Looking back and forward

With Aidens second birthday fast approaching I've been thinking about what kind of mother I have been and have become...

I wish I could go back to the moment I found out I was pregnant and give myself some advice and save myself a lot of stress and unnecessary worry.

- stop "googling". There will always be things that worry new mums; strange baby poop, odd baby rashes, babies who don't sleep, cry too much, don't take bottles, won't eat baby food, are late crawlers, walkers, talkers... And going on-line can help (if you end up in the 'right' places). But stumble upon the wrong blog or forum and it is easy to convince yourself that you are the worst, most incompetent mother that has ever lived.

source.

- the same goes for Facebook and emails from well-meaning friends. Please believe me that just because one baby sleeps through the night at 4 weeks of age, and yours doesn't (even still at almost 2 years of age) that you are not a bad mother. Just because one mother takes perfectly made-up and dressed photos with her angelic children and expensive furniture in the background, and you haven't put on makeup or shaved your legs in months... You are not doing anything wrong.

- take more pictures with your baby!!!!! I have hundreds of pictures of baby Aiden. He looks different back then, chubbier, less hair, bluer eyes... But he doesn't really look smaller, because I just zoomed in on him. I wish I had more pictures of me holding him. So I could remember how tiny he was, and how easy it was to hold him in one hand, in one arm, for him to sleep on my lap or on my chest.

But I didn't take pictures like that because I felt fat, unkempt, tired and ugly.

Now when I see a photo of 'that' me, the first two things I notice are the glow (despite not having ANY sleep, I radiated this happiness of new motherhood!!!) and the boobs! Oh boy those boobs! Wish I had more pics of them haha :)

- you don't have to prove anything to anyone. I am still guilty of this. Not asking for help and then complaining that I am exhausted or miserable or overwhelmed. Despite feeling lonely a lot if the time I am not alone! There are increasing numbers of English-speaking doctors, therapists, mother`s groups and hairstylists in Japan. Even if there are none in your area, there are plenty online. PLEASE take advantage of them. Talking casually to just one mother about my lack of sleep when Aiden was 13 months old changed my whole outlook on sleep, breast-feeding and weaning. She was a god-send!

- ask your husband for more help. My father told me once that men are basically useless and if you want anything from them you have to spell it out clearly and concisely to them. I never did (until very recently), and just hoped stupidly that hub would offer to change diapers, put baby down for naps, calm him down when he cried, take him off my hands while I slept... and then I was so upset when he didn`t. You have to ask for help (unfortunately). I wish I had known that earlier. Just do it. It might be hard if you are stubborn like me, but in the end that extra 5 minutes in the shower is TOTALLY worth it!

There are lots of things I would like to change about the last 2 years, but... 

that being said, I AM very proud of myself! Raising a child is no easy task; and raising one in a foreign country without the close support of friends and family, and English resources is tough for sure. Aiden is a bright, happy, healthy, strong child and there is nothing more a mother could ask for!

Comments

  1. Reading the blog, you seem like you're doing a great job, Aiden certainly looks like a healthy, happy boy in your pictures.
    I think a lot of this advice works in all situations. We convince ourselves that we're doing it all wrong, when it is all happening as it should.

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  2. What a great post! I'm not a mother but I can see how difficult it can be. You seem to be doing a wonderful job and Aiden looks like such a happy baby! I can't wait to be a mother!

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  3. Such a great, thoughtful post Fran, with good advice too! I will have to remember this for someday in the future when I become a mother.
    Jill

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