Mental Stimulation as a new mother
I always knew motherhood would be a shock to the system and I was ready for the physical impacts of having had a baby – exhaustion, sore boobs, pain from birth, aches. However, I think I completely underestimated the mental impact. Once the fog of the first 2 weeks lifted and I was in the routine of ‘feed, burp, change, sleep, repeat’, I found I really missed using my brain. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a huge amount to think about with a newborn baby, from worrying if they are still breathing when asleep, to googling the colour of their poos (don’t do it). However, I really missed the creativity I unlocked when I was working – the problem solving, the helping people, the strategizing. I missed being asked for my advice, for thinking of different ways to tackle something and for being valued based on my input.
With speaking to other new mother’s, I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like this. Who yearned for the person they used to be as well as relishing the wonderful-ness of having giving birth to this little thing that you are still getting to know. As a society I think people tend to gloss over the hardships and focus on how lovely having a baby is. It is lovely; but it’s also blo*dy hard at the same time and these things don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
I feel like I am starting to get into a bit of a routine as I’m coming out of the new born bubble and I wanted to share some tips that helped me to stay sane in those early days.
1. Listen to podcasts/audio books – whether I’m walking round the park or putting out the washing, I always have something to listen to which allows me to think; whether that’s current affairs or true crime.
2. Spend time with people who haven’t just had a baby – although it is great to have a group of women who are in the same boat as you (the NCT whatsapp goes crazy during nighttime feeds!) it’s also good to speak with people about things other than your baby. This allows you to still feel that connection to the outside world and not just in a baby bubble
3. Get out in the fresh air everyday (come rain or shine) – having a dog is helpful for this, but I felt so much brighter after being outside. Invest in a good coat and a pair of boots!
4. Try and do something for you every day – this doesn’t have to be something hugely time consuming. It can be getting a coffee from your favourite coffee shop, having a bath, reading a few pages of book. The more you fill up your own cup, the more you will have for your baby and others around you.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – people love to feel needed, but they don’t always know what you need. Asking for help doesn’t mean you have failed as a mother, it says you are human
How did you keep mentally stimulated as a new parent?