Letter to a Mum to Be

Dear Soon-to-be Mummy

You might be reading this on maternity leave, counting down the days until you meet your baby. Or you might be at work, taking five minutes for yourself in between busy days and the battling of tiredness, aches or nausea. 

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I’m willing to bet you’ve been feeling a whole range of emotions about becoming a mum, about bringing your baby into the world. 

Pregnancy is undoubtedly special, but if you’re also feeling daunted by the weight of responsibility and fearful of the unknown, that’s totally normal. I loved growing and carrying my babies, but the pressure I felt to get it all right was ridiculous - and this was before either of them had even arrived! Of course, these things are easier to see in hindsight, not so much when you’re in the middle of them.

So let me say from the off, don’t forget to feel proud of yourself and what your body is managing. You’re already doing so much for this little life inside of you. This is irrespective of whether you spend each day mindfully stroking your bump and doing pregnancy Pilates or whether you spend most of the time silently begging for five minutes without indigestion or a foot in your bladder.

However your pregnancy is going you’re doing great… and try to remember the same is true when your baby arrives.

People will be full of advice for you as a new mum. Some of it will be welcome, sometimes you will have even asked for it. The problem with all this advice, though, is that every baby is different - just like every adult is - so what works for one baby won’t work for another. 

And what you need to be wary of, is that if you’re tired out and your baby isn’t sleeping or feeding or burping like so-and-so’s baby, all this well-meaning advice has the potential to make you feel a bit rubbish.

Babies need parents who nourish and love them, and give them time and attention. They need their basic needs met: being fed, being cuddled, being kept rested, clean and warm and...
That is all they need.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking your new baby needs to go to multiple baby classes, have a toy shop full of toys and be in a perfect routine, but they really don’t. Putting yourself under pressure as a parent is something we all experience, but it never ever does us any good. 

While having a baby is amazing, it is also hard work. It’s a brand new experience that will change you forever in both big ways and small. You’ll be emotional, tired, uncertain and scared. The last thing you should be on top of all of this is doubtful of your abilities as a mum. Never think you should be better and never forget you are enough.

Because there is nobody else who loves your baby quite like you. 

When you start your new life together as a family, you’ll make choices - big and small - for your baby. Some of them will be as a result of your situation and some simply down to preference. Babies are raised differently because no two adults or babies share the same circumstances, personalities and lifestyles, but, thankfully, there isn’t one set way to do things.

If you breastfeed your baby it’s ok.
If you bottle feed your baby it’s ok.
If you rock your baby to sleep it’s ok.
If they settle by themselves it’s ok.
If you go to baby yoga, playgroup and sing and sign it’s ok.
If you don’t… it’s ok.
If you nap when she naps it’s ok.
If she’ll only nap while you walk the pram or hold her in a sling it’s ok.
If she’s quickly in a routine it’s ok. (Although it will change - don’t panic when it does.)
If she changes how often she feeds and sleeps from week to week or day to day it’s ok.

No matter what path you and your baby take, your only concern should be making sure it’s the one that’s right for you both.
If it’s different to how your mum did it, how Amy from baby group is doing it or how a stranger online is doing it - that’s ok. 

Be kind to you, your baby and your own little family. Because how you all feel is what matters, not the choices anyone else makes on their path. Take the advice you need, ask for help if you’re struggling and try to forget everything else. 

Throughout motherhood, you’ll have heart-bursting moments of joy set against times you feel you can’t bear another second. Your baby will be your greatest pride and your biggest accomplishment, and they will also challenge you in ways you can hardly believe. Motherhood will change you, reward you, frustrate you and fulfill you. 

But however you raise your baby and whichever path you choose to take, together you are more than enough. And that is most definitely advice worth remembering.  

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