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There are so many things that run through a new mums mind, and even if you’re an old hat at this mum business, there are some burning questions that cross your mind at all times. So I asked Leanne Hall – Integrative Psychologist and spokesperson for BabyLove – her thoughts on some of the most common ‘mum thoughts’.

Leanne, it was so lovely to meet you at the BabyLove event last week, I have a few questions that run through ALL mums minds at some point… I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  1. What’s the best way to deal with anxiety around labour and birth? It’s such a worrying thought when you haven’t been through it before AND even more so if you’ve had a distressing birth. Any tips?

This is such a normal thing to be anxious about, and it’s important to acknowledge that EVERY mum worries about this at some point! EVERY birth/labour is different, and just because you may have had a distressing experience the first time, doesn’t mean it will happen again. Talk to your midwife/specialist ask LOADS of questions. These are the people to listen to, not the next door neighbor or work colleague who had a horrible experience. Have faith in your amazing body, and remember that thoughts are just thoughts….they aren’t “facts”. Just because you think or fear something will happen, does NOT mean it will happen. It’s also useful to remind yourself of how many women deliver babies every day around the world…..our bodies are DESIGNED for this stuff!

  1. Everyone tells me to just choose the advice that suits me, with so many opinions flying around,  how do I know what is going to suit me?

In short, you won’t until you try it! As much as it’s sometimes helpful to receive advice, I personally think too much can be harmful! (and opinions are very rarely helpful!) Everyone is different, every birth is different and every baby is different. Take it all with a grain of salt, and file each piece of advice away. There is no “right” or “wrong”. Each time you pull out a new “file” assess whether it feels right. If it doesn’t, then put in back in the cabinet and pull out the next “file”. Eventually you will find one that “fits”.

  1. How do you know if you have post-natal depression? Is there a definite line or what are the tell-tale signs?

Post natal depression (PND) is very different to the normal post baby blues that 4 out of 5 women get. The difference is that while the “blues” typically lasts for about a week after the birth, PND becomes progressively worse, and often appears 3-4 weeks after the birth. While both are characterized by feeling irritable, moody, tearful, exhausted. PND is also associated with anxiety – worrying about the safety of the baby, and feeling guilty (irrational guilt).

  1. What are your top tips on dealing with mothers guilt?
  • Accept it’s normal (with the exception of the irrational and distressing guilt associated with PND).
  • Talk to your support network, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Seeking support and reassurance is an important coping skill.
  • KNOW the difference between feeling guilty and being a good mum (they are NOT related!)
  • KNOW that we all make mistakes, and babies/kids are super resilient.
  • Recognise that YOUR needs are important. If your needs are consistently unmet, you cannot be the best mum you can be. A content mum = a happy baby!

Do you have any questions that run through your mind constantly? SHARE with us in the comments below.

Image source: Shutterstock

  • Yes these are great questions!

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  • I needed to hear this when I was 21 and had my first child. Argh, it was not a great experience.

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  • Great advice. Bringing a baby home is terrifying. I was lucky to have amazing support from the hospital, my doctor, family and our MHN.

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  • Great information here. I was so overwhelmed when I brought my daughter home

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  • I always tell new parents to nod and smile when “helpful” people offer advice, then do it the way you are happiest!

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  • I personally think new Mums go home from hospital too soon, some even before 36 hours. Can you really tell that soon whether or not your baby is feeding correctly? A couple of home visits a few days apart is not enough if there is genuine problems. 30 years ago standard was 4 or 5 days before Mum and baby went home. Longer if it was a c-section. New Mum and Dad had the option of going out for a couple of hours the night before going home. Most took advantage of that.

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  • Great article! What great advice

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  • Thank you! I am not a new mum but after 7 years i feel like it with our 2nd baby!

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  • It wasn’t till we left the hospital with our bundle of joy that I suddenly thought “Now what?”. When we got home it was as if I instinctively knew what to do.

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  • Only a list of 4!?!?!? I know I had way more questions then this when I was pregnant and a new mum.

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  • This is all very sensible advice.

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  • What a beautiful article, Jacinta! :-)
    When I was recently a new mum, I often wondered if I had to follow all the advises I received. Everyone had his own ideas. The same in parenting books. At the end I decided to read as much as possible and then just follow what I thought was right for my daughter. We didn’t have any family around, it was just the three of us. I think we managed it quite well. :-)

    Reply

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