Naseema and Thomas

Name: Naseema 

(originally from Trinidad in the Caribbean)

Child: Thomas, 19 months

Location: Manchester

Expectations of Motherhood: I never really had any sort of expectation of motherhood. I was one of those women who had a plan: studies, marriage then kids. I always adored children and had always wanted a little boy that I could name Thomas – my wish came true when Thomas was born! I believe I expected motherhood to mean always being there for your child no matter what the consequence. My mother who is a very strong role model for me has always influenced my view on motherhood. She is a very hard working, career driven woman who raised three children working shifts and being the driving force of our education. I expected to be that sort of woman that she is – hardworking, strong and courageous.

Reality of Motherhood: I am sure that everyone says this but no matter how tired you are during pregnancy nothing can prepare you for the tiredness that you will face once you have a newborn! I always tell my friends who are expecting, “Make sure and get as much sleep as possible before the baby comes.” 

We had a lot of feeding issues with Thomas so we settled on bottle feeding him despite persevering for over three weeks! I have learnt that no matter how many other mothers judged me because I bottle fed my son, I did what was right at that time. Thomas is one of the happiest, healthiest and most easy going little boys I have ever met. I felt guilt for not breastfeeding him, guilt for not being as patient with myself, for not understanding the real needs of a newborn, and I also wished I had gotten a little more prepared before his arrival. You know what though, I am glad that I did everything the way that I did because it makes me a better mother. I am so proud of what me and my husband have accomplished considering that we knew nothing about raising children and here we have a happy little Thomas who is a massive joy in our lives. We cannot imagine life without him.

Taking your child home for the first time: I was in hospital for four days because I had a lot of problems breastfeeding Thomas. When we brought Thomas home I will always remember me giving Paul (my husband) a look as what to do now?! We were never shown how to bathe a newborn since the midwives only focused on breastfeeding. I somehow managed to figure out how to put a nappy on my son because of my past experience of seeing my cousins change their babies in Trinidad – keeping in mind this was about 10 years ago! We panicked when it came to breastfeeding and even though my milk flow wasn’t great after the 6th day we still persevered. This was the beginning of the hardest part. Through long and very hard days and nights we eventually gave up and decided to formula feed him. We had no clue from then on what was right and wrong, so we did our best. With the help of Dr. Brown’s bottles our little man was very contented and fed. 

The best/worst advice: Sleep when your baby sleeps. Who said that?! I never slept when Thomas slept. Being a first time mom I always heard every single sound he mades, even up to now I still hear every little squeak – anxiety was a massive problem. I was always anxious about feeding him and making sure he was always taken care of properly. I wish a lot more mothers could be honest about these issues since it’s always frowned upon to speak about anxiety. 

Over the past year, being on maternity leave, I’ve grown to be totally infatuated with him. During maternity every single second I needed to see him and make sure he was a happy chappy. My bond with him grew after the next few months after his birth. Now, our little Thomas is our travelling sidekick and I am attached to him at the hip.

The hardest parts of being a mother: Leaving him for work and dealing with the sleepless nights. We went through a rough patch with him sleeping (10 months – 13months) where he would get up crying because of his teething. Having to work on reduced sleep was really hard. I can handle everything else but one of the hardest things I think in being a mother is dealing with the lack of sleep.

When I finished my maternity leave, leaving my baby to return to work was difficult. I miss my Thomas every single second of the day. Children come into your lives for a second, but they will always be in your hearts forever. I don’t think women can relate to this until they have a baby of their own.

The best parts of being a mother: I saw a quote when Thomas was born which goes like this, “Sometimes the small things are the big things”. Thomas is a very happy and fun loving child, very free spirited and I am so proud to see him develop into a confident little man. I have been with him for every single one of his “firsts.” From his first smile to his first step and words. I enjoy him every single second that I am around him. From those very difficult days at the beginning to the very second up to the present I am very proud to be his mother and do enjoy every cuddle and kiss that I get and of which I sometimes steal. 

Has becoming a mother changed you?: Motherhood has definitely changed me and the way that I view life. I have learnt that my family will always come first. The needs of my family will always be second to every other need in my life. My life and my goals are always centered on what’s best for my family and the example that I set would hopefully show my son the benefits of being a focused individual.

Hopes for your family: I want to show Thomas the world! He is a wonderful baby to travel with. I also want to provide the best possible upbringing for him so that he can always reflect on his life and say “I had a really good childhood.”

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums?: If someone offers you help take it. You won’t get an award for being a “supermom.” If someone volunteers to make you a meal or buy you takeaway for dinner accept it. Motherhood is hard enough and every single ounce of help that you can get, don’t refuse it.

Always be honest with your feelings. Don’t think that because you are having a bad day you always have to be strong. Post baby blues exist and it helps to talk about it.

When you think that you are “fat” look at yourself and say I have given birth to a wonderful life and take pride in the miracle of life that you have created.

Join baby groups if you feel like you need to meet other moms who are going through the same as you. Trust me, other women do but they are not always open about it. You will meet someone who is nice and understanding that went through the same as you – that’s how I met my friend Katie!

Be patient with your baby and yourself!

Always give yourself a pat on the back, if you don’t give yourself credit for your child no one else will. 

Most importantly always enjoy every single moment with your baby because every single second you spend with them is priceless –  they do grow up fast.

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