Dear Mammy to be,
Congratulations on your pregnancy! It really is such a special time for you and your family. It may not be the easiest time in your life, but every morning spent clinging to the toilet bowl, or night spent gulping Gaviscon is worth it for those little kicks that surprise you every single day. Your first pregnancy really is so special and at the same time, terrifying. Everything is so new. Everything is so unknown and yet every second should be savoured.
I have tried to write this post about 20 times! Each time I get half way through, I end up pressing the delete button as nothing I write seems to do the past year justice. I wanted to put together a post on my experience of my first year being a new mammy. I’ve never been one to sugar coat things, so I want to share the good and the bad times. I want to show that not everything is sunshine and lollipops but at the same time not everything is sleepless nights and crying! I want my blog post to show the Mothers and fathers out there that what they aren’t alone in what they are going through. But where do I even start? I suppose as Maria in the sound of music would say ” let’s start at the every beginning. It’s a very good pace to start?
It is almost a year since my beautiful baby boy was placed into my arms for the very first time. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment! Everyone told me to be ready for the rush of love and while I did of course love him from the moment I set eyes on him, it was the fear that got me when I saw him for the first time! All of a sudden I was responsible for the teeny tiny human in my arms! I was responsible for feeding, cleaning, changing and loving this little person. Sometimes I wish people hadn’t told me the be ready for a rush of love. If I am honest, while of course you love them from the second they enter the world, that love is nothing compared to the love that grows every single day. At this point, almost a year on. My love is borderline obsessive and the guilt I felt for not feeling that rush of love the moment he was born, is a distant memory.
Feeding can be another big battle. For some things go swimmingly and their choice of feeding goes off without a hitch. I was desperate to breastfeed. I felt that it was one of the most basic things my body is made for. In my eyes, I thought, my body providing food for my baby was the best and in fact the only way. Pity my body didn’t get this message! Regardless of what some people might think, there is no shame is giving a baby a bottle! It may not be what you wanted, it may be exactly what you wanted, but at the end of the day, the best thing is for your baby to be fed! If we stood in a room full of 100 adults, would you be able to pick out those that were given a bottle or those that were given the boob! Whatever way you decide to feed your baby is in fact the best way! Guilt should not be an emotion that we even have to think about! Enjoy those special moments with your baby. The connection will come regardless of how the food comes!
Let’s talk about sleep. When I was pregnant if I heard it once I heard it 100 times . ” Enjoy your sleep now, as its all about to change”. I don’t think I have ever not enjoyed my sleep. I’ve have always loved sleeping! I was an 8 to 10 hours a night kinda girl, so knowing this was going to change did worry me just a little. However, don’t worry, something kicks in and you manage. You manage to get through those first few months of waking every few hours. You manage to get out of bed and get on with your day. There is also no shame in sleeping when the baby sleeps. The house work will eventually get done, the clothes washed and the dinner made. Grab those extra 40 winks where and when you can, as a happy and rested mammy, means a happy baby!
Once you’ve popped that little sprog out get ready for another question that used to drive me nuts. ” Is he sleeping though the night yet?” No! No he’s not! My baby waited until he was 10 and a half months old before he wanted to give me the pleasure of a full nights sleep. I wish I knew what I did differently to make that happen as I would be a rich woman if I could bottle that little secret but it boils down to the fact that babies will sleep through the night when they are good a ready. Some are ready sooner than others and no amount of old wives tales will get them to sleep any faster!! It is not your fault!!
Have you been warned about poo? I am not talking about that first black poo that everyone talks about.Yes that’s disgusting but usually you can play the I’ve just popped out a baby card to get out of that one. Oh no. I am talking about the pure obsession that you are about to experience over poo! Nothing can prepare you for that! Colour, texture, consistency, frequency! The list is endless. I’ve archives of pictures logging the different types of poo. Don’t even get me started on the explosive ones!! Or the ones that are projectile while you’re changing a nappy at 330 in the morning when you realise that you’re all out of wipes ! Oh those ones really area hoy! I had only ever changed one nappy before I became a mammy, yet within days it was like second nature and bar the odd nappy or two, I didn’t see poo! Instead I saw my little man needing to be cleaned! Just be ready for the poo obsession!!
Try not to look at social media and magazine of people fitting into their pre pregnancy jeans five minutes after giving birth! Losing the baby weight can be a struggle but it try not let it get in the way of this special time. Those jeans are not the be all and end all. Not everybody bounces back in quickly. I am still struggling with the excess pounds and while sometimes it does get you down, it is important to remember that your body gave you the most precious thing in your life!
Lean on those around you. People want to help and while we may want to do everything ourselves, taking offers of dinner, babysitting etc will make things that little bit easier. There is also no failure in asking for help. They say it takes a village for a reason!
It also ok to not feel ok. We have all heard of post natal depression and so many think it will never happen to them. But if it does, it doesn’t make you a failure! It doesn’t make you a bad mom! I am not going to throw my tuppence worth in here but just know, it’s ok and things will get better! Also try and be mindful of post natal anxiety. It is not something that people hear about all that often but it’s there and there is no shame in it! Help is there if you need it!
My first year being a mammy has honestly been my most challenging year ever and at the same time the best time of my life. I have never felt such a powerful feeling as the love I feel for my little boy. I have never been more proud of myself and my husband for how we have worked together as a team and powered through some challenging nights and finally I listened to my gut! People can will give you advice and they will mean well but there is nothing more powerful than a mother gut! Listen to it and don’t doubt yourself. You are doing your very best and you too should be proud!