Every new mum feels lost at first.
She asks a lot of questions.
She seeks support and reassurance.
I was no exception.
After giving birth to my twins, I struggled to adjust to the new life and had no idea what to do.
I didn’t enjoy being a mum and felt like a complete failure. (Eventually, I ended up suffering from postnatal depression.)
Most people I spoke to or asked for advice said ‘Don’t worry, it will get better.’
I know this came from a good place.
And it is surely great to hear that things WILL get better.
However, if you are struggling with baby blues or depression, the statement ‘it will get better’ doesn’t always feel comforting.
Especially for first-time mums.
Personally, when my boys arrived, not only did I feel like I was being thrown into deep end, but I also felt like I was being constantly pushed to the bottom despite my efforts to swim upwards.
I felt all sorts of emotions but the one that dominated the most was desperate.
I didn’t feel like a mum.
I couldn’t cope with all the changes that came with the baby.
I’ll never forget the moment when I was sitting on the bed wondering how the hell I would cope.
I was convinced that the arrival of my children meant that my life was over.
I didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. All I saw was a dead end.
So the statement ‘it will get better’ didn’t sit well with me.
I thought: ‘What does ‘better’ even mean?’
Today I know that in most cases, ‘better‘ refers to the care of the baby. People mean to say that looking after the baby would get easier over time.
But the truth is that when a mother struggles emotionally, only rarely does she need to hear that looking after a newborn will become easier, or that she will get used to it.
Personally, what I really needed to hear – and what I believe most mums who struggle need to hear – was that I would feel better.
Actually, not better – that I would feel HAPPY again!
That I won’t feel desperate every time I wake up for the rest of my life, that I will enjoy motherhood, that I will stop longing to turn back time, that I will love my new life, that I am a good mother, that I am doing a good job.
That’s what I needed to hear!
Of course, I know that people mean well when they say things like this.
They say what they believe will help the other person.
And I am incredibly grateful to everyone who was there for me and gave me hope when I needed it.
I am just saying that despite nothing but amazing intentions, the ‘it will get better’ statement might not always hit home.
Something like this would have definitely felt more comforting at the time:
‘You are not alone, mama. This is just a stage that will pass. Before you know it, you will enjoy motherhood like you always wanted and won’t be able to imagine your life without your kids ever again.’
PS. What did YOU need to hear when you became a mum? Leave your comment below, I would love to hear your experiences!
PS2. If you are really struggling to get through the first weeks and months of motherhood, then I warmly invite you to grab a copy of my book Motherhood – The Unspoken. The book reveals motherhood secrets most parents find out too late, offers plenty of support and reassurance to new mums, and helps lower the risks of postnatal depression. Now available in Kindle and paperback. Grab your copy HERE!