Someone asked me recently if I had any advice (at the ripe old age of 30 and with two kids) for someone who was expecting their first baby.
Friends went through all the pratical stuff – sleep when you can, sleep when baby sleeps, swaddle cloths, blackout blinds, calpol, make loads of meals before you pop and freeze them down. Out of nowhere, was something my mum always told me, but I never really got until that very moment. “Be kind to yourself, Hannah”.
Be kind to myself. What the hell did that mean? Get a cleaner? Go out for a night out with my friends? Make time for a bath? What?
Deep beneath the surface of the overriding and overwhelming love and joy I had about my baby being born, there was this monster eating away at many of my moments of happiness. Whilst I felt this ecstasy about him being in my life, I felt like he deserved better than me. Better than anything I could offer him. I felt like I failed him. Every day. And every moment I heard my mum tell me to be kind to myself I didn’t know what she meant.
My mum kept drumming that phrase into me for 3 years until I finally twigged what she meant. I twigged it at the moment someone asked me to give advice to the new mother. Be kind to yourself means just that. Give yourself a break. Don’t be hard on yourself. You are not perfect. You are not amazing. You may have dreamt of being a mum your whole life and everyone tells you you will be a natural. You are not going to be able to do it all. You are just a person. You can only do your best. Be kind to yourself.
She is a clever lady is my mum.