A Survival Guide For New Parents. My Very Personal Perspective | by Geneva Newborn Photographer
We are living in a visual world right now, but with all the social media we can easily loose the authentic vision of our life and feel being under pressure surrounded by all the perfect pictures of parenthood.
Our expectations are so different from the reality when we become parents.
I was absolutely shocked, when I got my first baby!
Photography helped me to dive out of the ideal picture and discover the beauty in everyday struggles and joys.
I was documenting my everyday life with a new baby – this was my way to become a mother, to learn how to accept the life as it is: that I am terribly hurt after a difficult birth, that baby wont sleep, that there is no one to help me.
I was fearless and true to myself. During this time a family-photographer-in-me was born!
I put together this little guide for you with a few very important things that will let you bond with your growing family and feel empowered instead of destroyed.
Believe That You Are The Best Parent For Your Baby
You heard it before for sure – but this is truly the core of a sane parent! Let the perfect parent go!
Guilt is the most terrible, the most destroying emotion new parents feel all the time.
The more time you spend stressing about whether you are doing things perfectly right – the less time you will spend observing your actual baby and learning what really works for both of you.
Believe That Your Baby Is The Best Baby For You
You can spend the first moths and maybe even years worrying about things your baby should do at x, y, and z months and how he will be in the future. And if you do so you are missing the precious present!
All babies are different and grow on their own pace! The most important thing you can do for your baby is to be present for her, observing her, getting to know her and understanding the clues she is giving you about what she really needs.
Spend More Time With Real Parents
Internet forums are a nightmare for new parents – do not spend all your time there! They can drive you crazy!
But meeting real parents is really liberating and supporting.
Find a baby group in your town and make new friends. It is also great for your baby to be surrounded by other children, especially if there are no siblings at home.
Do not stay at home with your new baby. Go out, make new friends!
Bond With Your Baby
Taking care of your baby is one thing – bonding with her is a different one!
Sing to her, look in her eyes, massage her, tell her about things which are happening around.
And do not forget about other children! Let them bond with the baby as well.
Incorporate them into everyday baby activities in a safe way. And show them how they can soothe the baby when she cries – this will take lots of stress away.
Make Phone and Internet Free Time for Your Family
I have two phones a smart phone and one with buttons and I never take my smart phone with me when I am going for a walk with my kids, meeting with friends or having a date with my husband.
Actually I almost never take it with me, when I am leaving the house. This is a little bit extreme, but very effective. And voice mail is also a great thing – you can always call people back.
I know that if all my family is with me and someone is calling – that cannot be a real urgency.
I also have internet and phone free time every evening from 19h00 to 22h00 – time when we are having dinner and putting kids to bed.
Respect the Feelings
It is important to understand that bad feelings are not bad.
Everyone has the right to feel bad feelings and you as well! Acknowledge them, learn to name them and talk about them.
When treated right bad feelings can bring your family closer just as good feelings do! You can spend more time with your husband crying and telling how tired you are, you can cuddle your baby longer if he is upset, you can have a trusted talk with your big one if he is angry (or if you are!).
Say “No” If You Feel So
When you have a new baby you are changing, your life is changing and you should make space for these changes.
Saying “NO” helps a lot! Other people may not realize what is going on in your life, so they can push you into things you used to do before: family gatherings, hosting guests, ladies nights and so on.
But if you feel it is too much, please, say no. You should make space for your new life – in this way you are taking care of yourself and your intimate family.
Take Care Of Yourself
This one is absolutely the hardest for any new mother.
You are learning so hard to take care of your new family, that usually you absolutely forget that there is YOU as well. And sometimes even if your partner is trying to make space for you and to help – you are not always accepting it.
The story of my life! Really it took me long time to realize that if I do not feel well - no one in my family is going to feel really well.
So do things that makes you happy! For me these are: playing guitar, reading a good book, going for a walk along, exercising, spending evening with friends without kids, learning something new, a glass of vine, getting some sleep. I try to do at least one thing every day!
...And make sure this is just ONE glass of vine.
ASK FOR HELP
Always ask for help.
Thank you for reading!
I am planning to make an e-book about things that make new parents feel better about themselves and make it possible for them to really enjoy the short and amazing time of babyhood.
It would be great if you could share some piece of advise too! Or maybe you know a great book or internet platform that helps you?
I would be very curious to know!
And of course if you could like and share this little article – that would be great!
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