As a new mum, the first 7 weeks of our little girl’s existence has been the best 7 weeks of my life but also the most challenging! I was told so many stories of ‘what to expect’ … a lot of these things I brushed off & was deluded in thinking that they wouldn’t happen to me! I can’t speak for David and his newly found fatherhood (maybe I should do a blog post on his perspective?) But, these are 10 random things I have personally learnt so far… & yes, a lot of them are what I had been told!!
Putting her down whilst sleeping is like a game of operation : honestly, I can spend so long rocking her to sleep, to the point she is literally snoring! I lay her down and BAM eyes wide open.. and back to another hour of rocking for me!!
I can survive on a cup of ‘cold’ coffee all day until dinner time : for anyone that knows me, you’ll know that before and whilst I was pregnant I couldn’t go an hour of not eating without feeling faint, I was always eating! Now.. I simply don’t have time (please see point above)!
A bit of body fluid isn’t going to kill me : before having Harper the simple thought of baby sick or baby poo anywhere near me made me vomit a little! Now, I’m a changed woman! She has literally projectile poo’ed across the whole room & I’ve taken a deep breath, wiped it off my hand, arm, shoulder and dealt with it. It’s only because it’s her though, any other child and I think I would have a mental breakdown!
I’m glad we bought a bath mat before giving birth : when you gotta go, you gotta go! Especially when you’ve just given birth, your pelvic floor is all over the place! The bath mat serves as a very comfy mattress for Harps as she lays there staring at me the whole time! What else am I going to do with her!?
It does all go back to normal : yes, I am talking about your privates! Honestly, as I had a ‘natural’ birth, with forceps & stitches involved etc, it really does feel like it will never be the same again! It will… it’s been 6 weeks and I can officially say that I am no longer uncomfortable/in any kind of pain!
Shock alert – baby’s cry! : yep, they really do! I took Harps to town on my OWN the other day.. she was awake for most of it & the whole way round all I kept thinking was ‘please don’t cry‘. I was terrified of her crying and getting all the ‘she doesn’t know what she’s doing‘ looks! Until she fell asleep, I went to pay for the car park and in walks a woman holding her similar age screaming baby, rocking him & shh-ing him, whilst pushing the buggy and multiple bags… at that moment I realised it could happen to anyone. My little angel was peacefully sleeping, what was I worrying about? I gave this mum a friendly ‘we’ve all been there, you’ve got this’ nod and smile. Ever since then Iv thought differently about it, if she cries that’s fine.. she’s my child and I know how to soothe her.
I don’t know what I am doing, but I’ll learn : from the moment Harper was laid on my chest, I didn’t know what to do. Anything I had read disappeared from my brain, I had forgotten everything I had been told… but it soon comes back. Luckily my family and friends have been life savers & now I really do feel like I do know what I’m doing, I know how to look after my daughter and what she needs/wants! & if I don’t know? I’ll ask! Nobody knows everything, & that’s okay… a lot of it really does come naturally like many people say, your mothering instinct takes over and now on days where Iv washed, straightened my hair, put makeup on and left the house with a happy baby.. I really do feel like superwoman!!
Breast isn’t always ‘best’ : Harper is ‘exclusively’ bottle fed & I am not ashamed of that whatsoever. It was a decision made by both myself and David way before she even arrived, I didn’t feel like I even wanted to try. I am not the most confident of people and knew I wouldn’t want to feed her in public and to be honest, I didn’t want the hassle of getting the latch right or guessing how much milk she has had each feed! I did feel however that the phrase ‘breast is best’ was very much pushed on me, at our antenatal classes, at the hospital whilst waiting for induction.. everywhere! Everyone seems to presume that you will be breastfeeding, there only seems to be ‘help’ available to those who are breastfeeding & as soon as you say ‘she will be formula fed‘ you get the eyebrow raise and the ‘oh, I see‘. We weren’t taught once how to prepare a bottle by any professional… I think it’s pretty sad really, we should be able to choose what is right for US and OUR child, and be treated equally on our decision. Thank god for the Tommee Tippee prep machine!!
She doesn’t need THAT many clothes : I think we had ‘first parent syndrome’ before Harper arrived. Her wardrobe was bursting & that was only with newborn & 0-3 outfits!! All other ages ranging from 3-12 months had to be vacuum packed and put away!! But in hinds sight I would have taken into account the month she is born in and when she will be 0-3, 3-6 etc. Harps has so many jumpers and knitwear but we are in the middle of a heatwave so she will most probably never wear them! Also, from around 28 weeks onwards I was told I would be having a ‘big’ baby.. so why would I then go and buy a million tiny baby items!? Moderation is key… I won’t change though, the Next sale is on at the mo and I cant say no to a BARGAIN!!
I look OK : I must admit, as a woman that suffers with IBS, I loved being pregnant, I loved my tummy getting bigger and actually having an excuse to be bloated! I loved wearing tight dresses and not having to cover up my belly the whole time! But now she is here it’s back to baggy, unflattering outfits as the ‘mum tum’ is definitely a thing! The sight of my stretch marked flabby jelly belly, & not being able to get ANY pre-pregnancy bottoms over my hips, isn’t my favourite part… & it doesn’t matter how many people say “they are your tiger stripes” or “you should be proud of what your body has achieved” … cos I agree completely, but it doesn’t make looking in the mirror any easier the first few weeks! However, I have also began to start looking at the bigger picture. Looking at myself as a mum, not a supermodel. Iv learnt to shop for different styles that flatter other parts of my body and I know that it’s all superficial at the end of the day! I will go on my holidays in 4 weeks time & I will ROCK my new ‘shape-wear’ swimming costume with Harper stuck to my hip because I can.. & whether I liked it at first or not, I have the most beautiful little girl & if I had to cut off all of my limbs to have her I would!! This is my new identity… I am mummy, and I look okay!