Child: Cora Matilda, 2.5 years
Expectations of Motherhood: I was SO scared of being tired, I was nervous about nappies too but I honestly just couldn’t imagine being a mother – it made no sense to me that I was growing a little girl! Even after labour, she felt totally separate to the crazy little alien that had been in my belly – it was just bizarre!
Reality of Motherhood: I’m not that tired, and I have never felt so comfortable, having this little sidekick. I remember my mum remarking to my health visitor that I’d really taken to motherhood well, and I was like, ‘?? I’m just chillin’ with my little best mate!’
I feel truly able to celebrate myself after having Cora. I don’t know what the science is, but I am able to handle SO many situations better than I would’ve done previously. There are obviously ups and downs, and I found going back to work heart-wrenching, there are no two ways about it. THAT was when I felt that tiredness people spoke about! I always say, being Cora’s mum is the best most relentless job ever but she is my LIFE.
Taking your child home for the first time: Well, I apologise in advance for oversharing but I had underestimated the potential mess shall we say that happens after having a baby and I only brought one pair of pjs with me for being in hospital.
I had Cora at around 10.30pm and left hospital roughly 12 hours later, so I sent my husband to a nearby Sainsburys for some leggings and a top to go home in. He came back with size 10 leggings and a size 12 top, I mean if that isn’t snap back pressure I don’t know what is! I think we were both just still in shock at having such a perfect labour and a beautiful girl. We left the hospital (me being very uncomfortable with my jelly belly squashed into this tiny black tee) and headed to my Mums for sausage sandwiches! I think sat at her kitchen table having a brew with everyone fussing over Cora on the settee was where I just felt, ‘wow, I’ve had a baby, a 9lb 7oz baby with just gas and air and a bloody paracetamol.’
The best/worst advice: Worst advice – don’t rock her to sleep, don’t give her a dummy, don’t let her get in your bed, basically any sentence that ends with ‘you’re making a rod for your own back’. I almost can’t wait to have another baby to be so much calmer and trusting of my own decisions.
The best advice I had was when the health visitor came on Day 5 and said, ‘Why don’t you try a bottle?’. I know lots of people will feel a way about it but damn, the weight that lifted off my shoulders that afternoon was immense and I know I made the right choice for myself and my girl.
The hardest parts of being a mother: The guilt, and that there are not being enough hours in the day. I love my job and I love my side-hustle, but I do hate every second of not being with my girl. It sounds so sad, but that’s the reality. I said to a friend recently that it actually makes me work harder because if I’m going to be in the office, or at an event, I’m going to be doing the best bloody job I can do and make it worthwhile.
The best parts of being a mother: Just having a laugh with this amazing girl I made! I’ve thought that every age is the best age so I’m just so excited to see what’s coming next. I just love being Cora’s mum and people have said ‘You know you were your own person before her,’ and yes, of course I was, but wow, I’m just so much more whole now. She makes me feel happiness I could never have imagined (sorry Wayne ha!).
Has becoming a mother changed you? I’ve become so much stronger, so much more self-reliant and self-assured really! Quite big claims aren’t they but I truly believe I’m a much better person after giving birth.
Has your perspective on work changed since becoming a mother? I mentioned this earlier, being a mum makes me work so much harder. Saying that, it makes me work harder in the hours that I need to be in the office for. I am coat on, bag on out of that door as soon as I can be, no doubt to pick up my laptop and continue once my girl is in bed, but I unfortunately am not as dedicated to after work drinks as I was previously because I just ache to get back to her. I work for an amazingly flexible company who have made my return to work as easy as possible and are so accommodating when it comes to the curve balls family life can throw at you. ‘Tilly Hobbs & Co’ obviously takes up a lot of my time too but I try to involve Cora as much as possible or again, work after she’s gone to bed.
Hopes for your family: I just hope we’re all happy! That’s all. Happy with a chance to always chill on the couch together at some point in the week. That’s where I’m happiest – snuggled on the couch on a Sunday afternoon watching a Disney film. I want Cora and any other babies I might have to not feel pressured into this life timeline we set ourselves! If they want to go to uni fair enough, but it’s not something I’ll enforce if they have other plans or other places they want to go.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: YOU DO YOU – of course seek help and advice if you feel it’s necessary but you know in your heart what’s right when it comes to you and your bebe.
For example, when I first had Cora I let people pick her up etc when I’d just got her asleep for fear of offending them, but after a while I realised, no, it’s not worth the agg! These visitors can leave after an hour or so but I’m left with a screaming baby and a (very loose) schedule out of whack. That’s when I started saying ‘if you wake her, you take her!’
Extra Info: Hannah, 27 – I live with my little girl and husband and have recently bought our first house which was a big renovation project! I work as a Marketing exec in the city centre and also run Tilly Hobbs & Co – selling Manchester themed baby muslin cloths and blankets.