I know I know, there is a study for everything!
Just like I say about trial experts, you can always find one to say what you want. With that being said, I believe this study by Nurofen for Children is relevant and helpful to the new mothers out there.
According to Nurofen, “First-time mothers are ‘lost, lonely and bewildered’ for a year after baby’s birth.” That can be true. However, if you are a first time mother, do not fret, others have been where you are and you will make it. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
This study found:
• 65 percent of first-time mothers find initial 12 months incredibly stressful (no kidding).
• Some 52 percent said negative aspects of parenthood outweighed the positive.
• They describe first year as ‘chaotic’, ‘tiring’ and ‘stressful’ (very true).
• New mothers’ confidence increases at around 11 months.
Yes, the first year is stressful, yes you are dealing with hormone changes and, yes, you are sleep deprived, there is no denying that unless you have round-the-clock nannies to help with everything!
However, I find it shocking that the majority believe the negative outweighs the positive! In fact, the words “lost, lonely and bewilderment” were used. It is true that a mother’s (and to some extent, a father’s) world is turned upside down, and you never quite realize that until you have had the baby, yet to say it is mostly negative is sad. This is a time a mommy should embrace because this time is when the baby needs you the most. At no other time in your life will you be so important, needed, loved and hugged!
It makes sense that things get better when a baby turns 1, no surprise there. By that time the mommy’s body, if not returned to pre-pregnancy weight and shape, has regulated somewhat with the hormonal changes. Additionally, mommies now know what their baby needs, what and when the baby eats, how to operate a stroller and car seat, when nap time is and what is really needed in the diaper bag. In other words, mommies are starting to figure things out.
Before we became pregnant, many of us had found our place in life, or at least we thought we had. We had confidence in what we did, who we were and knew how to take care of ourselves. When a baby comes, we realize that we do not know how to do everything and we find that hard to accept.
This is especially true if you were a professional and/or held down a full-time job. All of a sudden we think we need to be superwoman and handle everything perfectly.
The truth is that we cannot and we need help. I suggest that it is the mommies who do not reach out for help that the “lost, lonely and bewildered” terms apply to.
With my first, the first couple months were easy because he, like most babies, slept and ate the majority of the time. After that, it became more difficult to determine what he wanted, why he was crying and whether that 101 degree temperature was normal!
Things were much easier with my second but even then I did not know all the answers. I Googled things a lot, I surfed WebMD and asked my mother, girlfriends and doctor a lot of questions. I think it was because I was not scared to ask questions that I did not feel the lost, lonely and bewildered feelings.
The study found that mothers would like to have an instruction booklet to answer the following questions:
1. Why the baby cries.
2. How to cope with sleepless nights.
3. The sheer responsibility of being a parent.
4. Whether to let them “cry themselves out.”
5. How to get baby settled into a routine.
6. How to recognize when baby is ill and not just grumpy.
7. How to juggle the house-cleaning with looking after baby.
8. Whether you should be querying things with a doctor/health visitor.
9. Knowing that mums in the same position may only be appearing to cope.
10. How to cook a meal while looking after baby.
Yes, that would have been AWESOME! But, unfortunately, there isn’t one, which is why friends and family are so important.
The take-away is this: It is okay to ask for help, whether its in person, on the phone or online. The community of parents and first0time parents is huge and mostly loving so reach out and you might be the one that ends up helping another mommy out there.