Lindsey and Henry

Name: Lindsey Bowers

Child: Henry, 2 (and 6 months pregnant with a girl)

Location: Didsbury, Manchester

Expectations of Motherhood: I had visions of my life pretty much continuing as it had before. We’d still go out for lovely meals, but with either a sleeping baby or a patient, well behaved child sitting and eating with us. Being one of those families you see at the park or the pub beer garden in summer with a cute cooing baby or toddler running around. Life as normal, just with a new addition!

I think in my mind I’d just added a baby into all the fun,happy situations and activities we did. What could be so hard about that?

Reality of Motherhood: I honestly don’t think I considered the flip side to the new arrival. Like, what do you do to occupy yourselves on the wet, windy weekends now there is a child too? I don’t think Henry would appreciate Gossip Girl box sets or long pub lunches as much as me. Also what happens when you’re ill, or worse still, you’re all ill, and all you want is to sleep, but you have to be a mother first?

Saying that, the reality is much better than my expectations. I didn’t expect to love my child as much as I do. Such emotion and protection for one thing seemed impossible before. 

Life is funnier now too! I spend a lot of my time with Henry, laughing. Seeing him experience new things for the first time is a joy and getting to enjoy things like Christmas with children around is the best.

It’s hard, extremely tiring and trying at times, but 100% worth it.

Taking your child home for the first time: Henry was a little bit small when he was born so we had to stay in for the first night to check he could maintain his temperature. It was the last place I wanted to be and was very tired and emotional when my husband Dave had to go home. When we were given the green light to leave the next afternoon, I was so excited to get back. Dave’s dad came to collect us, but forgot the car seat so we couldn’t leave until he’d been back for it. That was the longest time! It was wonderful to get back that evening and spend our first night at home with Henry, both completely clueless as to what we were supposed to do with him – a feeling which lasted a long time! 

The best/worst advice: We found as soon as I fell pregnant with Henry, that once you have a baby you’re seemingly fair-game to be given all manner of (mainly) unsolicited advice. You’re told what to feed them, how to feed them, where they should sleep, how much you should hold them. You simply HAVE to try this routine, that book, don’t give them a dummy, make sure you swaddle etc, etc. The list is endless, but you come to realise that no one has all the right answers. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to raising children and you can feel swamped with the thoughts and theories of others.

So, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I don’t have a best or worst piece of advice we received. I found it all quite overwhelming so took to figuring it out for ourselves instead.

The hardest parts of being a mother: When he’s ill. It’s getting easier as he can communicate a bit more and let us know what hurts, but that’s been one of the worst bits. Right from the start we knew something wasn’t right and he seemed uncomfortable and in pain. He was diagnosed with Reflux when he was 5 weeks old thankfully we got the right medication to help him take his milk and keep it down. He also had colic for the first 3 months which was awful as we couldn’t do anything to help. Nothing eased it and he cried constantly. 

These days it seems different, as although we are more aware of what’s wrong with him, it’s still equally as hard because he’s a proper little personality. To see him go from a happy, chatty playful boy to being clingy, quiet and sad is tough as you can feel pretty useless. 

The best parts of being a mother: Definitely seeing him grow and develop daily. I’m always amazed with his new skills and love seeing him get funnier, more confident and show new sides of his emerging personality. He cracks me up daily. 

I’m also a sucker for the love and hugs than only a toddler can give; all encompassing, smothering ones, usually accompanied by chocolate or snot. 

Has becoming a mother changed you? I’d love to say that having children turned me into a patient and wise, earth-mother sort who really found myself in my new role. But in reality, nothing was that extreme. I’m certain that I’m more confident, more loving and hopefully my patience is improving, but I still feel the same as before. I enjoy the same things, give or take (I put my recent love of crafting down to staying in more now I have children). 

I’d also hope I’m less selfish and I’m really trying to reign in my fears and phobias so as not to pass them onto my children. 

Hopes for your family: The obvious things; that they’re happy and healthy, but also that they are confident enough to believe they can achieve whatever they want in life. I want us to be wholly supportive of their choices – that way, if things don’t work out they feel they can talk to us about it, and not feel that they’re judged. There is a lot of negativity out there as it is, which can make you think you’ve failed before you’ve even tried – I think as a parent you’re there to bolster their dreams and cushion the blows.

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: I still see myself very much as a beginner, so don’t feel I can dish out the advice, but if I was pushed I’d just say try to relax and not beat yourself up when you’re finding your feet in the early days.

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