Child: Eligh aged 4.5 weeks
Expectations of Motherhood: I have wanted to have children for as long as I can remember so it’s hard to put into words. I love being with children and young people. I have always felt it would be the one thing that I would do well, that I was supposed to do. I also wanted to share and ‘grow’ someone with Gareth, my partner, as an extension of us, someone we could share our love and life with.
Reality of Motherhood: It’s really hard, they don’t give much back and it’s a little boring sitting around seeing all the jobs that I could/should do but can’t actually get to as he’s attached! In fact I just can’t do anything on time or quite to plan. My life really has changed totally unlike how i envisaged it would be i.e. just the same but with a baby. Im also totally exhausted and pretty ratty (thank you Gareth, my partner, for your amazing patience).
All that said I never gave much thought to how amazing and totally flabbergasting the whole pregnancy and birth thing would be. I grew a baby, WOW! I am also enabling him to grow and nurture; I get to hug him; to watch and share every tiny new thing that happens. I get to see how much joy he’s brought to Gareth and to my family and friends.
So in short It’s pretty amazingly fabtastic!
Taking your child home for the first time: It was scary but probably not as scary as the thought of staying in hospital for another night. As we walked out of the hospital the world just seemed drastically altered, maybe not suprising given the I’d just had my first baby, but the outside world seemed stark, sharp, cold and grey (a wonderful Manchester summer!). My partner was carrying Eligh in the car seat and I just kept on looking at him and thinking, ‘Is he warm enough?’; ‘Is he going to cry?’ and a million other fleeting worries and questions. I realised that as of now I was a grown up, before that i think i had been masquerading as one, that we were on our own and would have to work the answers out ourselves. Our friend came in his VW van and gave us a lift home, Eligh was in the front seat, Gareth and I sat in the backseat. I remember feeling startled and a bit over whelmed but most of all that we were travelling home in style!
The best/worst advice: People give you so much advice. The best bits are always supportive, encouraging and empowering. The worst are confusing, annoying and cloaked in ‘I know better than you’ness. My favourite piece of worst advice was from a drunk man who, noting Eligh was asleep, said, ‘Don’t let them sleep during the day or they won’t sleep at night’. It’s so bad because it’s total rubbish but also because I actually took it on board, in my addled post birth brain, and started worrying about it!
The hardest part/s of being a mother:
1. Sore and cracked nipples – I found myself thinking that it was actually worse than birth.
2. Changing nappies- it’s so traumatic at first for everyone involved.
3. The pitch of crying when your driving and can’t stop.
4. The startled crying that accompanies the changing of a nappy at 3am – it seems to reach into every part of the nighttime quietness.
5. Its 3.45am (after point 4, a feed and burp) you lay them down in their cot (for the third time) their arms fall to their side, their breathing is deep and regular. You release that you’ve been holding your breath and you exhale slowly. You turn away, avoiding the creeky floor board and climb into your comfy bed and pull the quilt over you. Then…they wake up and cry!
The best part/s of being a mother: Life, love and happiness.
Hopes for your family: That we will all continue to have a good life, to love each other and those in our lives and that we are happy. Also that we regain the ability to carry out a conversation that is not about poo, spew and hours of sleep gained/ lost.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mothers: Even if I said that its rock hard you probably won’t believe it until your in the throws of those first few weeks when you may, in a lucid moment in between your broken sleep, cast your mind back and understand what I meant however, I would just say; you’ll be ok, it will get better and you are doing brilliantly!
Also, If your breast feeding get lanolin cream, in fact get lots, you can get it on prescription from the Doctor.
So, as with all the best things it’s challenging but absolutely worth it.