Expectations of Motherhood: I was the first of all my close friends to have a baby and as an only child I’d had little, if no, experience of motherhood or babies. I also decided that NCT classes were not for me and that surely it would be easy enough following my own instincts! So I had the obvious expectations of knowing my life would change forever, we’d be tired and emotional and yet it would also turn us from a couple into a family.
Reality of Motherhood: I have had a wonderful, happy spirited son who has brought us more and more happiness as life goes along. Having Jude has been the biggest achievement of both our lives, and seeing him turn into his own person, with his likes and dislikes and sense of humour has been an absolute joy. He cheers us up when we are sad and makes us realise the real value of life. I know it sounds soppy but as children grow they give you so much back, all the effort you put in in the early months/years pays off tenfold the older they get. We love including him in everything we do and he embraces every situation he is put in. We have also made a conscious effort to stay in contact with all our friends, whether they have children or not, and still regularly go out (whether separately or together) so we haven’t lost our ‘pre baby’ social lives altogether! Don’t get me wrong, the early days were tough but the mind has a great knack for helping you forget the bad times and remember the good!
Taking your child home for the first time:I was very nervous in the early days. All the questions new mums have about ‘how will he feed’, ‘how will he sleep’ were at the very front of mind, and it was as though I had brought an alien back home. Who was this little person who had suddenly filled our house? This baby had been just a bump before and I was comfortable with that, now he was here and this was when the hard work started.
The best/worst advice:Be yourself and listen to your baby. I’m not here to offer anyone advice as I think it’s up to mum to decide what is best. Although getting as much rest as possible is an obvious one! I never slept when he did in the early days and I paid for it later on! I was too high on adrenaline and too nervous to sleep so I couldn’t physically switch off. I would say just really try to rest and look after yourself.
The hardest part of being a mother: Was initially the change from just being a couple to being a family. You are suddenly thrust into motherhood and it is a huge shock to the system, it took me a few months to adapt properly and really feel that I knew my son.
The best part of being a mother:The love you get back from your child and the innocence of childhood. Seeing the world through your child’s eyes.
Hopes for your family:
After only wanting one child for about 3 years we are now planning for a brother or sister for Jude, fingers crossed! He’s at an age where I can really see the benefit of siblings and think it would be the making of him. But as an only child with a wonderful childhood I see nothing wrong with having an only child.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums:
Don’t read any books! They will just make you confused and feel like you are a bad mum. Follow your instincts, if you think what you’re doing is best for your baby then it probably is. Try to have a mummy buddy who you can talk things through with – a problem shared is a problem halved. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, you’re not wonderwoman!