Regardless of if this is your first or last pregnancy, once you start to feel those first butterfly movements until those gymnastic kicks who will have spent the majority of the pregnancy thinking about the baby and not yourself.


Will it be a girl or a boy? Who will they look like? Whose character will they have? Dreaming of those moments of when you hold your baby for the first time and have that iconic moment of the baby wrapping his/her tiny hand around your finger. It's all very exciting but it's all about the baby. What about you, mum, how will you be? 


No one can prepare you for labour, because no two labours are the same. Try not to fear it. You might be lucky and get a lovely labour where things go to plan, or it might seem so out of control it becomes traumatic. I've experienced both, and either way, your body and mind will have been through a huge event. Sometimes the person who has been through the most, that's you mum, gets the least care. A newborn baby is after all much needier (and cuter!) than you.


I hate the phrase sleep when the baby sleeps because the reality is that you won't. These are the times you get to shower, eat using two hands, or one if you have a baby who loves you so much they don't like the cot! 


So even if you don't have the luxury of lots of "you" time, you can adjust your expectations. In those first few weeks and months, it is important for you to register what has just happened. You have grown a human being. There is nothing in this world greater than that; well done you! Now you are entrusted with the role of continuing to grow them and care for them in this noisy world.


Forget about the laundry, the cleaning, the lists of what you need to do. Slow down, sit down, start asking for help. Even if it is small at first; a glass of water, a sandwich, help with the laundry, or the dishes. You are not failing because you need help. You are helping your own recovery by not trying to do it all.


To all the new mums please, be kind to yourself. 

Michelle Greaves: mum of two boys, writer, photographer, traveller, secondary school teacher.

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