As the demands of early parenthood come thick and fast, it’s easy to go with the flow and act on instinct or impulse. But while there are no hard and fast rules for parenting, and mistakes are part and parcel of it all – there is certainly one way to reduce stress and anxiety if I may share: Be Mindful.
Being mindful during every step of my parenthood journey means being realistic with myself and my surroundings. By understanding the reality of parenting and the demands from my job, I was able to develop a vision of the kind of mother, doctor, friend and colleague I want to be. It is with the support from close ones, that I am able to actualise and fulfil my vision and aspirations.
Of course, for a new mother, there are many things we need to be mindful of. Here are some tips that can help you nurture a mindset that’s right for your motherhood journey.
Be mindful of who’s in charge
As a first-time parent, you will be bombarded with ‘expert opinions’ from everyone. And many of these opinions may actually be very valuable. But don’t forget that every parent is different, every child is different, and no one knows your child as intimately as you. So if you are convinced that your child is ready to self-soothe, or if on-demand feeding is what you prefer, then go for it. Make a conscious, informed decision based on what you believe is right and stick to it.
Be mindful of your support network
With the above said, it is also important to identify a group of people to share your burdens and plans with. Parenthood is not a journey that one should go on alone. But keep this group lean; remember, you don’t want to be overwhelmed with too much attention and information. Beyond the usual suspects like your spouse and friends or family, don’t forget to include your doctor. Your doctor offers a wealth of knowledge and scientific best practices that you should look to tap on regularly throughout your journey – not just when something goes wrong.
Be mindful of your own needs
The one thing I cannot stress enough, is that parents need time off. Because, it’s only when you’re properly nourished and recharged, that you can give your baby the best care possible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending some time to relax, get back in shape or reconnect with your hobbies.
In summary, here are a few things which I think new mothers should be mindful about:
● Have a vision – draw a clear picture of what you want your parenting journey to look like, discuss with your partner and doctor so they can support you realistically.
● Get advice from your doctor for anything medical-related – not the internet or friends. Leave no room for doubt.
● Me-Time is just as important as baby time! Always take some time out for yourself to recharge and recuperate.
● Educate yourself before the baby’s arrival - attend pre-natal course to learn the fundamentals of handling a newborn to give yourself a confidence boost when the baby arrives.
● Avoid reacting instinctively. Evaluate all the information available, take some time to think and then respond measuredly.
● Don’t compare your parenthood to someone else’s. This will manifest into a toxic mindset which will deplete your energy and confidence.
● Avoid taking tips from outside sources if dealing with a newborn. Your PD is your most credible advisor.
● Don’t wait to send your newborn to the A&E if he/she experiencing a fever. Fevers in newborns can be potentially serious and they need to be monitored immediately.
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