How to enjoy your newborn baby: Stop Googling
PUBLISHED: 19:30 28 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 01 July 2018
Instagram is casting a rose-tinted filter over the reality of motherhood and making it impossible not to compare your parenting to that of other new mums, according to one Colchester woman.
Mum-of-two Carly Sherborne, of Copford, believes that if we stopped comparing ourselves to other Insta mums, resisted the urge to Google every childhood ailment and instead trusted our instincts we would be more relaxed and would enjoy those precious early days, weeks and months with our new babies.
Carly is one of 35 contributors who have shared their honest accounts of parenting, and their own pearls of wisdom for surviving what can be a nerve-wracking time, in a new book Love Letter for New Mothers.
Explaining that the book is different to the usual parenting manuals, she said: “The book is written sensitively, it is written for mums who are embarking on this new, emotional journey which can, at times, feel isolating and lonely. It is honest but heart-warming.
“There is no-one saying ‘do this, don’t do that’, this is about supporting the mum, offering those pearls of wisdom. Every mum will be able to take something from the book.”
Love Letters for New Mothers is the brainchild of Gayle Berry, who trains baby massage and baby yoga teachers.
“I have been working with mums and babies for 16 years and from my experience I felt new mums were very vulnerable,” she explained.
“I wanted to do something to share the wisdom of mothers so I asked my teachers and the main message from all of them was to trust your instincts and to love yourself. You can’t give your baby everything if you are not taking care of yourself.”
For Carly, who has a three-year-old daughter and a son, one, this would certainly have helped first time around.
She explained: “For me, the first eight weeks were amazing, I was just so in awe of this beautiful little baby. Then she developed silent reflux and would feed every 20 to 40 minutes during the night. That took its toll on me and resulted in me getting anxiety. I used to question what I was doing wrong. The sleep deprivation made it even worse.
“In the days of social media it is hard, everybody seemed to be posting about how wonderful it (motherhood) was and I felt like everyone was managing and I wasn’t.”
An extract from her letter reads: “The love was and still is unbelievable, but as a new mum I felt so overwhelmed by all the information available to me and the conflicting messages, that in the first 6 months I honestly felt completely and utterly lost.”
She added: “We are prepared for the physical side of labour but no-one prepares you for the emotional impact it has on you.”
With her second child, she took a different approach and, in her words, was more gentle on herself.
In her love letter for other mums, she explained: “I’m a second-time mum now and have a young baby as I write this. It’s been a different experience for me as I feel so much more confident in listening to my instincts.”
She added: “You have to try and be as mindful as possible and remind yourself this is only temporary.”
Although she believes there has been a shift in the way we portray our lives on social media more recently thanks to the rise in parenting bloggers, Carly decided to take a break when she had her son.
“I actually came off social media for a while and I didn’t Google anything, I just went with my natural mothering instincts. As a result, I haven’t had that anxiety I felt first time around.”
Reassuring others who may judge themselves against other parents who share precious moments on Facebook, she said: “You have to remember that what is posted on social media is a snapshot of reality, you don’t see the moments leading up to that photo being taken or the moments that follow. You are not getting the full story.”
• Proceeds from the book, which was launched on Sunday, will be shared between Pandas Foundation and a charity Gayle established in Malawi called Love Support Unite.