Jo, Lucy, Ava and Chloe

Name: Jo

Children: Lucy 9, Ava 6 and Chloe 3 

Location: Didsbury

Expectations of Motherhood: Si and I met when we were teenagers. We went to University and moved in together, then bought our house, got married and babies were next…. that’s how it happens isn’t it? 

Except after all those years of trying not to get pregnant I thought it’d be so easy, you know – stop taking those little pills and hey presto 40 weeks later a gorgeous baby and so on. I imagined a lovely little boy who’d look just like his Daddy, I’d breast feed, go to playgroups, have the patience of a saint and juggle motherhood with work no problem…. hahaha. 

Reality of Motherhood: Well I never expected my pregnancy to fail; to lose my precious miracle before it’s had even had a chance, and then the next one too. This was a heartbreaking journey but 3rd time was lucky for us and we welcomed our gorgeous Lucy Loo into the world 9 years ago after a horrendous labour and birth, which I swore I would never ever ever put myself through again. 

Motherhood was what I expected and more, this tiny person who I’d never thought would be here was real. I adored her, I hated it when even my husband took her out it was so intense. I tried breastfeeding and found it really hard. It hurt like hell, my nipples bled and I was so nervous about feeding her in public I timed going out around feeds, it was crazy. 

I then one day was holding Luce – she was 8 weeks old – and I had this truly horrible feeling; I was petrified I’d hurt her. I had to go and put her in her cot as I just couldn’t hold her. It was terrible. To love someone so much, but then be so scared of them at the same time. These intense feelings went on for 2 years until I was diagnosed with severe PND – seriously.. 2 bloody years! I was never going to have another baby…

Then we decided we needed to at least try and give Lucy a sibling. So we tried again. 2 more miscarriages followed then on the third go we conceived Ava. Ava is a determined little soul. I had bleeds throughout the pregnancy, bad ones, I remember going for the scans weekly as even the midwives thought I’d lost her numerous times, but there was her little heartbeat beating on the screen. 

I was petrified about my PND returning and had CBT therapy whilst pregnant to help with my feelings. It was great! Ava arrived without any problems and the birth was a much better experience. Yes it hurt, but I was in control and was home within 6 hours. It was so different than my experience with Lucy’s birth. 

I was more in control this time round, less panicked and coped a lot better, breast feeding was fantastic this time too and I have to admit I fed her until she was 2. The funny thing was as soon as I got home from the hospital that day with Ava, I knew I had to do it again. I was desperate to! It took 2 years to convince my lovely husband that it *would* be a good idea to have 3 children as 2 was far too neat! It was fabulous. I finally got my textbook pregnancy and an amazing really enjoyable delivery. Honestly.  

Taking your children home for the first time: I remember when we brought Lucy home, how tiny she looked in the car seat, how slow we drove, how we got home and showed her around the house (even though she was asleep) and then thought ok…what on earth do we do now?! 

Taking Ava home was easier, I didn’t feel quite as unwell and I remember going to my neighbours sons 5th birthday party in the back garden with my brand new baby. Someone asked how old she was and I suddenly realised she was 9 hours old…think I was still high as a kite as I went on a bouncy castle and managed to not let my insides fall out. 

Chloe came home to two very excited big sisters, so that again was a different experience.  A busy household where the chance of having any rest was very slim. But I finally felt like my family was complete. Those first days I was shattered, but very happy. 

The hardest parts of being a mother: The continuous worry that everyone is happy, healthy and that you aren’t doing something totally wrong that is going to damage your children forever. 

The fact that I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep for more than two consecutive nights, for over 9 years, yep 9 years. 

The juggling of relationships, when your child comes home and is sad because someone’s been mean… it really hurts. 

Sibling rivalry is awful, the fights, the noise, the handprints up the walls and the washing.

Arrgghhh how can 3 small people make so much mess?! 

Wondering if you and your partner are ever going to go out beyond the local neighbourhood ever again? 

In fact just to talk about something that isn’t child related would be amazing. 

Juggling my job as a remote pa with the demands of a young family. I know they feel like I’m always working sometimes, but I love that after 9 years of being a ‘Mummy’ first and foremost, I have built my own little career again. 

The best parts of being a mother: Seeing the personalities of the little people you created emerging from the tiny bodies and screwed up faces. 

The dependency on you, although scary as hell, is also truly magical. 

Your children’s faces when they do something new or manage something for the first time. 

The unconditional love. 

Seeing the relationships within your family change and grow. 

Your toddler saying ‘Love you Mama’ and really meaning it! 

Best Advice: Bin the books! This came from my Mum. I was so desperate first time round to get into a routine, and failed every time. It took me a while to realise that babies kind of get themselves into a routine when they are ready, but then they also change it just as you start to get used to it! 

Worst Advice: To keep breastfeeding with my first child, I endured 6 months of pain, when really I should have just admitted defeat and given her a bottle. I used to dread every feed and think this contributed to my PND. Yes breastfeeding is fab, cheap, a lovely bonding experience and I had that the next times round but if your nipples feel like they are going to fall off for 6 months, don’t beat yourself up about using a bottle! 

Advice for new/expectant mums: Enjoy every precious moment. It goes so so fast. 3rd time round I feel like if I blink I’m going to miss it. Before I know it they’ll all be at school. 

Go with your instincts, you really are the best person for your baby. 

Try a few different playgroups; meeting other mum’s is a great way of realising you are feeling ‘normal’ but it took me a few goes to find some that weren’t petrifying cliquey. 

Be kind to yourself! You are going to be very tired for a while, so does that washing really need putting away right now?….

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