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July 27, 2016

We asked five Kiwi mums to share how motherhood has changed their lives, and what advice they would give to new mums embarking on the journey.

Anna, 38

With my first baby I physically felt like my old self at 18 months after birth, and then emotionally after three or four years. With the second it was quicker as there was less stress and I could enjoy baby more. My first baby taught me to protect my family – this little person relies on me for everything! My second baby taught me to open my heart and to also learn patience. I am more relaxed and let things go, and feel more protective and loving as a person.

Advice for new mums: With both babies no-one gave me advice and so I had no idea what I was in for with my first. I’d say to new mums, over prepare and don’t try and wing it, especially if you have not grown up around babies in your family and don’t have that handed-down knowledge. Educate yourself and become an expert in pregnancy, birthing and babies.

Yavanna, 36

It stops being about you, your focus changes and I am now constantly filled with overwhelming love. This makes me get up in the night, live with not much sleep, want to do anything to make them smile and anything to make their lives better. I have changed ‘I’ for ‘them’ as the focus of my life and I am happy to.

Advice for new mums: Accept all help, do whatever you can to make the experience easier.  Don’t compete to get the best parent award and forgive yourself when you screw up! Enjoy it and take as many videos as possible as it flies by.

Angela, 34

I get glimpses of my old self every now and again but my life is now so strongly intertwined with my darling boys (two years and 13 months) that I do wonder if there will ever come a point where I will 100% regain my pre-baby identity, and to be honest that’s something that I’m quite ok with. I love being a mum and embrace that this role is now a part of my new identity. Having a baby has made me refocus about what is important in life and helped me learn to not sweat the small stuff.

Advice for new mums: Best advice I received is to be kind to yourself – that means resting when you can, letting the laundry/dishes pile up, stop putting pressure on ourselves to be super mum and realising that we are doing an amazing job!

Jo, 34

Having a baby has given me a new perspective on life and what’s important – my child comes first.

Advice for new mums: Enjoy the first three months, go with the flow and enjoy every minute as they grow so quickly. Put away the baby advice books and give them everything they need in the first three months, it’s about love, nurturing and getting to know each other.

Melody, 29

I felt like I was in a bubble of mummy bliss for the first year after my son was born, and although things were often tough as a solo-parent, I had this innate strength that took over my being and I just got on with things. I feel far more sure of who I am these days but I still mourn the lack of freedom and spontaneity. But I think the biggest change I notice is that I find it harder to be self-centred, there is a big picture and I want to provide a wonderful life for my son.

Advice for new mums: Exercise – my journey from what felt like insanity (emotional and grumpy mum) back to more consistent feelings of happiness and well-being was when I started exercising and going to group fitness classes. Trust yourself and your abilities as a mother and don’t worry if you get it wrong and make mistakes, because you will, lots. Connect with other women (I lived for my coffee group catch ups!) but that doesn’t mean you need to listen to everybody’s advice. And don’t tell other women how to mother their children. Best advice I received; don’t mess with a sleeping baby!

As told to Kassie Watson

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