Becoming a Mother, Not a Monster

Becoming a mother is a daunting thought. Now you will be responsible for another little human being. No more me, myself and I. We have all heard the stories of women who have gone from Madam to Mother to Monster in the space of a year. It doesn’t have to be like that. Holding on to who you are and loving who you will become is as easy as following some basic tips.

Becoming a Mother, Not a Monster

1. Do It Your Way and Damn The Rest!

Don’t take heed to too much that comes forth from other moms, dads, grandparents, friends and even your own parents. They will scare the pants off of you and we all know you have to hold onto that ever shrinking pants! If the shop assistant starts in on what happened when she gave birth – run a mile! On top of this, your patience levels will be slowly diminishing and you will come across many, many irritating people. More irritating than you thought was even possible.

Just take a deep breath, glean what useful information you can from them and move on. Here are the top five annoying things people say when you're pregnant:

2. Dare To Be Different

From creating bazaar baby endearments to sobbing in movie cinemas. From feeling so tired you could just fall asleep anywhere to gobbling down truck loads of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. From acting out every nursery rhyme under the sun to licking the pumpkin flavored baby food off the spoon, that you vowed you would never do. You are just different when you become a mother. Just enjoy it - it’s all part of the journey. But know you are not alone with your crazy antics and frowned-upon child rearing habits.

Some celebrities rank right up there on the weird scale.  You just have to look at all those crazy celebrity baby names out there, to just seal that fact down. Apple? Brooklyn? North? On a more statistical note, Atlantic.com reports on what happens to a woman’s brain when they become a mother, hormones playing a vital role in the changes in brain patterns. Those same hormones are what brings a mother closer to their baby and undoubtedly explode all those over-neurotic feelings we experience as mothers. However, besides the scientific biochemical reasons that explain why we behave the way we do as mothers, we can be assured we will never be the same again. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing either.

3. The Captains Log

Even if you’re not an analytical sort of person and generally veer away from anything "graphish", get over it! Charting your progress from the time you find out you’re pregnant, for every month and trimester, to after baby is born, is therapeutic at best. Nowadays it’s a simple as downloading an app. Yes, there is an app for this!

Here is an in depth look at one of our favorites, the Babybump Pregnancy Pro:

4. Ship Shape

Whether a fitness fanatic before baby or a self-confessed couch potato, you will find that keeping active is very beneficial for you and of course baby.

Now, no one expects you to go run five miles each day, like that crazy woman next door, whose preggie tummy is bigger than Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage.   No, just a gentle, but brisk walk around the block will do the trick. And it may not be a bad idea to even practice pushing that new stroller. Just load the neighbor’s dog in or a few bricks and there you go. For other exercise ideas its simple. Nowadays you are spoilt for choice with pregnant specific gym classes, from Pilates to Yoga to Aqua aerobics.

On a more sobering note, you just have to take a look at the stats on obesity during pregnancy to know that keeping your weight stable during this delicate period is vital. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the possibility of PROM (Premature Rupture Of Membrane) was greatly increased in obese pregnant woman. The premature rupturing of the sac that contains amniotic fluid, which surrounds and protects the fetus can result in death or premature birth. Just one good reason to ensure you maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy. WebMD advises that if you ensure you start off with a reasonable weight pre-pregnancy and maintain a 25-30 lbs. increase during pregnancy, you stand a better chance of shedding that post-baby weight in a quicker amount of time.

5. Eating for Two - Not!

Just because you have another person inside you, doesn’t mean you need to start doubling up on your meals. Keeping your meals to decent, healthy portions and including little snacks throughout the day, will help you maintain good blood sugar levels as well as sustain your energy for longer. While it’s tempting to overeat and blame it on the “eating for two” excuse, eating till you’re over full will make you feel terribly bloated and you will retain unnecessary water. Not a good look!

Scientists have shown that women don’t need to eat for two, because the body is built to adapt to absorb more energy from the given food. Eating too much leads to too much weight gain and as we mentioned in Number 4, it will make your weight loss process that's more difficult after baby is born. So, keep calm and step away from the cake! But, don't take it from us, researchers have covered this too:

6. Organized Chaos

Lists are godsends! Lists! You groan. Yes – Lists! When the “mommy fudge brain” kicks in, you will be thankful for that list you made. From detailing what you will need at the hospital to what kind of baby gear you still need to buy, lists are vital to any expecting or seasoned mother.

