After playing international netball I thought giving birth and being a mum would be easy. Ha! Wasn’t I wrong!
A very good friend of mine gave birth three weeks before me and she assured me that labour wasn’t that bad. I trusted her and thought; well if she can do it, I’ll be fine too. All those years of busting my body playing netball would have to count for something, wouldn’t they?! Boy, was I in for a rude shock.
Labour hurts A LOT! And unfortunately for me, my epidural wasn’t effective. I have since found out that this happens quite regularly, something I wish I knew before going into labour. Having an epidural was the only thing on my birth plan so it was a total game changer when things didn’t go to plan.
But as hard as it was, giving birth has given me a new perspective on women: we are tough, very tough! In fact, to all you mum’s out there, well done you. I admire each and every one of you for bringing your babies into the world.
The first six weeks of Maddie’s life are a bit of a blur! I never take for granted the fact that I am lucky to have a beautiful baby girl, but I would have to say it was the toughest six weeks of my life. No one tells you how sleep deprivation can make you feel cray, how difficult breastfeeding is to establish (especially with grazed nipples), how such a little person can completely control your life, or if the tears from the baby blues will ever end. They also don’t tell you that you’ll probably be witness to poo flying across the room (seriously), experience poo explosions that go through layers and layers of clothing, or how conversations with your partner change from discussing where you should go out for dinner, to whether or not your baby did a number two that day! However, something they do tell you is how much you will love your little one, and that is definitely one thing they have right.
Having a baby is a world of the unknown. Jace and I still don’t know how we were ever allowed to take Maddie home (we seriously had no idea what to do with her!) but today she is happy and healthy, so we must have done some things right.
I really do wish I knew a little bit more before giving birth so I wanted to share with you the things I’ve learnt.
- Take it day-by-day. People told me that the first 12 weeks are the hardest. When you are 4 days in, 12 weeks feels like an eternity away. I found that focusing on the present day rather than wishing time away (until we reached that three month mark) made me enjoy the time I spent with Maddie more.
- Ask for help. Whether that be cleaning, cooking, feeding or settling your baby. It never hurts to ask.
- Find someone you can talk to about the good AND the bad. I was very lucky to have three friends that had babies around the same time as me. I don’t know how I would have survived this time without their constant support and unwavering understanding. Find your people!
- Have a shower every morning – amazing how something so little can make you feel so much better.
- Feed you baby a bottle (of either expressed milk or formula) from time to time. I had a break in doing this between Week 8-10 and then Maddie refused the bottle. This meant I couldn’t leave her side for more than two hours. If I had my time again I would make sure I gave her a bottle more regularly to avoid this.
Funnily enough, overtime I started questioning how much giving birth actually hurt and whether it really was as hard as I remember it. Is this Mother Nature’s way of getting you ready for baby number two? I’m guessing it is as I am now 31 weeks pregnant with our second child, boy I hope it hurts a little less this time.
I’d love to hear your experiences 0f becoming a mum for the first or second time (or even third, fourth, fifth time). Please leave a comment below to let me know what helped you – I’ll store them away for when we get to meet our new baby in September!