Being pregnant is a transformative time culminating in the birth of a brand new little person to love and cherish. And while there are plenty of joy and tears of happiness, there’s also a lot of change. Particularly in those first few weeks straight after the birth.
That “10th month” is a period when as a new mum you’re getting to know your beautiful new baby and making adjustments to your new life. But it’s also a time when you must remember to take care of yourself, and not let you be forgotten.
BritMums partnered with Bepanthen, in a paid project to ask five bloggers to share their 10th month story. Each mum told moving tales of their experiences and offered their advice for getting on in this exciting but challenging period. Check out the links below to learn more and visit Bepanthen’s dedicated site – www.10thmonth.co.uk – for more information.
1. Reach out and accept support in the 10th month
Tiredness, cabin fever, loss of independence: Sarah at Boo Roo and Tigger Too struggled after her emergency caesarean section which resulted in post-birth complications. “Our post-baby bubble was filled with looking after a newborn, learning my limitations due to major surgery and adjusting to family life,” she says. In addition to tiredness and a house overrun with nappies and wipes, Sarah found herself relying on her partner far more than she had ever needed to in the past.
“I’m not sure I could have managed without Mr. Boo by my side, he was my rock, even when there were times he was only just managing himself.”
Sarah found that allowing herself to rely on and honestly communicate with her support system, helped her through this transformative period.
“Like me, every new mum needs a strong support system and Bepanthen has realised the importance of this by launching www.10thmonth.co.uk. Having children changes your relationship, but with the right communication and support, this can be a positive thing… Being open about the feelings you are experiencing from pain, exhaustion, and frustration is the key to understanding how each other is feeling and what support they need at that time.”
Find out more about how Sarah made it work and how you can get the support you need in her full post.
2. It’s not just first-time mums who need support
Fellow mum Sarah, who writes on This Mama Life, cites statistics that may surprise you.
“Research from Bepanthen[i] has shown that more than two in three (68%) UK mothers have experienced some form of negative feeling in the first month of the arrival of their new baby including:”
- 48% cited feeling lonely
- 41% claimed they felt they had lost their identity
- 20% say they felt abandoned
“Those are some scarily high percentages,” she says.
And while she coped with her first child, “nothing could have prepared me for the emotional battle I would face after having my second baby, two years later.”
With her husband deployed with the Royal Navy, breastfeeding struggles, and her baby son’s diagnosis with a cow’s milk intolerance, she was at her wit’s end. “Having a baby who screams at you nonstop for three quarters of the day is pretty soul destroying,” she says.
“I had to start accepting help and to stop thinking I could ‘handle it all myself’” which is good advice no matter whether it’s your first or fifth baby.
We found Sarah’s struggle a compelling read and motivating. Read it now for yourself http://thismamalife.com/2017/10/the-10th-month/.
3. You’ll discover ‘secrets’
“What astonished me post-birth were all the things no one had thought to tell me,” says Chelle McCann on her blog ChelleMcCann.com.
The things she discovered? “I’d still look six months pregnant for a while, that my body would feel flutters for months later (cue panic buying a pregnancy test), I’d cry at X Factor rather than laugh or that I would suddenly feel bursts of creativity and an urge to change our lifestyle by quitting my job!”
“All of this is OK!” reassures Chelle. “That’s what the 10th month is all about.” Take a page from Chelle’s book and try to roll with it.
4. Resist the pressure to ‘bounce back’!
Tearful days, guilt that you’re not doing enough or the right thing, the struggle to keep up with everything – this is how Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks describes her 10th month.
“Yet all I heard from family, from the health visitor, from doctors was that I’d soon ‘bounce back’…So I kept waiting for that to happen.”
But Hayley reminds us: “Bringing a new human being into your home, especially one who is completely dependent on you, is challenging in many ways. You do what you can to make it work…and sometimes that might not be the prettiest of pictures.”
“When I finally stopped trying to have it all, do it all and be it all….and stopped trying to bounce back…I found myself enjoying my life and my children a whole lot more.”
5. Be prepared to feel unprepared
It doesn’t matter how many books you read beforehand. “There is nothing in life that opens your eyes quite like the first four weeks as a mother,” says Fi from Beauty Baby and Me.
“Everything changes; your perspective, your priorities, your plans for a shower! Getting used to the way you live and the way you look takes a lot of adjusting.”
“The 10th Month campaign is something I personally feel so passionate about. I had days where I felt I was drowning and I really wanted to hear so
meone say, ‘Don’t worry, that happened to
me too. 10th Month gives you that reassuring perspective that you are really not alone.”
Discover that feeling of “me too” in Fi’s post. http://beautybabyandme.com/10th-month-pregnancy-new-normal-association-bepanthen/
What was your 10th month experience?
Tell us the challenges you faced in the comments section below and tweet this post to your friends who are (or will be!) experiencing the 10th month with the hashtag #10thmonth.
Bepanthen’s www.10thmonth.co.uk provides much-needed online support and gives mums the confidence to ask for help when they need it. Especially at this time, when attention switches to the new baby and mothers are often overlooked.
Visit www.10thmonth.co.uk for support, advice and tips on topics such as breastfeeding, post-baby body, relationships insight, dealing with new mum overload and more.
[i] Opinium interviewed 1,000 UK mothers with children under 5 years of age online between the 26th July and 1st August 2016. Data was weighted to reflect a nationally representative audience of UK mothers with children under 5. The research was conducted on behalf of Bepanthen for 10th Month.