Last year was a big year for me. In April, I became a mum. It’s been an exciting, tiring, happy, roller-coaster nine months and I’ve learned a lot too. So, with 2015 here already, I thought I’d share with you some of what I now know about being mum…
- Babies cry. A lot! M didn’t find her lungs until around three weeks in so, I spent the first two thinking I had one of those great babies that just sleep all the time. Erm, turned out that was just a touch of jaundice. M started to cry…and cry…and cry. Pretty soon, I was crying and crying too. WTF was wrong with her?! I was convinced she had colic and frantically googled what this meant, which made me want to cry even more…I would NEVER be able to leave the house for months and months because what would I do if she was crying like that in public?! HELP!! Thank goodness for my mum. ‘that’s what babies do’ she said; ‘they cry’. Stop googling and just take each day as it comes – you’ll get her settled’. So, I did and she was right…luckily for us M did settle after just a few weeks and…we were able to leave the house and enjoy mat leave. Hurrah!
- Breastfeeding is pretty special. It’s not easy at first but the perseverance is worth it. I actually got off lightly compared to some of my mom friends, who had a not so lovely experience. It took me a few days to get the latch right and then…we were off. But once Little Miss M got going, she didn’t want to stop. In those early weeks it felt like all I did was feed her and that my boobs were the only thing that would settle her. It was quite stressful and hugely draining. At the time, people would ask me if I was enjoying breastfeeding and I’d think to myself ‘enjoy?!’ ‘are they kidding?!’ As for the thought of feeding her in public, I was panicked to the core. Little did I know, however, that in just a few weeks’ time it would be like second nature and so incredibly special. M loved feeding and I loved nursing her. She would get so excited before a feed and it was amazing to to be able to comfort her in seconds. It was also lovely to watch her wee ‘I’m in heaven’ face when she was drunk on my milk. I’ll cherish the memories forever. It’s also been like… the best diet ever!
- It’s great (and important) to have new mum pals. I wasn’t going to bother doing an NCT class but so many other mums kept saying that I should, that they convinced me. So I dragged Mr. T to a weekly class (including one all day Sunday session!!!) so we would learn everything we would need to know about being mum and dad. It was a bit weird but it was a bit of a laugh too and, I was lucky enough to get a great bunch. All the mums have been there for one another (thank gawd for our WhatsApp group) and we’ve hung out together with our babes. It’s so cute watching them all get bigger and have fun together. I’ve also had a few colleagues on mat leave at the same time, which has been great.
- Your ‘mum instinct’ IS incredibly strong. I didn’t believe it would be but it’s true that ‘mum knows best’. Don’t get me wrong, some days I wonder what the hell am I doing and it’s so frustrating when I don’t know what’s wrong with her. But you have to do what you feel is right, or best for you. You get so much unasked for advice every single day from people everywhere about what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your little one but you quickly learn to take the good bits and ignore the bad. You do get some lovely advice and tips too though!
- The words ‘You’re Doing Great’ mean so much. As a new mum you are, at times, literally like a wee rabbit in the headlights. I took great comfort from my amazing mum and friends (particularly second or third time mums) who told me how great I was doing in those early months. Thanks girls! That SMA advert makes me smile too with their strapline ‘Take it from us you’re doing great’. Nailed it!
- I’m actually quite good at this. I was freeeeeaked out when I found out I was pregnant and, I really wanted to be a mum. It was so daunting though. I can be a bit of a worrier at times and this new chapter opened up a whole new worry list. It was also a bit scary to be saying goodbye to my child-free existence. My life, my body, my relationship, my work bla bla… would never be the same again. And what if I was a crap mom?! It’s funny when I look back now at how I felt. Things aren’t the same but they’re brilliantly different and, as for being mum….I’m loving it! You do miss your ‘me’ life too though so, when the time comes it will be great to get stuck back into work.
- Turning into sporty spice really helps you rock the pram look. Long live sports luxe! Great trainers, great jeans, sweater-style top things…and not forgetting rockin’ vests and hats. Check, check, check. You’re mama and pram ready.
- Weaning is stressful. Some days M eats food. Some days it’s a NO. Annabel Karmel’s recipes are fab and like most uber-enthusiastic, first-time mums I’ve been busy trying her weaning stages. But… it’s just so frustrating when that spoon gets swiped away. FFS! Oh well…maybe tomorrow she’ll enjoy my ‘salmon with tomato and sweet potato sauce’.
What’s your experience of being mum? How was breastfeeding for you? I’d love to hear.