"I couldn’t tell you exactly when it happened... And I think there were stages. But as a new mum there was definitely a point when I realised that I suddenly felt a bit less of a greasy, emotional car-crash, and more like myself. A new, but fully-operational me.
I always want to tell all my new mum friends how hard it will be at times, but that there is light at the end of the tunnel; that there comes an occasion in which you suddenly realise that you're making a comeback... Here is how it happens:
Your Health and Fitness
From slowly being able to keep your eyes open, manage 24-hours without bursting into tears and physically recovering from the trauma of birth and breastfeeding, to actually putting your trainers on or getting on that yoga mat. There are different stages to your physical comeback, but each one is valid and worthy of a celebration.
Never underestimate the power of getting your muscles stretching and your blood and endorphins pumping. When you’re ready, it’ll help you start to feel more in control of everything. For me a little exercise gave me more energy when I’d hardly slept, helped steady my mind and of course helped me to shift some excess baby weight. Even when it’s summer-hot outside, get pushing the pram around the air-conditioned malls if you have to. Move it and feel better, trust me.
Sometimes the more books you read, Facebook forums you immerse yourself in and well-meaning advice you surround yourself with can dull your innate ability to be a mother to your baby. Of course all of these resources can be invaluable and I imagine however old our ‘babies’ get, we’ll regularly, often spectacularly, feel out of depth with the task of mothering.
But, as the days in which you haven’t broken this baby of yours pass and your son or daughter start to give you a little ‘good job’ pat on the back in the form of a smile, a squeeze of a finger and eventually a giggle, you start to realise that you’re actually nailing this mum game and you'll feel a little less of a terrified fraud and a bit more like a… mum.
Of course lots of women chose to not feel any pressure in this area, and to them I say good for you. For many others the thought of dirty hair, tired skin and post-natal excess tyres can add to a feeling of loss of control and with that, sadness. I suggest braving a dress that you haven’t worn since being pregnant, you might accessorise an actual outfit. You may even go clothes shopping for something new... With a spring in your step, a bounce in your blow-dry and a tint on your lips you’re making an effort, and with that comes your sparkle which in turn makes you, and your loved ones, feel great.
NOTE: That dress and blow dry will probably be covered in puke before lunch and you’ll be back in your sweats with bags under your eyes tomorrow. But the moment was a sign, you’re still in there.
It’s easy to neglect romance and contact with girlfriends after having a baby and no one should expect much more of you early on. But these are the people who are crucial to holding on to who you were before the newest love of your life came along. Good partners and friends will be understanding, and the best partners equally tired from sharing responsibilities. When you can, dedicate special time to these relationships; date nights, time away together, girls nights out. Let them remind you of the other women you are; the fun table-top dancer, the confidante and sounding-board.
For some new mums this might be years away still, or never at all. You may not return to the employment you had before, but something different altogether, or perhaps your own enterprise. Regardless, one day you’ll think about producing something beyond your role as mother and behold, you're the queen of your comeback."
Heidi Raeside is also known as Tuesdayschild.me