Children: Bill aged 2.5 and Iona 11.5 months
Expectations of Motherhood: I thought being a mum would be simpler than it is. My mum had me and my elder brother with a similar age gap to my children and I never remember seeing her struggle or look stressed and she rarely, if ever, lost her temper. She was always lots of fun and seemed to know what to do for best. I wanted to be like that I suppose; carefree and fun but practical too.
Reality of Motherhood: As soon as we decided to have a baby, I was pregnant with Bill straight away. I suppose I was quite shocked by that and there were a catalogue of weird events that happened around the same time, like being burgled, some incredibly snowy weather, our neighbour dying and a new family moving into to what had been a peaceful avenue. For the first time in my life I felt out of control.
placed on daily injections and ended up having many more appointments than average. I am not really a good patient and I don’t ever take anything stronger than paracetamol, so the whole thing seemed a bit alien and over the top.
Taking your children home for the first time: Bill was born on his due date in a very
busy St Mary’s Hospital. The birth was fairly straight forward, but the aftercare was shockingly poor and I discharged myself and came home. We were in the lift downstairs and Andy (my husband) said, “when are we coming back again?”(in other words, for number two). All I could think was that my stitches were killing me and I wanted a decent brew.
The best/worst advice:
she was 5 months old at the time and had gone from the 91st to the 25th centile! I was furious.
was about getting out of the house with the baby so you don’t lose your marbles.
Best: My GP told me to ignore the health visitors! That was very good advice. But generally I think you have to trust your instincts and do what you think and don’t doubt yourself even if you are tired and worn out.
The hardest parts of being a mother: I am not sure what’s worst – the worry about not doing the right thing at the right time and the consequences of your actions, or the tiredness which some days can be overwhelming, and not being able to down tools and have a day off…..especially if you have a baby like Iona who flatly refuses to take a bottle.
The best parts of being a mother: Cuddling is a definite highlight, there is no end to small people wanting cuddles in this house. You get a lot back for what you put in. Seeing your babies develop and change is also really exciting and fun, plus seeing Bill and Iona having fun together is brilliant.
Has becoming a mother changed you?: A few years ago, the highlight of my year was going off to the USA for a week to present at international conferences. I loved my job and I always wanted to give it 100%. Now, I just don’t feel like that at all. Even when I return to work in a few weeks time, I will be strictly part-time and while I hope to do a good job, I will be glad to be at home where my heart is.
Hopes for your family: We had always wanted three children, but after having Bill I seriously reconsidered and having Iona that definitely finalised my decision. I don’t feel like one of those people who is a natural mother and I want to do my best for Bill and Iona. I only have two knees to sit on and they are taken now.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: If you can, get to NCT classes and find yourself some good friends, even before you have your baby. I would not have managed without my friends and I have met other good comrades along the way. Friends with children of a very similar age, who live nearby, cannot be underestimated.