Surviving the early days

Sleepless nights, wearing your pyjamas all day and wondering if life will ever be the same again – the early days of motherhood really is a rollercoaster. But it’s nice to know you’re not alone! In the beginning.

I was really lucky to have a lovely pregnancy without any of the usual horrible side-effects. I loved watching my belly grow, practising yoga, eating for two and reading up on all things pregnancy related. It didn’t even occur to me to read ahead to what actually happens when the baby’s here, and boy (or girl!) was I in for a shock!By some miracle, I managed to give birth without any pain relief. Yes it did bloody hurt, but having no idea what was going to happen (ignorance is such bliss), I decided that the only way I was going to stay focussed was to just say no. After all, our bodies are designed for this and one way or another the baby’s going to come out! So, when Josef finally arrived and after I’d been cleaned (and stitched!) up, my husband and I watched our son sleep, looked at each other and realised that our lives had changed forever.

So what happens now?

Less than 24 hours after Josef was born, we arrived home as a new family. It wasn’t just about us any more. We had a new little person to take care of and he relied on us 100%. I remember tucking him into his Moses basket on that first day, feeling totally shattered, every bit of my body aching and thinking: ok, what do I do now? Those first few days were completely overwhelming – my house was like Piccadilly Circus and we were the new tourist attraction! Getting to grips with parenthood was hard and I found myself questioning everything – Should I pick him up? Why is he crying? Why won’t he sleep? Has he eaten enough? I decided the best way would be to go with Josef and what he wanted – sleep, food and lots of it!

Breast is best?

I thought my boobs had already reached maximum capacity, but when my milk came in, I woke up with a pair any glamour-girl would be proud of. Classy! Breast may very well be best, but nobody tells you how hard it can be. I know it’s the most natural thing in the world, but I really struggled. I was too embarrassed to just get them out, so I found myself spending hours locked away, trying to perfect my ‘latch’ and feeling really isolated. And, just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, I got mastitis, which is excruciating – I would have rather given birth again!

It’s been emotional.

The first few weeks were such blur – the days and nights merged into one. Josef was quite unsettled. My husband and I would pace the house at all hours, frantically flicking through What to Expect for answers. When Josef did sleep, we watched him like hawks (I even poked him a few times to make sure he was OK!). One night I had a good cry and couldn’t stop! It was such a weird mixture of emotions, but once I’d let it all out, I started to feel so much better. A good chat with my midwife confirmed that I wasn’t losing my mind (even if I was practically living in my PJs!) and that everything I was feeling was totally normal.

Get out there

Once the babymoon was over and my hubbie went back to work, I realised that I had to do my best to get out and get a life. I signed up for a few mum and baby classes. Yes, it took double the time to leave the house and usually by the time I was sorted, Josef would do a poo or be ready for his next feed, but it was good to be out in the real world and chat to other parents going through the same thing.

I’m in love with another man

After the first couple of months, I felt myself getting more and more confident. I realised I could do it. I’d started to suss out Josef’s moods, cries and sleep patterns and however hard it was, looking at my son made everything worthwhile. The love I feel for him is amazing – it’s like we’ve known each other forever. Being a parent is a crazy rollercoaster of emotions, but knowing that you’ve helped to create a new person is an incredible feeling. I can’t imagine life without my new man!

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