How to survive the first year with a new baby – part two


Following on from the previous post, I am sharing a few practical things that really helped me in the first year, but that I still live by today. As much as I recognise that my children are on their own journeys, I also recognise that one of my roles as woman is that of their mother. It is my responsibility to create an environment that is safe and nurturing for them. And the needs of a baby are very different to the needs of an older child and that of an adult. Babies are still coming into their bodies. They are literally not yet living in their bodies, as they are so intimately connected to the spirit world. This takes many years, so it is very important to protect their senses.

Some practical things that I did when my children were small and some that I still apply today.

  • I didn’t cook for a year. Every weekend, Sohail would cook up a whole batch of meals and freeze them for the week. We ate a lot of curry that year! I would just make a pot of rice at dinner time and we were set. This was one thing that I didn’t have to worry about for the day and freed me up to be more present with my children. Once he stopped doing that (I was seriously over curry, lol!), I expressed huge gratitude to him for what he had done and started making dinner during nap time. Children demand our attention all the time and it is very difficult to be present for them when we are cooking, especially when they are so little. Another thing to consider is the energy that goes into the preparation of the food. If you are rushed and scattered with your attention when preparing a meal, that scattered energy goes into the food and into your family’s bodies. I think it is much better for us to prepare meals in a calm and peaceful manner. If I let my children cook with me, I am prepared for it to be messy, time consuming and not perfect. If I want a perfect meal, I make it when I am alone.
  • I kept my children away from the shops. I tried to go grocery shopping by myself and definitely tried to keep them (and myself!) out of shopping centres. Shopping centres have a very scattered energy. People go there for retail therapy. Guess what they leave behind when they finish shopping? Babies and children are super sensitive to all energies and they pick up on all those energies people drop off at the shopping centres. The fluorescent lights are also extremely draining of our life force energy. So, not only do shopping centres drain us, they drain our babies too. I would send Sohail shopping, or go on my own, or, if I was to take the children, I would go to a farmers market, which is outside in the fresh air and is a much more natural way of interacting with the elements. Other than the draining energy of artificial environments, another reason I like to go shopping alone is so that I can concentrate. It is very distracting to go shopping with little ones who are overstimulated by all the sights and sounds of the shopping experience. I find I get very snappy with my children if they come shopping with me. I need to focus my energy in too many places and it is not fun for me or for them. Obviously, I am not perfect and there were times when my babies did come to the shopping centres with me. There are still those days, because I am not the most organised in my kitchen. I frequently run out of bread and milk! We live in the modern world and that is just part of life, isn’t it?
  • I let my babies move as much as possible. Babies are trying to figure out the world and are learning how to get into their bodies. It is so so important to let them have as much physical freedom as possible. They need to develop their gross motor skills and they cannot develop them when they are sitting all the time. It is so frustrating for them to be strapped into car seats and prams. I didn’t use my pram very much. We walked to a lot of places, VERY SLOWLY. My little ones were happier and I was more relaxed because I wasn’t trying to force them to stay in a pram all the time. I also loved the use of the sling as a way to literally be heart to heart when there was a need to travel somewhere, on foot.
  • I didn’t do anything. I stayed home. Children do not need to be taken to baby gym, baby Mozart, baby play dates, baby chess class. Babies and children need to have the time and space to find their place in the world. They do not need a special environment or class to do that. Their own body knows exactly what to do. They do not need to make friends. Friendships only really start developing at the age of 6 and 7. Up until then, babies and children need to be with their mothers primarily and then branch out into their relationships with their fathers, siblings and extended families. They need the security of knowing where their home is. We, as mothers are like the big ship and they are the tug boats. Always connected, with the rope being loosened a little bit at a time, over the years.
  • Having said that, it is crucial to maintain a support structure as a new mother. It can be very isolating being at home with our little ones, especially because we don’t live in traditional societies like we used to. I made sure to keep in contact with my friends and family as a support. There is nothing worse than locking ourselves up in our homes when our little ones are small and then when they go off to school, we have no friends because we have not maintained our friendships. Mothers need other mothers, this is so important. I would encourage all new mothers to get their partners, mothers or anyone else to mind their children at home while they go out for a cup of tea with a friend – often!
  • I let a lot of things go. I accepted that my house would not be in the perfect state that I would like. I had three goals for each day. The first was to do one load of washing each day. The second was to unpack the dishwasher and the third was to get dinner on the table. Anything more than that was a bonus. I got a cleaner. I still have her. I love her to the world and back. I take the help in whatever way I can. We are not supposed to do this on our own. It is not the way nature has designed it.
  • In short, I really simplified my life. I find that the more I simplify, the happier I am and the happier my family is. New motherhood is an incredible journey into ourselves. Our children are the mirrors for us. They hold up all the things we don’t love about ourselves for us to see and love us through our imperfections. What an in incredible gift.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share with a new mother that would encourage her on this incredible journey?

I would love to know. Sharing is healing and your words could inspire someone else. Your words are important, please do not keep them to yourself.

Blessings to you.

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