The importance of asking for help.

Dear Rosie,

I did something this week that has taken me a very long time to do. Something that I should have done weeks ago when I felt my anxiety start to get the better of me again. I asked for help. Five simple, easy to say words in theory.

“Can you help me, please?”

These magical words can have a hugely beneficial impact on your life almost as soon as you say them out loud. Maybe I was too stubborn, maybe I felt like I had something to prove or maybe I just didn’t want to put anyone else out. But the moment those words came out of my mouth I felt relief wash over me that was cooler than the shower you have after being at school camp for a week. Refreshing AF.

In recent moments of despair, I have been telling myself that people all over the world have babies every day, some alone, some with partners, some with live in help. Everyone is navigating this new motherhood role the best they can, and I shouldn’t need to ask for help because I should just be able to suck it up and do it myself. So instead of asking for help, I have been drowning in a sea of baby books, perfect Mum Instagram accounts and telling people everything was fine. You can’t pour from an empty cup Rosie, and I was filling up everyone else’s but my own.  

I’ve come to the conclusion that the really clever Mums ask for help. They remind themselves that at one point before babies, before midnight feeds, before nappies and gymbaroo classes and spending hours googling “is my baby a genius?”, that they were first a woman. A woman with wants and needs of her very own. A woman with hobbies, passions and down time to invest into those things. A woman with a social life that didn’t require booking in outings three weeks in advance. A woman who was able to seriously invest herself into a Netflix series and pretend that she could 100% actually be friends with Jennifer Lawrence. Then, a baby comes rocketing out of you and you are instantly responsible for every breath that the little loaf of bread takes. That transition is HARD and takes time.

Surround yourself with POWERFUL women

Imagine one day you’re an adult and you’re sitting in a classroom. Your teacher walks in and says, “in 9 months you are going to speak Chinese fluently”. Stay with me on this one…. For 9 months you read about speaking Chinese, you talk to your friends who already speak Chinese, you day dream about speaking Chinese. But you never actually LEARN Chinese because you have to wait 9 months till you’re ready learn on the job. Then, one day, your teacher says “okay, speak Chinese” You can’t, right? It would take time and practice yes? HAVING A BABY IS JUST LIKE LEARNING TO SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE. You need hands on practice, practical help from others and you need TIME.

The really clever Mums Rosie, ask for help. Help looks really different to each Mamma. Some help looks like a cooked meal delivered (with instructions and minimal steps) from friends, sometimes it looks like your beautiful neighbour holding the baby for 20 minutes so you can shower and maybe even poop without panicking that you can hear the baby crying in the other room, and sometimes it looks like the Coles Online man who delivers your groceries. Be careful with the Coles online man and don’t mistake him for someone who actually loves you. In your early days of motherhood, you might be so excited someone is actually hand delivering you chocolate cake you will strongly consider open mouth kissing him to say thank you. Don’t though… he might stop bringing you cake.

Today help arrived at our house in the form of Grandpa John and your Ouma Sylvia. You are besotted with both of these humans and I fade into the background as you are whisked away for tummy time fun, raspberries on your belly and more cuddles than you know what to do with. I have been so nervous to let anyone help because “no one can look after Rosie like I can”. What a glorious load of bullshit. Armed with 458 pages of notes, pre-made bottles, diagrams of the perfect poop (not really, but I’m really stressing the point that I’m completely insane) I walked out of the house and set off into the sunshine, alone (and only slightly excited about it…)

Have I scared you by letting someone else look after you? No, I haven’t. Has having someone else put you to bed made you forget our special goodnight song? Nope, I’m already warming up to sing it again tonight. Have you cried hysterically and panicked your Grandpa John? Yep, you actually did that but it was good for both of you!! And most importantly, have I taken a deep breath sitting in the Chadstone food court while simultaneously shoving copious amounts of chicken schnitzel in my mouth? Absofuckinglutley. It was glorious.

In the few short hours I was away from you today Rosie, you were practising the important skill of being away from me and knowing that you’re still safe. Over the coming months, you will start childcare and I will be forced to leave my heart in the care of someone else. Through doing this, I am helping you become the brave, independent, social little girl I dream of you being, all while knowing your mother loves you fiercely and is never more than a phone call or 10 minutes away from you. I will teach you as you grow that you can ask for help too, from tying your shoelaces to learning how to navigate emotions and the world around you.

I pushed the re-set button today. I asked for help, and help arrived. I am re-energised, ready for more and a better mother because of it. Get those cheeks ready Rosie, I’m coming home.

All my love,

Your Mum

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