Before I became a mum, I thought I knew the meaning of the words – hard work and tired. I didn’t know I was born! Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change any of it but I seriously had no idea what I was getting into until both my beautiful girls graced this earth.
After falling (took a little while with number 1 – I was not patient) both my pregnancies where pretty straightforward, sickness and craving for chips and chocolate… then ice cubes from second trimester (weird) and then all the normal aches, pains, moaning (him) and snoring (me) that comes with the third trimester. We signed up to NCT classes as we had no idea about babies, pregnancy or childbirth… and hoped we might find some kindred spirits to go through it all with.
Birth 1 was hell
on earth… one minute I was bouncing on my yoga ball watching Emmerdale, 24 hours later I was rushed in for an emergency C-section. Kidlet number 1
came bursting into the world at lunchtime the following day all 9lbs 4 of screaming red squidginess…Love at first sight.
The birth of kidlet number two was much more sedate and chillaxed… I opted for a C-section and it was such a different experience to the first. Instead of concerned looking surgeons and midwives, this time they were smiling, chatting about names and their Christmas party… the scariest bit was the bloody massive needle pushed into my hand. Kidlet number 2 joined us that morning, though not as much screaming as big sis but still red and squidgy at 8lbs. Again, once those beautiful saucer like eyes fixed on me I was in love again…
After the initial shock of giving birth, and recovering physically, both times it has been the mental journey I struggled with. After the initial baby bubble after you have basked in that lovely warm cocoon of the first few weeks: the new baby smell, the tiny nappies, the little bundle that cuddles into you – the realisation kicks in.
The ‘what the actual f**k have we done’ realisation that knocks you square on the nose – the puke, the different coloured pooh, the bleeding breasts, the tears, the pain, – that shit this is it…I am actually a Mummy. I have to keep not one but two human beings alive – who rely on me 24/7 to feed, water and keep clean, it is a massive wake up call regardless of how prepared you think you are. Some of the more rational of you out there might say – well you did get pregnant again what did you expect? Well in short not this…
Why are you rattling on you say – well simply put I am always getting told I will never get this time back, something I completely appreciate – but those of you who say it to me (and others) just know you are heaping the pressure on any new mum, as WE know we will never get that time back, and if you aren’t having a party you beat yourself up EVEN more.
To add to that pressure, I was left with a huge sense of guilt, emptiness and a sense I was missing something – paranoia kicked in to its highest setting and I went a bit batty. You just feel like everything you are doing is wrong, you are being judged and the women / mums you come into contact with are silently muttering under their breath ‘why is she doing it like that?’
Here I was with two beautiful girls, everything I ever wanted, and it was all I could do to be happy or joyful. Spurning well meaning offers of help, ignoring my other mummy friends (sorry ladies) – preferring instead to beat myself up over how I felt and trying (again) to get it right this time. All it took was some one to say something slightly off, and I would go in to hyper sensitive mode and assume the worst instead of letting it go… Going through the motions is easy – but actually enjoying the motions is something quite different, something I am now learning to do now I have found my way again.
How did I find my way you might ask… speaking to my doctor, seeking help through holistic therapies, and talking to other mums in the same or similar situations.
Time has been the biggest healer but without the help and support, and unconditional love from my family and husband (I think it’s because he is deaf, that he puts up with me), I wouldn’t have found my way out of this tunnel – and I just wanted to impress on others that – regardless of your expectations, and if you find yourself in that tunnel don’t go it alone, build a village of different types of supporters to get you through – and you will be just fine.