I was chatting with friends yesterday about giving birth and expectations afterwards. My first child was born in hospital at 5.30pm, I was taken to the ward at 9pm and pretty much left to look after a newborn baby on my own. At that point I had zero experience of looking after a baby and was probably in shock from a medically straightforward but mentally draining birth. I kept trying to feed my poor baby Zak, who would then throw up everywhere. The poor thing probably just wanted to sleep and be left alone. After baby number two we came straight home, where unfortunately we had house guests, so were launched straight back into cooking and cleaning up for other people, whereas baby number three was by far my best birth and most relaxing experience. Hannah was born early morning, on a day when the bigger two were going to nursery which meant we had a whole day to catch up on sleep and stare lovingly at our new addition.
Our fourth little one, Charlie, was also born at home which was horrific and lovely in equal measures. I ran out of gas and air at the end, so you can probably imagine how it felt, but Charlie was born healthy and happy which is all that matters. His siblings met him within about 30 minutes of being born and were somehow completely oblivious to what had gone on shortly before! It sounds perfect, but looking back I don’t know how we did it, there was no break, no time to sit back and think ‘OMG, I just had a baby’, we were back to school, cooking, cleaning, homework duties and gym runs before the enormity of what had just happened had really hit home. Looking after four children when you’ve just had a baby and after a night of no sleep wasn’t easy at all.
When Charlie was only about four weeks old and we were in that permanently exhausted stage, to my greatest surprise one of my lovely friends met me at the school gates with a a huge portion of spaghetti meatballs and a salad that fed us all for three days. I’ve literally never been so grateful! It was one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me whilst looking after my three little ones at the same time as juggling our new born Charlie.
I can’t tell you how much we loved this gesture! Someone to have made us all enough food for the whole family during this time meant so much to me and it proves it really is the small helpful things that amount to being the best gifts ever!
Research1 from Dentinox, baby health care experts, prove this further by revealing the hardest things about being a new parent includes lack of sleep (38%), being faced with new responsibilities (14%), reduced self-confidence (10%) and the struggle of trying to lose baby weight (10%). I remember trying to take Zak and Sydney out together when Sydney was a only baby and they both wouldn’t stop crying and I didn’t even make it to the end of the road before turning back. It seems silly now, but the responsibility of keeping TWO children safe felt completely overwhelming. I felt the same the first time I drove a car with three children in and again with four. You soon get used to it, but immediately after birth when your hormones are still raging and your emotions are high, the responsibility of keeping these little people safe from harm can make new mums feel extremely anxious and isolated.
With this in mind, I was shocked to hear that Dentinox has also revealed that two thirds (65%) of new mums have been shoved in a busy environment, ignored while struggling with their pushchair, or received negative comments about their baby crying in public. It’s no wonder new mums feel this way!
I’ve been very lucky and never experienced any negativity in public, but I can imagine how upset I would have been if someone had been mean to me. It’s hard enough juggling emotions and expectations when you have a baby without people not being kind.
I truly believe that being kind is the most important thing you can do for someone else, and even the smallest act of kindness from someone is remembered and can make a huge difference to another person’s mood and outlook to the day.
According to the research, looking after little ones so new mums can enjoy a much-earned nap or shower is the kindest thing someone can offer, i’m not very good at relinquishing control so I probably wouldn’t want someone else looking after my baby, but someone doing the housework or cooking for me would have been hugely appreciated.
Generally, a little kindness goes a long way.
Dentinox is one of my tried and trusted baby brands and I’m particularly a very big fan of their cradle cap shampoo as all my children have had cradle cap quite badly. I recently bought some for Charlie and after just a couple of washes his head is looking SO much better.
Have you experienced kindness ( or unkindness ) as a new Mum?
1 2018 Research by 3Gem and Dentinox of 500 UK new mums
In association with Dentinox