My lovely daughter is teething at the moment (does it ever stop 😩) and we’ve had some particularly difficult nights with her recently.
At 2.30am last Thursday my husband turned to me and reminded me to chill. I had been in and out of my daughters room for over three hours and was starting to loose my mind. He took over and I went downstairs and ate grapes. Random I know but I just needed space and the grapes on the kitchen side were the perfect distraction.
I took some time to myself and after a few minutes I went back upstairs. Not long later my husband (aka the baby whisperer) came back and told me she was asleep. He then said something that has been playing on my mind ever since – “You need to look after number one.”
What he meant by this is that I need to take care of myself and ask for help if I need it. Two things which I’m not very good at. You see my number one changed the moment my baby girl was born. I have put her needs before mine ever since and I will continue to do this for the rest of my life. But what I need to remember is that my little girl needs a strong and healthy mummy and she won’t get this is I don’t take care of myself too.
I know this is the case for so many mums and dads out there and I believe it’s one of the hardest acts of juggling you can face. You have this unconditional love for your little human and an animal instinct to protect and provide for them. This has its wonderful sides but it can also be bloody hard! I found it tough to vocalise this initially, as I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t coping. Becoming a mother was an absolute dream for me and I didn’t want to communicate the hard parts to anyone.
When I reflect on the first year of my daughter’s life I can see how this lack of communication caused me to fall deeper into a dark hole. I experienced a very tough labour followed by a long recovery. What followed this was episodes of anxiety attacks and a lack of control for looking after my body and brain. I wasn’t eating properly and didn’t rest and recover like I should have. I was exhausted and worried but was floating along on cloud 9. Such a strange time with polar opposite emotions.
I was consumed with being a parent and sadly this had a huge impact on my body. My immune system hit rock bottom and at some point an abnormal cell grew which my body couldn’t fight. After diagnosis I started to allow loved ones in and I slowly rebuilt the woman I had left behind in the labour room. I now feel like I’m back in my own body and luckily have people like my husband here to help keep me in check!
So here I am, feeling stronger and healthier than ever but realising that even the best version of myself needs support and time out sometimes. Here’s to guilt free parenting and a future of embracing our inner 21 year olds. I know mine is raring to get out and party! It’s about time I let her!