Mama Muse • Monique Pater

"I practiced 30 days of confinement however I adapted it to what felt right for me... I went out on a few walks after week 2 to get sunlight and move my body.”

I am a mum of a 4 month old boy. I work in marketing and I’ve recently gone back to work (WFH which has been so much more challenging then I had anticipated). I love to be active - lots of Pilates, walking, horse riding! 

What was your favourite thing about the newborn phase?

Watching a newborn change every day is so rewarding. He would learn new things constantly! And just the purity of his personality shining through.

What did you find challenging about being a new mother?

We have had a very challenging breastfeeding journey which led to trouble with my son’s weight from week 4. At 3 months old he had a frenectomy in the hopes of helping which it did for the most part. It was at this point that I realised being a parent meant making really hard calls for the benefit of your child in the long run. But also the physical recovery - the first few days are a wild ride of wondering if you’ll ever stop bleeding, questioning if your stitches are healing okay and waiting for your milk to come in.

How were you supported during your postpartum period and what would you change if you could go back in time?

I was fortunate enough to have family provide meals and help with things like cleaning. I put strong boundaries in place that visitors were limited and those who were invited in I would love help from and most people respected that. I really wouldn’t change how I embraced this period! 

List your top 3 essentials for a new mother

If you are breastfeeding you will spend so much time nursing, so things to help with that like:

A big drink bottle because you’ll be drinking SO much water (I liked my Stanley cup), healthy snacks because you won’t always have time to organise a full meal, and silverettes will save your nipples. Particularly on cluster feeding nights my husband would set me up a table beside the couch with all the essentials which was so nice. 

Are there any rituals or practices during your 4th trimester you'd like to share?

I practiced 30 days of confinement however I adapted it to what felt right for me. For example by week 4 I was DESPERATE to leave the house so my husband and I went out for coffee a few times. I went out on a few walks after week 2 to get sunlight and move my body. Before giving birth I’d asked my husband to remind me to do the wellness practices that are important - things like drinking bone broth, doing my skincare routine, showering every day, sunlight after the first few weeks. Very simple things that helped me to feel good about myself. 

I was fortunate enough to have a magical natural birth however I was definitely not prepared for those first few weeks of recovery! I also didn’t give my self a lot of space to recognise how intense postpartum is and it’s really taken me until now to comprehend the gravity of becoming a mother - how all consuming that transformation is. For any mothers in the thick of it, you will feel like yourself again and the fog will clear. 

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