Best advice: You really can’t plan, so don’t beat yourself up if things don’t happen the way you want.
I’d bought so many items of clothing for a bigger baby (everyone I knew told me I was going to have a big baby). When he was under 6lbs and dropped further down, we had to buy more. I really had wanted to breast feed, but I wasn’t producing enough milk, so Jude wasn’t gaining weight as he should, I hadn’t considered formula at all and felt like a failure when I couldn’t solely breastfed, because that’s what I’d planned. I’d also planned to have a water birth, but because I was induced on a drip, I couldn’t.
Pregnancy and bringing up a baby is all about going with the flow and taking each day as it comes (so far, for me, anyway). From someone who hates poor punctuality and enjoys being organised, this is something I am still learning to embrace…
Also, bring spare changes of clothes for baby (and you, where possible) wherever you go. I have walked around the Christmas markets with baby sick down my hair and coat for an afternoon last November, Jude remained unsoiled on that occasion, I looked like a scruff!
Worst advice: About labour, so many people (both women and men) wanted to tell me about theirs/their partners horrific labour stories and that I should take all the drugs on offer. Telling a first-time, pregnant women this is not helpful. Baby is going to have to come out, so this ‘advice’, particularly from men, who haven’t actually squeezed out a baby themselves, is not helpful. I had a relatively easy labour (once I was finally induced), but everyone is different, every mother in my NCT group had a different experience. Some would do it again, others wouldn’t. You just know that you get your baby at the end, so just keep going!
The hardest parts of being a mother: I wasn’t a particularly chilled individual before having Jude, so I don’t think this happens to every mum. But I do worry. Often. Am I doing this right? Is he eating enough? Why doesn’t he like tummy time?! Should he be doing this or that by now? It is the most responsibility you will ever have and you just want to do it right.
The best parts of being a mother: I’m well aware that I come across as a walking, talking cliché, but… There seems to be a million little things that make it the best thing, without doubt, that I have ever done. Seeing the pieces of you, mixed with the man you love, is really magical. We still look at him and say to each other “I can’t believe he’s here and he’s ours”.
The satisfaction you get out of a smile or a coo and being the one to soothe him when he’s upset, compare to no other feeling I’ve had. When I feel like I’m at the end of my tether because everything is going wrong, I’ve not slept and I have baby sick in my hair, I get a little smile from him and I feel alright. Little victories, like finally getting him out the house to go for a walk in the sunshine make me feel like the most triumphant mother in the world! I’ve always known that I wanted to have children, but until I had him, I never knew how much happiness it would bring to my life.
Has becoming a mother changed you? I was a complete social butterfly, I loved going out, making plans for travels and gigs. I definitely enjoyed the odd (bottle) of Prosecco. Everyone told me I’d find it so hard not being able to do all the social things I enjoyed. But I wouldn’t change a thing, in fact I found it hard going out for a haircut and colour (as I was about a 4 hour round trip without him). Now, my plans revolve around Jude, I have a new social focus… baby sensory, baby yoga and have made new friends via NCT and my lovely (post-baby) friends make plans that will include Jude, too. I’m currently trying to figure out how to bring Jude to a Kings of Leon concert in Hyde park in the summer so I don’t have to be without him for a night! I certainly haven’t hankered for any Prosecco since Jude’s arrival either, how times have changed!
Hopes for your family: I want Jude to be happy, first and foremost, and a good and respectful human being. I come from a diverse family, Indian and Burmese (and Cornish) grandparents, so I would like to teach Jude about his mixed background and take him to these places one day, to learn about where he comes from. I hope we all grow together, we’re all learning about what it is to be a family and my husband and I don’t always agree on how to do parenting things. We’re still learning to compromise and listen to the other’s opinion on the matter, but generally, it’s making us a closer unit. I hope this continues and Jude grows up with his parents together, in a loving and happy environment. I hope we’re lucky enough to give him more siblings, but right now, I’m just going to keep enjoying (and learning from) what each new day (and sleep-broken) night brings.