If youíre having your first baby after relocation to a new place far away from your family and friends, youíll have the challenges of being a new mom at a different level. Theyíre harder. Simply because you donít know manyó if not at alló people in your new place who can give you some help.
But donít be discouraged. Read my experience and take lessons from it so that youíll have an amazing start as a new mom.
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1. Constant exhaustion is the biggest challenge of a new mom
I have two boys. And in the first six-week of their lives, they both gave me the most challenging time in my life. Because in those first six weeks after they were born, I was constantly lack of sleep that I was always exhausted and felt like a zombie during the day.
The problem is we, the moms have endless things to do during the day. Things, like washing the babyís clothes (and ours ?), cleaning and tidying up the house, cooking, ironing, etcetera, will always be there for us to do. Whether weíre tired or not. Theyíre just a part of challenges faced by mothers anyway, especially new moms.
2. Feeding problem
Feeding newborn is one of the biggest reasons for new moms having sleep deprivation. Because your bundle of joy only has a little tummy that she can only feed so much to last for a few hours. So at night, when you think youíre having a good nightís sleep, your baby will cry for more feeding. In every two to three hours. As much as we want to complain and change this feeding pattern, Iím afraid we canít go against nature.
3. Not enough help
Missing my own family and my old friends really hit me hard when I had my first baby. Because I was physically exhausted due to 34 hours of labor pain followed with C-section that the first few weeks after childbirth I was really struggling. Having someone that I could freely ask for help was such an impossible luxury. Even though all my extended family (from husband) is nice to me, I didnít feel comfortable to just ask them for help. So, constant sleep deprivation, housework, cooking, and everything else whilst I was trying to recover from postpartum C-section had taken me down to a very long-baby blues which in hindsight it couldíve been postpartum depression.
4. Disorganized house
Three things above are the main reasons for a new mom who is away from family and friends of having a disorganized house after her first newborn arrived. In my case, my house was almost always untidy because I simply couldnít do much to clean and tidy up the house due to my C-section stitches. Lifting and taking the vacuum cleaner upstairs could only be done when my husband around. The worst thing was my husband used to work on shifts which include night shifts. So we couldnít clean the house as often as we wanted. I remember I used to feel upset looking at the house but I couldnít do much about it.
5. Resentment towards your husband
I blame the hormonal change and sleep deprivation for this challenge. Because really, when you only sleep for literally a few hours every night, and your hormone is kicking about, your poor husband will be the only one you can take your frustration out on. Youíd probably think that itís your husbandís fault in the first place that put you in your misery of being a new mom. Although itís technically true since the baby is the result of your husbandís work ?.
6. Anti Social
Being always tired and frustrated about things out of my control had made me lose interest to meet people. Because I found it hard work to meet up with my new friends. And after looking after my baby, all I wanted to do is to rest and be myself. Also, my low mood caused me impatient, that I used to get irritated easily although I would keep my annoyance to myself. Instead, I would just avoid people. Very bad, isnít it?
7. Feel trapped and isolated
This feeling is real. When you have a newborn who needs your constant attention, youíll feel trapped and isolated. And as a new mom, youíre eager to do things the right way that youíll find you have nothing else to do apart from looking after your baby. After one week or a few, all you want to do is screaming. But you canít. Your baby will be upset if you scream ?. So you can only cry. Go on sister, just cry. Itís okay.
Studies said that four out of five women who gave birth experience baby-blues within a few weeks after childbirth. So itís normal to feel down and overwhelmed when you just have a baby. But I found that my baby-blues were more intense compared to others (i.e. my nieces and friends who have their families and friends around). Maybe not only life change as a new mom was overwhelming, but it happened just when I thought I settled in my new life after relocating to the UK. So, it was like one big change after the other. Plus, I had no one who would come to just help me, or who I can freely ask for help.
9. Low self-esteem
Having low self-esteem was the least I expected after childbirth. I thought by having your baby, your new life would be complete. And that everything would be cheerful and joyful when your bundle of joy arrived. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
The physical exhaustion, frustration over being unable to keep on top of the house chore, the isolation, and the loneliness were just too much to bear. All these caused my self-esteem by going down below zero.
A little piece of advice to prepare yourself for challenges of being a new mom
Towards the end of your pregnancy, try the best you can to get most things done around the house, and rest as much as you can. Although it can be tricky because youíll have a big bump that youíll find it difficult to lie down and sleep. But try your best to rest every now and then. Just chill. You can try the maternity pillow or try to sit up with pillows surround you and a headrest on your neck. Perhaps that can do the trick. I did this trick when I was expecting my second baby. If you need more ideas and inspo on what you need to do before your baby arrives, you can check here. Hopefully, youíll be more prepared.
Whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed the baby, talk to your partner, or your friend, or extended family. Tell them that you need help during the day to feed the baby so that you can catch up with your sleep. Try to pump your milk and store them in the fridge so itíll be ready for the next feeding when someone around to help you. Even if you can only get help 2 or 3 times a week, itís better than nothing.
We all know that we should eat healthily. But even if we try to do so it’s not guaranteed that we have the recommended nutrition. So try to take vitamins and supplements, throughout the pregnancy and after childbirth.
Last but not least, donít be silent. Speak up and ask for help. Although you may only know a handful of people, try to talk to them. Ask if itís possible for them to give you a hand. Maybe in doing some house chores, or cooking some food for you, or even to look after your baby so that you can rest. If you do get some help, donít forget to return the kindness though ?.
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