Your partner has gone back to work. It’s you, your mini-human and the four walls of your lounge. Your life is now a series of 3-hour cycles and you might start to feel like you’re losing your mind from sleep-deprivation. You crave a long sleep, a delicious and uninterrupted meal and a holiday…but none of those things are going to happen anytime soon. What you need is a team: a support network.
If you’re lucky enough to have local friends who have recently been in your position, they’ll probably be in touch to visit and will offer to help. Say YES.
Your mum might offer to come over and cuddle your little sweetie while you get 3 hours of sleep. Say YES. Even if you can’t sleep because you’re wired. Say YES to some alone time in a quiet room to do whatever you wish.
A visitor offers to cook a meal, do the dishes, hang out the washing, brush your hair. Say YES PLEASE.
Maybe you’re like me, with all kinds of support all around. But you’ve become such a self-sufficient thing that it’s really hard to ask for help, even if it’s being offered to you on a platter. Say YES. And if you’ve previously said “No thanks, I’m fine” (because that’s the polite thing to say isn’t it?), pick up the phone and say/text “Help!”
Or perhaps you find yourself relatively isolated. Maybe none of your friends have been in your position recently (I say this because parents of older children have had so much life happen in between, they’ve forgotten the appalling early days). And if you don’t have family nearby, you will need to reach out.
Your old friends are great and the good ones will stay in touch through your new reality of living in survival-mode. But you need some new friends too. You’ll soon find that everyone else is struggling with similar issues in finding their way as a new parent. And with that comes relief: it’s not just you, it’s normal, you’re ok.
Here’s where to find your new mates:
- Ante-natal class (our facilitator awkwardly didn’t do introductions, so I’m glad some of us had the ability to introduce ourselves to the other meek parents-to-be)
- Facebook – there are heaps of different groups you can join, but some of the best are secret (closed). The group where I’ve found the most support, knowledge and troubleshooting has been a group of 40 ladies from across New Zealand who were all due at the same time. We discuss everything.
- Coffee groups – different organisations run coffee groups for new mums. Once you have the confidence to leave the house, even for an hour, this will be well worth your time. Even if you only make one friend.
- Parenting programmes – we go to SPACE (haha that sounds funny) and it’s a good opportunity to connect in with other mums as well as learn how to facilitate learning and development for your babies age www.space.org.nz
Where else have you found support and made new connections?