PARENTS
19/01/2018 12:16 GMT | Updated 19/01/2018 12:56 GMT

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Is Pregnant: Mums Share Reassuring Advice On Being A First-Time Parent

'It may feel strange and confusing at first, but you’ve got this.'

When New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she was pregnant, she referenced the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”.

Sharing her news on Instagram on Friday 19 January, Arden wrote: “I’ll be Prime Minister and a mum. I think it’s fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn’t be more excited.”

So in the spirit of mums supporting mums, we reached out to parents to see what advice they would give Ardern as she embarks on her parenting journey.

Fiona Goodall via Getty Images

On becoming a mum:

“Be kind to yourself and remember that everything is just a phase. The sleeping will improve, your body will heal and you will feel like yourself again,” Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed.

“Be aware what works for you now may not after you become a mum. Circumstances and feelings change. Don’t be afraid of this but accept and embrace it,” Siobhan Freegard, founder of Channel Mum.

“Don’t try to be superwoman and do it all. You have a great team around you so use them and call on them for support. Your staff will appreciate being asked to step up and your family will too,” Siobhan Freegard, founder of Channel Mum.

“Your job is simply to create an environment that is loving, encouraging, supportive and light-hearted - your child has innate wellbeing and resilience,” Michelle McHale, Attachment Parenting UK, director. 

Somewhere, there’s a parent who did everything perfectly from day 1. We’ve never met them, so if you do, let us know. In the meantime, give yourself a pat on the back: you’re looking after a tiny vulnerable human to the best of your ability,” said mums on Mumsnet.

“Stay true to your gut. We spend most of our twenties ignoring it and when you have a child listen, as it serves you well. And whilst you’re making up parenting as you go along, the gut is the only thing that is 100% reliable!” mum Lauren Marks-Clee. 

“Don’t feel guilty for doing things the easy way, it doesn’t matter if your house is a tip and you have forgotten to brush your hair. Buy a really good baby carrier, because it may save your sanity,” mum Joeli Brearley. 

“Use a dummy to help them get to sleep, I was totally against and it’s one of my biggest regrets,” mum Adele Armstrong. 

On breastfeeding (if you decide to do it):

“Get your baby checked for tongue tie if breastfeeding is painful,” mum Adele Armstrong.

“If you decide to breastfeed, arm yourself with as much knowledge before you have your baby and map out a plan B if things don’t go to plan. Often mums feel terrible at the point when they struggle with breastfeeding and can’t calmly think of a plan B as hormones and lack of sleep meddle with us,” mum Lauren Marks-Clee. 

On harnessing support:

“It’s more exhausting than you can imagine, so whenever anyone offers to help, take it,” Chelsie Jade Boyack on Facebook.

“Don’t try to be superwoman and do it all. You have a great team around you so use them and call on them for support. Your staff will appreciate being asked to step up and your family will too,” Siobhan Freegard.

“Don’t read any baby books, just trust your instinct - find some other women who are due around the same time you can become friends with, only other first-time mums want to discuss all things baby,” Adele Armstrong. 

“To try to rest whenever you can and to accept all help when it’s offered. And if it’s not offered, ask!” Lauren Scarle on Facebook. 

On returning to work:

“Try and get your baby on a bottle relatively quickly, whether you express or use formula is up to you. If you can share the night shifts with your partner that will help relieve any exhaustion,” mum Joeli Brearley. 

|You want to be back at work in six weeks and contactable all the way through maternity leave  - but look after yourself too. You can never get back those early days with a baby and dragging your lactating, still-bleeding body to meetings isn’t progress or feminism, it’s just unwise. Judge how you feel and work to that. The world won’t stop if you need another week or two,” Siobhan Freegard.

“Before going to work, get them settled into whatever childcare arrangement you have chosen and have at least a week when your baby is cared for and you are not back at work yet. No child, no work, will become very rare so make the most of it,” Adele Armstrong.  

“Working with a baby is a juggle so accept that from now. The guilt is real but futile so don’t let it destroy you. Lower your expectations, too. Your house is going to be a lot messier and that’s ok,” Vicki Psarias, blogger at Honestmum.com.

“You will likely feel emotional but that is very normal and certainly does not mean you can’t do your job properly. You may miss the opportunity to cuddle your baby while you’re at work, but just carve out some time at the beginning and the end of each day to relax together. It may feel strange and confusing at first, but you’ve got this,” Joeli Brearley.

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