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How did you adjust to becoming a mum?(12 Posts)
My baby recently turned 1 and I still feel like a complete alien. I have had some health problems since giving birth which have now hopefully resolved. I also found adjusting to motherhood really hard. My daughter is great but I have always found it incredibly hard. She is such an intense baby! Anyway, I don't recognise myself anymore.
So I still don't feel like the old, pre-baby me. I feel completely chewed up and spat out by the whole process. I feel drained and exhausted. I feel unattractive, unsexy and unmotivated with life. I feel isolated and lonely, I don't feel like the mums I speak to relate to my experience.
How long did it take for you MN mums to start to regain a sense of the old you? Or did you write this off and accept that things change? What helped you adjust to becoming a mum?
Physically - this might not be what you want to hear, depending on your situation, but for me it was losing the baby weight and getting fit. I felt alright a few months after the birth I suppose, but but by 9 months post birth I had lost all the weight and was fitter and slimmer than I had been before and felt (and looked) really good.
Mentally - I never had PND or anything and had a really 'easy' baby in lots of ways, but I don't think i'll ever be the same again. In some ways that's good - im more patient and less selfish than I was, but in lots of ways it's not so good. i just don't have the 'zest for life' that i used to have. I'm worn out (doesn't help that I'm 30 weeks pg with DC2 mind you), I just don't look forward to things the same way and I often feel stressed. I'm just not as much fun as I used to be. I don't know if, how or when this will ever change.
Disclaimer: i love my son more than anything, he is amazing and I have clearly chosen to have another so it's not all bad!
Mainly mental for me, it was I felt like I lost my identity for a while. I had my dd at 37 so my whole life had been about my career. Getting back to work made me feel myself again and then I did feel like a better mother. Felt like my time with her was so less strained and I could really give myself. The physical stuff I didn't battle with much apart from the c section recovery.
Please don't think you are alone - motherhood is HARD! I genuinely believe that the people that says it's all sweetness and roses are telling fibs.
I struggled physically for quite a while - I think it took a good 9 months to lose the majority of the weight, still trying to get the last bit off and my DD is 2.5. My body has definitely changed, hormones etc and my skin and hair are still terrible.
Mentally I REALLY struggled until I went back to work when my DD 7 months old. But to be honest there are still times when I struggle mentally. I don't mean to sound completely negative because I absolutely adore my daughter and wouldn't change it for the world - I just don't think I was prepared for the changes it would have on our lives in general.
I still don't 100% feel like I did before but I am accepting now that I don't think I ever will - because I am a mummy and my DD comes first.
My DD2 is 1 tomorrow and she is a very intense baby too. Im still drained and definitely do not feel 'sexy' in any way shape or form.
Im glad this year is over and know it will get gradually easier from here on in.
Your life will obviously never be the same as your pre-baby life, but you and your child will adjust. The baby stage is so completely intense, you dont get much time to think about yourself. Once your child starts to become more independent you will get more time to 'breathe' and get a bit of headspace to find yourself again.
My youngest is 4 and I still often feel like this and then guilty and selfish for feeling it.
But I've realised that I've been in a bit of a negative mindset and I'm taking steps to change things. For me this is trying to get to the gym more
at all to address my body and trying to let go of guilty thoughts when I take time for me.
Obviously there's a limit to this because the DC will always come first but I'm starting to see that if I'm happy my relationship is better and this is good for everyone.
For me, getting back to work was what helped me get a bit of "myself" back. I found being at home with a baby extremely hard, I couldn't really adjust to it.
On my second, I knew that, and chose to go back after 5 months of ML
But I love my kids to bits, and am delighted that I have them - I've adjusted my work schedule to balance things between work & home a bit better, but I definitely need the work element to feel well
Thanks for the replies. Glad I'm not alone in what I've been feeling. I also agree with going back to work, I returned when DD was 9 months and I think it has really helped :-)
My DD is now 2.6 and I'm getting back to my old self again. Things that helped:
Her getting older and more independent so I worry less
Getting back to work
Her being able to actually communicate her needs rather than crying incessantly as she did when she was a baby.
Revisiting old hobbies
Seeing friends without children being around! So important.
Realising that I didn't have to be constantly partaking in baby activities and it's ok to take DD out shopping or to a café for lunch- in fact this is better IMO as it teaches DD about real life situations whereas soft play and sensory classes can be over stimulating. Day to day life teaches them so much more!
Reading about grown up stuff. I don't want to spend my spare time reading about parenting for example.
Trusting other people to take care of DD so that I get some time out.
Giving more responsibility to DH, this involves letting him screw up from time to time! ;)
Thanks system- real practical things to consider. Absolutely agree with more responsibility to DH and letting him work things out although my DH works a ridiculous number of hours. I'm also looking forward to DD being able to communicate a bit more. I'm sure it won't resolve the whinging but she may be a little less frustrated. We try and get out for a walk most days but we're mega skint and live in the arse end of nowhere so not much else to do this time of year without spending £££!
I like the idea of reading grown up stuff, think I'll pull a novel out for evenings. I did talk to DH yesterday about upping hours to full time but it isn't fair on Dd to put her in nursery full time as it wouldn't bring in any extra money after childcare :-(
Anyway, I think I need to be patient and take the advice that works for me! Thanks
Slowly. Very slowly.
I think DS was 4 before I properly lost the alien feeling you described. Although there was a significant step up in terms of feeling better when I went back to work when he was 2 and DH & I started sharing the parenting responsibilities more evenly.
After 4, with his significantly reduced dependence on me, it was on the up and up all the way.
He's 16 now, I can't pin point the moment I totally felt like me, a real person, again (but better, with added patience and other good stuff) , but it was a long time ago.
My coping strategy was to get through the next day. In retrospect I think I should have gone to the quack to see if there was anything they could have done to help. Not sure if it was a less obvious form of PND, or just a perfectly normal transistional phase that felt very odd to be in. But I didn't like it much.
Think the "tired to the bone" reality didn't help much. It may have contributed to a sort of altered thinking.
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