Hi! My name is Hannah, and I am a new mum.
I have been a mum for 11 weeks now. And after 11 weeks of tears, exhaustion, trying to get the baby to carry on smiling for a photo, leaky boobs, sick stains, poo stains, constantly shouting “where is the muslin? pass me the flippin’ muslin!”, the dreaded trips to Tesco, endless growth spurts (the baby not me) and wondering if I’ll ever get out the house again before lunchtime, I have decided I would write a blog.
Over the past 11 weeks I have learnt a lot about myself, my limits and what it’s like to look after a tiny, yet terrifying, mini me (she is not a mini-me at all, she’s a much smaller, slightly more feminine version of her dad.) So, I thought to myself I’ll write a blog. I’ve heard of people writing blogs and getting their deep theological thoughts down for anyone to see. So I thought I’d write a blog for the few people that may want to read it. Except, mine won’t be about theological issues, rather the hard-pressing issue I face every day…attempting to look after a very demanding, one of the only traits from her mum, hungry baby. Don’t get me wrong, being a mum is amazing and I love it but in these blogs I wish to talk about the not so glamorous side of being a mum, the side in which people fail to tell you about, just a bit of banter about motherhood. I don’t want to put anyone off giving birth and all that follows, in fact, I want to encourage it. Being a mum and childbirth is amazing, whichever way it happens. And you are doing amazing job even when it doesn’t feel like it (and I don’t feel like it most of the time.) I can guarantee at times when you don’t feel like you are doing a good job; there are so many mums out there that feel exactly the same, so we need to know we are not alone in this motherhood!
To start off I’ll let you know a bit about my life.
My name is Hannah, my husband is called Chris and our beautiful bundle of joy is called Grace. As I have started writing this, I have finally got Grace to sleep by rocking her chair for 15 minutes with my foot (I now have cramp and she won’t stay asleep for long so time is of the essence!)
We decided to get pregnant pretty soon after we got married. The response of “wow, you didn’t waste time”, unsurprisingly, gets slightly repetitive when telling people you are 12 weeks pregnant 4 months after you got married. Well, actually that’s exactly what we didn’t want to do, waste time. We thought we wanted a lot of children (oh how wrong we were), and realised no one was getting any younger so we decided we had better get cracking (excuse the pun).
I was very fortunate in having a smooth pregnancy and I enjoyed the majority of it. The only part I do not want to repeat is the first trimester. This special first 13 weeks of my pregnancy was filled with cleaning my own sick off the floor and out of my hair as I didn’t quite make it to the toilet in time, having to run to the toilet at work and then redoing my make up as my face now looked like something from a horror film and non-alcoholic drinks while the all so suspicious in-laws came to stay. The rest of the pregnancy was filled with excitement, anticipation, baby shopping, endless guesses from my mum about what we would name our baby, lack of sleep, trying to make it through the hot days without melting, unexpected nose bleeds in the middle of the night with my concerned husband thinking I was bleeding to death (he has never had a nosebleed before) and terrifying thoughts about labour. But more importantly, successful scans, happy kicking and one sided conversations with my unborn baby while thinking how lucky I am to be having a baby soon.
LABOUR… is it over yet? How much more will it hurt?!
It’s true when people tell you nothing can prepare you for childbirth. I asked for advice, tips, googled it, dreaded it and dreamt about it, but when the day came and we were at the hospital, nothing had prepared me.
I had written list upon list about what I needed to buy for my hospital bag. I had packed music, snacks, magazines (I thought I would get bored!!!), massage oils, friends episodes etc etc, but when it got to it all I needed was A LOT of energy and my husband to hold me up in the birthing pool so I didn’t drown as I was wriggling around in pain begging for an epidural. And no matter how much I begged, I did not get an epidural. If you think you might need pain relief when it gets to it then I would advise not telling the midwife beforehand to not give you any, because they will stick to your wishes (rightfully so) and not give you any!
Baby just woke up so just had a break to feed her, change her nappy and her clothes because yet again I didn’t get the muslin quick enough so she was sick all down her front. Now after the repetitive rocking from side-to-side we are back on the sofa with her asleep on me while I continue. Being a mum you will also find yourself to have been rocking from side to side for the past 10 minutes even when you have no baby in your arms.
Another thing me and my husband swore on to ensure we were as prepared as humanly possible was to watch every episode of One Born Every Minute. I made myself and my husband watch all the episodes we could find of this TV documentary during my pregnancy because I thought this would prepare us for what was about to occur. I was wrong. No labour or birth is the same. And just because Sarah, the relaxed lady at Liverpool Maternity Ward who had a water birth, had a smooth time, defiantly did not mean that little old me at the Rosie Maternity Ward who also had a water birth would have a smooth time. Then again I know a lot of people who have had smooth births so don’t believe everything I say either.
You know you hear horror stories about people who have 3rd degree tears, well, I had them. For those who don’t know what that means don’t look it up. I won’t go into detail but it involved being rushed to theatre exhausted and confused trying to find the energy to sign a consent form as the Doctor explains what just happened and how really important it is that you sign this piece of paper you really don’t care about.
And after all that people still tell me she looks like her dad. What about me! What about everything I went through to grow and get this baby out into the world! I am slowly getting used to the fact that she may never look like me, due to the similarity to her dad’s dark features. Apparently, her dark features also mean she looks like a boy (not sure how). I have lost count of the number of people who have said “What a good boy”. She is wearing a pink dress! I put her in pink dresses most days for all those people who stop to say what a “gorgeous boy”. But yes, she is gorgeous.
It’s fair to stay that after childbirth I have lost all my dignity. Will it ever return? Who knows. But it is totally worth it. And after all that, I still loved giving birth to my gorgeous girl and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.