Expectations of Motherhood: I expected being a mum to be tiring and demanding but I also hoped that it would be very rewarding. I expected to still get a decent night sleep; that he would wake up for a feed and go straight back to sleep. I expected to have a happy baby toddling round before I knew it. And I thought I’d be able to have a hot cup of tea and eat my dinner in peace.
Reality of Motherhood: Motherhood is the hardest thing I have done. It’s a 24/7 job where you can be called on at any time. Having a newborn lying in their moses basket and waking to be fed and changed; I couldn’t wait for Eoghan to be more active and be able to play with him. I didn’t expect him to follow me everywhere I go – I can’t even go to the toilet on my own. Getting a second to myself just does not happen when he is awake (that is unless grandma is about, and she lets him do what he wants!!)
Taking your children home for the first time:I was so scared when I brought Eoghan home from the hospital. I wanted to get home so bad. I wanted to be in my own bed, to have a shower and a decent cup of tea, but I was terrified I didn’t know what I was doing, and if I’d notice if something was wrong. Luckily my mum stayed the night and I trusted she knew what to do if a bad situation occurred. Seeing Eoghan in his car seat in the car ride home; he was so tiny. I honestly thought, how can a baby this tiny be supported by this huge car seat? One year on and he barely fits into it! Its amazing how quick they grow…
The best/worst advice: The best advice would of been to make food while pregnant and freeze. I didn’t do this, but I wish I did!! And also my mum said, “Leave the cleaning. If people are bothered by the mess they wont come again and that’s their issue.”
And as he reached 4 months and fought sleep for hours and just cried and cried, I got told, “Leave him to cry.” How could I possibly leave someone I love more than life itself to cry all by himself?!
Has becoming a mother changed you? Yes, I’m definitely a different person now, although I still have the same passions, but my aspirations and goals are no longer about me and they are all about Eoghan now. Him being happy, having everything he needs, doing well in school, and feeling supported 100% in whatever he decides to do with his life. Being responsible for another life, but your own, changes everything. How can it not?
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Take help that family and friends offer. If you are pregnant, make dinners in big batches and freeze it for the first few weeks. Buy the basic medicines: calpol, snufflebabe, nasal spray – it wont be long until first jabs or they get a cold. Trust your instinct; you really do know best. You’ve known your baby for 9 months. You know him/her more than anybody.
Extra info: Me and Eoghans dad finished our third and final year at university during Eoghans first year, starting back just 2 weeks after he was born, nobody thought it’d be possible but we both graduated with higher 2nd class degrees. You can do just about anything you put your mind to.