Erin from @thebirthtrust is a registered midwife and a mother of three. She works in a large tertiary hospital, caring for women and their families throughout the pregnancy, birth and postnatal continuum.
She’s an incredibly passionate midwife and feels honoured to work with couples during such a transformative time in their lives.
Through her midwifery practice and the educational content she provides via @thebirthtrust she endeavours to educate and empower women, enabling them to begin their transition to motherhood feeling confident and supported.
Motherhood. It’s exhilarating and breathtaking; full of joy, laughter and learning. But it can simultaneously stretch you so paper-thin that you feel like you have nothing left to give.
A few days into motherhood you’ll realise that everything you’ve learned up until that point is like the tip of an iceberg. There’s enormous how, what, when and whys beneath the surface. And for this reason navigating your way through the first few months of motherhood can be tough.
Give yourself time to settle into your new role and don’t try to rush the transition. Motherhood isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Ease your way into it and remember that you and your baby are a team. Work with one another, not against each other. All of the skills you are learning are new to your baby too. You’ve never breastfed before, just as your baby has never fed from a breast. Keep this in mind and be kind to yourself.
The first few weeks of your postpartum journey will be full of ups and downs. Preparation for early motherhood, and support during this time is key in keeping your head above water.
Your entire focus after birth should be on recovery and caring for your newborn. But, in all likelihood, you’ll let your recovery go by the wayside while you fall madly in love with your baby and pour all of your time and energy into him/her. While this is completely understandable and normal, it’s really important that at the very least, you try to prioritise the basics.
Eat, shower & sleep.
Keep things simple. Remove the pressure of ‘having it all together’ and set boundaries. It’s okay to say no to visitors and to decline invitations to social outings.
Eat well. A nutritious and balanced diet is so important postnatally. Not only to nourish your body but to establish and maintain a good breastmilk supply.
Seek professional help. If breastfeeding isn’t going as you had hoped then seek advice and help from a lactation consultant. Sometimes all you need is a fresh set of eyes.
It’s important to know the signs of Postnatal Depression (PND) and know how and where to seek help if you or your partner are struggling.
Rest and sleep when you can. Newborns are nocturnal and you will inevitably find yourself sleep deprived. To what degree varies greatly, but I can unequivocally say that you won’t be getting a full eight hours again for a while. If you’re the type of person that can’t day nap then at the very least get horizontal and rest. If you’re able to nap anytime, anywhere then take every chance you get.
Take time out. Feeling touched out and needing alone time is completely normal. Finding time for yourself and having time alone is healthy and important. It allows you to recharge and come back to your new role, refreshed and ready for whatever lies ahead.
The messy reality of motherhood is that there is going to be imperfect, falling-apart-days. The most important piece of advice I have for new mothers is that to survive these days you need to be able to ask for and accept help. Motherhood stretches and strengthens you. It isn’t something you should feel like you have to face alone. Know who your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people are and ask them for help if you need it.