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15 Things No One Will Tell You About Motherhood, So I Will

15 Things No One Will Tell You About Motherhood, So I Will

My son, Coby, was born nine months ago and I thought before he was born, I was going to become a lady-of-leisure. I was in for a big shock. I guess before your baby is born you are just focusing on being pregnant and preparing for the birth; that seems as much as you can handle. Needless to say, my idea of us sitting, watching films together, snuggled up on the sofa didn’t quite work out. However, in my defense, I think many people underestimate how much work it is when you become a parent for the first time. Even when you try and explain to many people, they still think you are on some kind of extended vacation. So, what unexpected things about motherhood might you find?

1. You will have absolutely no time to yourself.

As soon as your baby wakes up in the morning, your working day starts, and it finishes when he goes to sleep at night. Even if he naps during the day, you will have baby-oriented tasks to do, such as sterilizing milk bottles and pacifiers and washing their clothes. Expect the washing machine to be on almost daily as the baby vomits and poos their way through many sets of clothes. You will spend the day thinking about baby sensory classes you can attend or local playgroups.

2. You will be extremely exhausted.

During the first year of your baby’s life you can expect to be extremely exhausted daily. For the first few months of their life, they don’t have any concept of day and night, so they might get up to play for hours in the night, and you can expect to be woken up in the night for the first six months when they get hungry. At around six months, they can start to sleep during the night, but then they start teething and tend to wake up during the night again. This interrupted sleep plays havoc with your energy levels.

3. Breastfeeding is tough.

When you attend parenting classes, you think that breastfeeding is going to be so easy. In reality it can take up to six weeks to learn how to breastfeed your baby. If you are finding it impossible to breastfeed, you can express milk for your baby. That is very easy to do and ensures he is getting the best milk possible.

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    4. You have to manage their sleeping pattern.

    My son struggled to sleep for the first six months during the day. I just thought he didn’t need to sleep; that was just him. However, after some experimenting I found out what he needed to feel comfortable sleeping during the day. Now most days, he sleeps at specific times during the day. For him, he doesn’t sleep in his stroller for more than twenty minutes, so he needs to be at home in his cradle in order to sleep for extended periods of time. He also needs a dream feed first and to be in his sleeping bag. If any of these factors are messed up, you can forget any daytime napping.

    5. All babies are different.

    What works for one baby doesn’t work for another baby, so you need to find out by trial and error what works best for your baby. For example, my son sleeps best in his cradle during the day whereas a friend’s baby only sleeps in her stroller.

    6. You constantly worry.

    Maybe it is your hormones, but you imagine the worst situations and worry your baby is going to be affected by them. You feel extremely protective of this little bundle you have been looking after for some time as they are completely dependent on you for everything.

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    7. Your priorities completely change.

    You might be surprised how much your priorities change once your little one arrives. If you are planning to go back to work quickly after your baby is born, you might change your mind as you realize that there is more to life than your next pay check.

    8. You can’t imagine life before they existed.

    Becoming a parent completely changes your entire life as you become focused on their needs rather than your own. Once this is your new reality, it is hard to remember your old life.

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      9. The relationship with your partner has to change.

      Once your baby is born you have to share responsibility for looking after this other person in an equal way. If you are at home with baby all day, your partner has some responsibility to share the load when he or she is not at work. Then the split should be 50:50. You have to work at establishing who does what so you are getting enough support. Most new mums struggle with this to some degree.

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      10. You gain a new appreciation for other parents and their babies.

      Before your baby is born you probably didn’t notice babies as much as you now do, and maybe you felt irritated by babies who cried on the bus. Now when a baby cries on the bus, you think it is so cute. You find yourself having a conversation with a stranger on the bus about your baby’s sleeping patterns. Other mums are a great source of inspiration and advice.

      11. You get secretly competitive.

      Even if you are a completely non-competitive person you still try and work out how your baby is doing in comparison to other babies of the same age. And you try and avoid the new mums who are very competitive and want to prove their babies are superior to yours.

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        12. You will be the most unfit you have ever been.

        Following the birth of your baby, your body feels like it is most unfit it has ever been. Your muscles are stretched so far during pregnancy and you generally put on extra weight for breastfeeding. It is quite scary how different your body feels. However, you need to be patient and persevere. Realistically it can take time to get your body back to its pre-pregnancy shape, but that’s okay.

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        13. You are not in control of everything.

        You read all the books about becoming a new parent and think it is possible to schedule and plan everything around your new baby. However, you cannot even control when your baby sleeps and what they eat. You can try to influence them but you cannot control it.

        14. It can be isolating.

        If you are used to working in a social environment, it can be hard to be at home looking after your baby alone. This makes it important to get out every single day, even if you go out for a quick walk round the park.

        15. You love your baby more than you knew was possible, and this makes everything worth it!

        This one speaks for itself.

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        Last Updated on December 9, 2019

        5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

        5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

        Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

        Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

        Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

        1. Get Rationally Optimistic

        Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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        This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

        In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

        The result: no more mental stress.

        2. Unplug

        Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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        How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

        It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

        Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

        3. Easy on the Caffeine

        Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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        Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

        4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

        That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

        How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

        • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
        • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
        • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

        While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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        5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

        This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

        The result: mental stress will be gone!

        So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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        Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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