Diary of a first time Mum
Blog: Diary of a first time Mum
For the past 9 years I have worked in various roles all centred around mothers and their children, I felt as prepared for motherhood as I could possibly be– what I was absolutely not prepared for was pregnancy! I was one of the unlucky women who had all day morning sickness which started when I was 6 weeks pregnant and finished 4 weeks before I gave birth, this is not at all what I signed up for.
Let me paint you a picture…
cute maternity clothes, adorable wee bump, glowing skin, enjoying that magical feeling when your baby moves, being waited on hand and foot, having an excuse to eat whatever I want…
Firstly, there’s no glow – let just clear that up, it’s an outright lie. My skin flared up with eczema, I got weird dark patches on my face and I got acne in places I have never had acne before, but I never got a glow! Then there’s the maternity clothes, I splashed out and bought myself a great new maternity wardrobe -heck if I was getting fat I was at least going to look cute, but as it turned out I hardly wore anything as I had a few months where I was an awkward size -the maternity clothes would fall off me or look ridiculously baggy, but my regular clothes were way to tight and uncomfortable, I lived in leggings and harem pants, not quite as glamorous as I anticipated.
A few special mentions should also go to the reflux, back pain, boob pain, swollen feet (which FYI doesn’t go away after baby), stretch marks, incontinence, constant exhaustion, constipation, and itchy skin.
But don’t panic, it’s not all a lie!
You will get the adorable wee bump, try enjoy it because it only lasts such a short time then its just a heavy, huge annoying mass that weights you down and prevents you from seeing… well anything! Also that magical feeling when your baby kicks or moves, that truly is the most amazing moment – the first few times!
After a few months of constantly getting jabbed in the ribs the magic wears off and you start to wonder if your having a baby or a frigging kangaroo. The other awesome truth is that you will get waited on, people will flaff over you, carry your stuff and make you sit down which is great and some days I milked this for all it was worth, however, on others day I would snap and declare pregnancy was not a disability and I could carry my own damn stuff… wait did I mention the mood swings?
Don’t worry, it’s all worth it in the end… apparently!
Having a Newborn
You know that perfect moment when you hold your newborn baby and feel an overwhelming sense of love and fulfilment? Yeah me neither. Turns out that doesn’t happen to everyone. Instead I lay on a hospital bed with a tiny human on my chest, her little face smushed up against mine and thought ‘what the heck am I meant to do now?’ followed quickly by ‘how long do I have to stay like this?’. I was uncomfortable, I was tired and jeepers I was sore!
For the next 48 hours I tried so hard to be infatuated with my new baby as I thought I should be, but the truth is I just wasn’t. I was, however, in absolute awe of the fact that I had created her, this tiny human being was a result of me and last week the kick in the stomach came from this tiny foot that now lay before me. I felt terrified, I felt a sense of wonder, I felt truly overwhelmed with the new role I had waiting for me at home and I did I mention I felt sore?!
Holding my newborn I felt so many emotions and in part this is because biologically you transition from pregnant to parent and as those hormones try to balance out once again you are left feeling like a hot mess.
The point I’m trying to make is that the overwhelming, car lifting, all-consuming sense of love does happen, for some of us it happens the moment we lay eyes on our baby, for others it may take some time and it can even be a slow progress that gradually builds up, but before you know it you will find yourself leaning over her bassinet creepily staring at her while she sleeps and seriously contemplating waking her from her slumber purely because you miss her so much.
Yup, motherhood is a roller-coaster.
I always knew that ‘mum guilt’ was a thing, over the years I have worked with Mums who were afraid to tell their friends/family they were doing sleep training, I have talked to Mum’s who had repeatedly lied to their coffee group and Mum’s who were too embarrassed to feed their baby in public, all because they feared the judgement. So, while I was aware of the ‘Mum guilt’ that seemed to affect so many, I struggled to understand why these women cared – their birth story, how they feed their child and how they chose to parent should not at all be influenced by the judgement of others, yet for so many it does. Therefore, you can imagine my utter surprise when I began my parenting journey and found myself flooded with my very own ‘Mum guilt’. Turns out its all part of the job.
For me, the guilt started soon after we announced the arrival of our tiny little bundle. I was exhausted, emotional and in a truck load of pain post c-section -I was a hot mess – when a well-meaning friend txt me and asked, ‘how was your labour?’… immediately the feelings of guilt and disappointment sunk in. I hadn’t had the birth experience I had planned (because really who does!?) and as I stared at my phone I was so unsure of what to reply but I was at the ready to justify my birth story.
I still don’t understand why I felt so guilty about having never laboured, perhaps it was my own disappointment or perhaps it was a fear of judgement that I was ‘to posh to push’ or maybe it was all the crazy hormones because a few months down the track and I realise now how my child arrived in this world is irrelevant to that fact that she arrived healthy.
However, the guilt doesn’t stop there, oh no! As a first time Mum trying to get a handle on life I was learning on the job and I was doubting every decision and second guessing everything. I felt guilty for leaving her to cry in her bed because she was so unsettled and I REALLY needed to poo, I felt guilty that we had to top her up with formula and I felt guilty because she loved watching TV!
Once again, I could not ration why I felt so guilty over these things but the more I spoke to other Mum’s, the more I realised that I was not alone. Mum’s all over are feeling guilty for working or not working, for co-sleeping or cot sleeping, for breastfeeding or bottle feeding, there is guilt in spades just waiting around every corner, but rest assured, for every guilt you carry, somewhere there is another Mum who feels equally as guilty for doing the exact opposite. So my advice to you is simply do whatever the heck you want!