By Catherine Ngo, The Millennial Mum
A friend of mine asked me the other day what were the surprising things I learnt about myself as a new mum. Besides being superhuman and surviving on little or no sleep, here are the 5 things I candidly shared with her:
I must say, boobs are amazing things. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror, shimmied and jiggled them up and down just for fun. I’m quite obsessed with mine, even though they look like frenemies. One goes east, the other goes west. They hate each other, yet come together for a common goal – to nourish my son.
I’m still breastfeeding my toddler and I get mixed reactions when I tell people that. It’s usually the shocked, surprised look and the questions of “Oh still?! Why are you still breastfeeding. When are you going to stop?” I feel that my decision to continue breastfeeding always calls for justification, even though it doesn’t need any.
I choose to continue breastfeeding because of the bond I have with my son and it makes him happy. I’m continually amazed at the human body in bringing and nourishing life. I think society places too much focus on trying to get pre-baby back. And if you don’t, you’re made to feel inadequate. Truth is, you can’t time travel and get your body back - your hips and all have changed permanently. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of low self-esteem, self-doubt and self hate but now I refuse to have any ill thoughts about my body just because I’ve had a child.
Finances are always an uncomfortable topic of discussion between couples. Let's face it, most couples argue over money. With this in mind, my partner and I made sure we sought advice from a financial planner before having our baby. In hindsight, we should have done this way before we got married, but I think as Millennials (and not to generalise), we wanted to keep the weekly date nights at some wanky restaurant.
I’m not going to lie, I hated going through the process. I would rather crawl on broken glass because I know I am the worst when it comes to money. I have a terrible habit of buying things ‘on sale’ and not wearing them and collecting things such as pug merchandise and babushka dolls (please don't judge me). With a lot of determination, I managed to pay off my credit card debts and thanks to being preggers, I avoided dining out as much as possible.
Once our baby arrived, we were down to one income. It was tough at times but it was thanks to early preparation, budgeting and correcting bad spending habits, which helped me to adjust to my new lifestyle on a reduced income.
I cannot speak for everyone but my sex life was non-existent 6 months post birth. The first few months were like the Arabian desert. We tried. Breast milk sprayed everywhere. It got weird. It was too hard.
No one expects new mums to ride like a rodeo in the first few weeks. You’re in recovery mode. But, it’s OK. What I didn’t expect was a weak pelvic floor. Even though I did my pelvic floor exercises diligently (OK, maybe every second or third day) I still had a weak pelvic floor and I learnt from my physio that no matter what, the pelvic floor is under a lot of pressure simply from carrying a baby. Because I had a vaginal delivery and a tear, it compromised these little darlings even more.
So, the point I want to make is to look after your pelvic floor pre and post baby because it’s your little secret ticket to not only preventing the evidential wee-wee every time you laugh and sneeze and also holds key to some great adult cuddles later on.
I wasn’t very close to my folks growing up. It was because they micro managed everything I did. But it all changed when I became a mother. It was as if I wanted to catch up on all those lost years. I was suddenly open to sharing everything with my Mum – the good bad and ugly. I wasn’t afraid of her scolding or judgement when I used to be petrified of.
While I have a completely different parenting style, one which she thinks is ‘reckless’, she respects my decisions. I finally feel like she treats me like an adult now that I’m a mother.
And as for my mother in law, she is quite savvy on social media and can probably hunt down my ex (if she hasn’t already). So, I shall say no more.
Yeap, I am a FEMINIST LOUD AND PROUD! And I didn’t know it until I became a mother. I’ve always been vocal about gender equality, but it never crossed my mind to use the F-word. I used to think that feminists were hangry lesbians who didn’t shave. On reflection, I feel terrible at how I caved into stereotypes, how ill willed I thought about the F-word.
Feminism is about equal rights for all genders. That's all it really is! And now, I’m so much more aware of inequalities and the problem with gender stereotyping.
Catherine lives in Sydney with her gaming addict husband and superheroes, Batman (pug) and Robin (toddler). She loves writing about diversity, and social change. You can find her at her blog – The Millennial Mum, Instagram @themillennialmum and Facebook
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