Mayoclinic reports that there is no real supported statistics that the “mommy” or “baby” brain exists, however whether a real syndrome or an unchartered hypothesis, we all know that you definitely don’t remember things as you used to pre and post baby birth.

Here are a few lists to consider putting together:

  • The “Skinny” baby bag List (for a day out)
  • The “Full Monty” baby bag List (for 2 days or more away)
  • Baby “Changing Table” List (for everything you need to clean, change and beautify your little one)
  • The Stork-party gift List (lets be honest, there are some items we just don’t want)
  • Baby Newborn to 3 Months Clothes List (season dependent)
  • Baby 3 months to 12 Months Clothes List (season dependent)
  • Baby Medicine Cupboard List (for those I-don’t-know-what’s-wrong moments)
  • Hospital List (You will be in for 2, maybe 3 days so its vital you have all you may need for yourself and baby. Relying on dad, bless his heart, may just cause you further heart failure)
  • The “Skinny” Makeup Bag List (If you look good, you are bound to feel good)

If you don’t know how are where to get started, try some of these cool downloadable list applications on your Smartphone or computer:

Here Evernote explains how it can be super useful for moms:

Or, if you’re old school, simply pull out a pen and paper and getting listing. Either way, get going with those lists, before the “mommy” brain settles in and you forget what you had to list!

7. Music, Maestro!

Music is and always will be, no matter who you are, a lifesaving form of therapy. Whether you need a damn good cry (and believe me you will have no lack of tears over this period of your life), have to get that little colicky cherub to sleep, need some vibey tunes to get your ass out and about or just want to disappear into a black hole of solitude on a symphony of violins, music will take you there. Get that iPod or Smartphone out and start downloading all sorts of music that you can flick on at a touch when the mood calls. And who knows, maybe your baby might pick some some dance moves along the way.

Suggestions based on your particular crisis:

  • Cry Baby Bunting Mood – The Road goes on by Toto
  • Sleeping Beauty Mood – Missing by Everything But The Girl
  • Lullaby Land Mood – Any Classical piece especially from the Baroque period
  • Leave Me Alone Mood – Don’t give up by Peter Gabriel
  • Moving and Grooving Mood – Little Bird by Annie Lennox
  • These songs are not meant to enhance your somber mood, but lift you up and make you feel better.

Besides catering to mom’s moods, a study done by the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Helsinki found that newborns already have experiences and memories of the surrounding world from when they were in the womb. So if your tiny tike comes out singing your fave song, don’t be surprised. Only joking, of course, but it would be funny.

But really, you are spoilt for choice as there are many specific Pregnancy and Birth tunes you can purchase as downloads or CD’s.

8. The Help

Sometimes help can come in the form of an ordinary, next-door neighbor or your ever patient mom. It may be you need just a good old shoulder to blubber on or you may need some real professional advise.   Either way, don’t be too proud or pound-foolish to seek that help you need.

From pre-natal care as so nicely laid out from WomensHealth.gov, you can be assured that it has never been easier to find the exact help you require pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and most definitely post-pregnancy.

9. Date Night

Whether you invested time in a Date Night before baby or not, now is the time to start. Most dads get left out of the picture once that little ball of neediness arrives. And while we know that you don’t mean to envelope yourself in their world, till you can't remember who you are, we cannot stress the importance of taking a break and coming back to your partner every now and then. Set a date, at least every 2 months, if not more often, where you just go out, babyless, for a few hours, and get back to just the two of you.

NHS.UK has a simple article on keeping the bond between you and your partner strong after baby rocks up. Just taking the time to listen to one another, talk about your day, your child and more importantly anything un-baby related, will do your relationship a world of good.

However, if getting out of the house is all a bit to much and you still crave a date night experience, why not try some tips that our friends at 'Just For Mom' recommend for a stay-at-home date night:

10. Hurry Up & Wait

The one very important lesson that babies teach us is to slow down. There is no rushing a baby and if you try to, you will end up prolonging whatever you were trying to get them to do in a rush. We live a life full of go-go-go. The first to the finish line gets the prize. But with babies and in fact children in general, its all about taking time to smell the roses. There is no rushing a feeding baby. There is no rushing a dawdling toddler and there is definitely no rushing an infant off to sleep. A busy mom who always started or ended or sentences with 'Hurry Up'. That is until one day her older daughter used the same words and tone to her youngest and she realized the time monster she had become.

The old adage that life is too short is very true, but it doesn’t mean you must rush through it either. So, kick back, relax and let the natural flow of a baby’s world take over for a moment.

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