be a little gentler on yourself too. You’re doing a wonderful job. No one will tell you that, so don’t rely on it. Just know it.

Love Tanya

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