Newborn baby with new mother in mothers group

Beyond the Birth: Linh

Linh is mum 6-month-old Amelia (pictured) and 8-year-old Benjamin. 
Motherhood with a new baby

What surprised you most about postpartum? 
The overwhelming feeling of complete unconditional and unreserved love for another person. 
Being alone with a newborn for the first time was also a surprise. I distinctly remember the first day my partner went back to work. As soon as the door closed behind him, there was a rush of fear and anxiety, upon the realisation that I was solely responsible for keeping a tiny human alive for the next 10 hours.
How did you prepare for postpartum the second time around? Did you do anything differently? 
I was more relaxed the second time around, but didn't really do anything different to prepare for Amelia’s arrival. I did take a couple of weeks off before her due date, to spend one-on-one time with Ben. I was worried about how he would cope with the transition from being an only child for so long, to an older brother. 
How do you make time for yourself and what does this look like for you? 
I schedule in 'kid-free' time a few hours every week. During this time, I attend dancing classes. This keeps me active, allows some time to socialise and connect with friends. I think it's important to remember that being a mother is one part of who I am, a very important part of my identity but not my only identity. 
Best advice you received? 
Don't feel guilty to ask for help.
Don't feel guilty to outsource help.
Do whatever is required to enjoy time with your baby.
Did your friendships change after having a baby? How did you navigate this? 
When Ben was born, most of my friends were still childless. Initially, they didn't appreciate I was no longer 'free' after work. It takes planning to hang out with friends and we had to adjust where we went to accommodate a little person. We switched fancy restaurants and nice bars for the park or beach during the day on weekends. I also schedule a few hours a week to spend 'kid-free' time with friends. I am very lucky to have a supportive partner who strongly encourages this. 
Surprisingly, some of my female colleagues, took on a very protective mother-hen role towards me. They had done the work/life struggle and understood the battle to pick up the kids from childcare on time. 
Beyond the Birth gives women the opportunity to share their postpartum experience to help other women going through the same life stage, because when we support other mothers by telling our story it makes the journey a little less hard and a little less lonely.

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