No matter how well prepared you think you are, chances are parenthood hit you like a ton of bricks. It took me a year or so to come out the other side, my daughter having spent some time in special care, me getting to know tiredness like a BFF, struggling with my husband to keep a relationship on the right side of Argument Central, discovering the joys of colic, and finally finding respite in a baby who LIKES sleeping. I also started &Breathe Postnatal. And through all of that, I wondered how on earth I was supposed to make things a little bit better for all involved. Parenthood is a shock, your identity changes and you learn a lot, bloody fast. Here are some things that helped me get through it.
1) GET A GOAL
Besides trying to keep your baby alive! And I’m not talking about slimming back down your lovely baby tummy either. This is about spending time on your relationship with your partner. Try to have one night a week where you manage to eat together as a couple or you cook rather than turning to the takeaway menu, or you manage to have a 15 minute conversation rather than the passing grunt or squabble. Longer term, think about putting a date in the diary for a trip away (either as a family or a couple) and work towards it, it’s an achievement and a reward!
To your friends, to the bag-eyed fellow mum in the coffee shop, to online groups, to your other half! Chances are, they know exactly how you feel, especially if they’re going through it too. There are so many groups out there now that are more than just singing nursery rhymes in drafty church halls (although, believe me, that has a special place in my heart too!) Not one near you? Create your own! Even if it’s only getting some posh tea and cakes round someone’s house – at least you can enjoy them together and not have to worry about baby sicking up just as the waiter’s pouring a cup out.