During pregnancy, everyone is attentive to your every need - offering tea, cake and sympathy for those swollen ankles.
Then you start your NCT classes, which are all about getting through labour.
But what happens once you give birth? You're sent home from the hospital as soon as possible, a health visitor might pop round occasionally during those first few weeks and everyone comes for a cuddle and a cuppa...but so quickly you're left alone to get on with it.
The balance is completely wrong - we shouldn't focus so much on pregnancy and birth, only to ignore new mothers. How many partners can afford to take the two weeks paternity leave? Even if your partner is there for the full two weeks, that races by far too quickly. We currently live in a flat on the third floor and the lift was broken for a month shortly after I gave birth. I was completely trapped and it really effected me. Not having adult contact meant I was fixated on no.1 son's every tiny movement so every cry echoed around the small flat and in my brain. I started to feel like I couldn't cope, couldn't bear anymore crying and was doing a rubbish job at being a mother.
Fortunately for me, I have a fantastic mother-in-law. In those first terrifying weeks of becoming a new mum, she would come round to do dishes, make my lunch and get lots of cuddles with her gorgeous grandson. She would send me off to nap while she took care of everything - utter bliss. But what if you don't have that support? I can honestly say that I would have seriously struggled without it. I still had some bleak days but I believe I would have developed full-blown depression if I didny have that help and support. Just having an experienced mother around to reassure me made all the difference. So many people don't live near their families anymore and the sense of community that used to exist is gone for most of us.
If you know a first time mum, reach out. Be there to support her - chances are, she needs it and will be hugely grateful.