After the doctor’s confirmation and the celebrations, reality hits: ‘you will become a mother’… for real this time… Everything will change, since a new era is now starting. It is not unreasonable if thoughts like: ‘I don’t know what to do’, ‘how will I cope?’, ‘I don’t know if I want so many responsibilities’, ‘maybe I’m not ready’, go through the mind of an expectant mother.
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and that no one expects you to know everything from scratch. There is no instruction booklet that guarantees your child will turn out ‘normal’. There is a lot of emphasis on what goes wrong and usually the blame is on the mothers. This causes stress and anxiety, having to raise psychologically healthy children, and the slightest chance of them doing something wrong makes mom’s job even more difficult. They forget what it means to be a mom, to enjoy it and have fun, since the responsibilities and expectations are so many that if they don’t manage to do everything (!) they feel like they’ve let everyone down and are incapable, resulting in a feeling of inferiority self-esteem.
What can I do;
• Understand that you are not superwoman!
When we experience such life-changing changes, we need the support of our partner (or other loved ones). After all, he is his child too. It’s not bad to say that you don’t know what to do, that you’re afraid, that you’re tired, that you can’t do it anymore. Share the responsibilities. Surely he is going through the same thing. Talk openly about your feelings and support each other. You are on the same team, not rivals. Ask for advice from others who have been in your position, what was helpful and what wasn’t. Don’t let anyone make you doubt your abilities and your worth.
•A baby can learn a lot from its mom.
Listen to your baby and respond to his messages/needs. This will help you build a relationship of trust with him, and improve your self-confidence. Expect to make mistakes until you understand and start speaking the same ‘language’ as your baby. In the end, you will understand what he is thinking and he will respond to your care. You will communicate and get along more easily, since the baby will not get upset or feel frustrated. He will trust his mom and need her guidance on what is right and wrong.
•Take care of yourself.
Don’t neglect yourself and your needs. Find time to do something that pleases and calms you, even if it means having someone else watch the baby. You are the most important person in your child’s life. It depends on you and it needs you. He understands when you are not well and because of his connection with you it is also affected, he becomes more nervous and anxious. You are his window into this world and his ‘translator’ of what is happening inside him. His ideas and beliefs then begin to develop. Watch how you behave and the example you set for him. Most likely he will do the same when he grows up. It doesn’t matter if everything is not perfect, because your relationship is based on love and trust, the infant will be able to tolerate mistakes.
Calm down, get ready for a special trip and enjoy your child.
At Counselling Kenya, our team of dedicated mental health specialists use tried and tested methods that address the root cause mental wellness issues. To make an appointment with one of our licensed therapists, call 0741123944