Charmaine and Maya

Name: Charmaine 

Child: Maya, 21 months

Location: Manchester

Expectations of Motherhood: Being a mother meant joining this secret society that I knew little or nothing about. I had never held a newborn baby, changed a nappy or even babysat a small baby. How would I cope with poo, sick, sleepless nights and huge responsibility? Would I feel overwhelming love as soon as I set eyes on him or her? Would I ever leave the house again?

Reality of Motherhood: How to sum up on one paragraph? All I can say is, every cliche is true. All the songs I thought were a bit cheesy ring true now: ‘You are the sunshine of my life’, ‘You are everything and everything to me. ‘ I still can’t believe I’ve been pregnant and given birth to a beautiful daughter. I’d be lying if I said motherhood was fabulous all the time, it’s the most emotionally and physically demanding ‘job’ I’ve ever had but it’s indescribably great at the same time.

Taking your child home for the first time: Twenty minutes in freezing conditions of the hospital car park, trying to fix the car seat and £17 worth of car park fees later, we were finally home. It really was a magical time. Maya was due on Christmas day but to our relief she was born on 21st December. When we took her home and placed her Moses basket next to the Christmas tree it all looked very biblical. I’m not religious at all, but Christmas held a special significance for me that year .

The best/worst advice:
Best advice: Don’t listen to advice, trust your own instincts. 

Worst advice: Don’t listen to advice, trust your own instincts!

The hardest parts of being a mother:
Lack of sleep (surprise!) 

All the conflicting information and advice. 

Not knowing why your baby is crying.

The best parts of being a mother:
For me I’m still blown away that we made this little girl and I have given birth. I am an adopted person and I love my family, but the fact that Maya is my flesh and blood is profoundly important.

Hopes for your family:
Happiness, health and all the usual things. Maya is part Jamaican and German. We aim to bring her up bilingual and help her appreciate all aspects of her cultural heritage.

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums:
Try not to focus solely on the birth. For me the hardest bit was getting used to having a newborn and coping with all the demands.

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