The things I would tell myself before I had children
From the Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation promotes good mental health for all. Part of this is supporting new parents.
Emi Watson is a mum of two and a Digital Advertising Sales Manager. In this extract from her blog on the Mental Health Foundation website, she reflects on the changes she has experienced since becoming a mum.
"Three years ago I had no children of my own and had never even held a baby until my cousin gave birth ten weeks before I did. That was when I suddenly realised that I was soon going to be sharing my life and home with an unpredictable and confusing new resident. I thought having two clingy cats would prepare me. I was wrong. Saying the beginning of parenthood was difficult would be an understatement. So what would I tell 'childless Emi'?
It's okay to worry that you're going to lose all the things you love. They're just going to be replaced by other, cooler things that you love instead. You're still going to enjoy all those things but you'll put them lower in your list of priorities and, oddly, not by force either.
Don't judge mums. It's rude and rubbish and just shows how totally naive you are to this parenting thing. Right now you look at toddlers with dummies and think 'why did they ever give them those?' and see people gently trying to verbally prise their children from the floor of Marks and Spencers where they've thrown themselves after being denied a solitary Percy Pig and think 'just pick them up and walk out'.
Your job will become less stressful. Having children puts things in perspective. The stressful sales job has actually got much less stressful despite doing the same things because I suddenly know where it comes in my list of priorities.
Don't read anything about 'mummy-wars' - how people feel about bottle vs breast, cosleeping vs cots, buggys vs babywearing, etc. This is because the people around you will support your decisions and at the end of the day that's what matters.
You may feel low for a bit. One of the hardest things I'd have to tell myself is that you're going to feel very low for a while after having your first child. You're going to look around at everyone enjoying their kids, including your far more relaxed partner, and wonder why you sometimes wish you could get away from it all. Lots of people are having those thoughts too. The far more relaxed early days of babyhood with the second will make you realise how very unwell you were and that's pretty scary.
"In theory, I knew most of these things in fact but living them and actually realising them for yourself is the beginning of the road to becoming a parent. Despite other people's urgings it's okay to not enjoy and savour every little second because frankly some of it is hard and rather rubbish but the times you look back on and remember vividly will be among the best moments of your life."
Read her full blog here.
Want to help new parents locally? You can download free resources here which advise them and you can also use to advertise your parent and child group.
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From the Mental Health Foundation, 31/01/2017