I’ve been sat here for a long time, staring at my screen thinking of what to write.. and guess what? My mind is BLANK, I’ve got nothing, yet when I set this up I had so much to write.. typical!! So, please bare with me whilst I get to grips with writing posts, because I have no idea what I’m doing or what to write! I’m doing this for fun, something to fill my time and just to share my honest, raw insight to what parenthood is like – none of this ‘glamorous instagram-fake shit.’
I guess me not knowing what to write though, is the same as me going into parenthood.. not knowing what I’m doing. I have worked with children since I was 16 and my eldest niece was born when I was 13, so because I have plenty of experience behind me, I should know exactly what I’m doing and be prepared, right? Wrong. I was far from it! Nothing, not even years of working with children and having young babies in the family can prepare you for parenthood and to becoming a mum yourself; especially when you’re only 20yrs of age. So if you’re like me and was prepared, then all of a sudden, you weren’t.. don’t worry, it’s completely normal.
I must assure you, that it is totally okay to not be prepared because being a parent involves you learning and picking up things as you go. Every day I’ve learnt something new, whether about myself or about parenthood and my baby. Parenthood is a learning curve and the best adventure you’ll ever go on! If it isn’t, then apologies, but you don’t get a refund! You’ll have people giving you loads of advice and helpful tips which you remember right up until the moment that baby is placed into your arms and in that moment, you forget everything and are overcome with fear, anxiety and you cannot think. Your baby is crying and you’re frantically trying to figure out why and what to do to stop them crying and that was the moment for me that I thought to myself, ‘I cannot do this, what am I doing?’
The thing that will make you feel so unprepared, more than anything is that first night at home. Oh.My.God. Freddie was an angel the whole time we were in hospital, there were loads of babies around us screaming, but Freddie was silent the whole time, it was almost as if we didn’t have a baby because he was so quiet – then we got home and boy did we know we had a baby. Freddie decided to cry from 11:30pm till somewhere around 3:30/4am and nothing we did, would stop him. I was in pain, sore and exhausted from the birth, as was Ryan shattered and we were anxiously trying to calm this little person we knew nothing about and we didn’t know how. You can read loads of books, talk to other parents, go to loads of antenatal classes, have your midwife appointments but nothing prepares you for the not knowing. We cuddled him, swaddled him, sang to him, fed him, burped him, changed him, wrapped him to make him warmer then unwrapped him because we thought he was too hot, played white noise, gave him a teddy, put something that smelled of me in his crib, walked around with him and more but nothing was helping. We felt useless, completely out of our depths and why? Because in hospital, there are so many professionals there to help you, to fall back on when you didn’t know what to do, but at home, well, you’re on your own. This was the moment, I looked down at Freddie, whilst Ryan was fast asleep next to me and said “ok, so you are mine and no one is coming for you. Oh shit. I’m a mum now.” I didn’t know it was possible to feel so many emotions in one go! I was a mum, just like that. You’re probably wondering what it was that eventually stopped Freddie crying.. a dummy. A bloody dummy, of all things! I was adamant that he wouldn’t have one, but we had them incase and thank god we did. Freddie was seeking comfort and he couldn’t get that off of me or Ryan but he could from a dummy, so fine. Anything to stop your baby being so distressed and for some sleep at 4am! I underestimated how Freddie would adapt to coming home! In hospital there’s loads of noise, bright lights and people poking and prodding him, compared to the quietness and darkness of his new home with us and no one but us to look after him.
You won’t be prepared for:
- the amount of poop your tiny human will produce along with the smell and the wind – wow, Freddie could sure poop when he was first born and fart – he’s worse than Ryan and that is saying something! Sorry babe x
- the amount of time it’ll take you to leave the house and the amount of stuff such a tiny person needs when you’re going out – even for an hour or so. I felt like we were off on holiday..
- the amount of washing you will have to do and the amount of time you will spend washing and sterilising bottles!
- if you breastfeed – the amount of time you’ll spend with your baby attached to your boob. You could spend an hour or more feeding and the second you put them down, they will cry for more! This is the perfect excuse to grab all your favourite snacks, stay in bed and binge watch your favourite shows!
- how hard breastfeeding is!!! I’ll save this topic for another post because I have so much to say.
- the visitors – you will find so many people will want to come round and visit your new baby when all you want to do is sleep and keep them all to yourself. DON’T be afraid to say no – I wish I had because I was so overwhelmed and I overdid it too soon.
- day 3 – ladies, good luck and to the boyfriends/husbands/fiancée’s/partners.. I wish you even more luck. I did nothing but cry. Over nothing. Ryan only had to look at me and I cried. The hormones are unreal.
- the post-partrum depression. Again, I will leave this for another post – there’s a lot to say.
- all those ‘friends’ that were all over you when you announced your pregnancy and can’t wait to meet the baby when it arrives – nowhere to be seen.
- the lack of sleep or in my case – NO sleep! It wasn’t even that Freddie wasn’t sleeping or settling, he did. I just couldn’t sleep because I was too worried about him and found myself staring at him, constantly. Or, I’d finally drop off to sleep and he’d begin to cry for whatever reason. Let me tell you one thing.. men are rubbish during the night. Once they are asleep – they are ASLEEP and nothing will wake them. Freddie could be screaming right next to Ryan’s ear and he would not even flinch! I could hit him, shout at him, take the cover off him – nothing!
- the afterpains of birth – everything hurts, even things you wouldn’t think possible.
Regardless to all of these things that you cannot prepare for and certainly challenge you, the one thing you really cannot prepare for is the unconditional love you’re overcome with once your baby is put into your arms. Within seconds of Freddie being placed into my arms and onto my chest, I had fallen in love all over again and the love is getting stronger every day. Just when I think I can’t love Freddie anymore than I already do.. I find myself even more in love with him than before. You’ll hear the phrases “there’s no love, like the love you have for your children.” or, “you don’t know what love is until you become a mum.” quite a lot when you’re pregnant and you won’t think them to be true. They are. I’ve never known a love like this.
You may spend most of your day covered in sick, poo, saliva, snot, your own breastmilk, food and much more, you may want to pull your hair out by 10am, you may want to sit in a corner and cry, you may feel like you’re failing, you may never get 5 minutes to yourself again, you may not be able to go to the toilet alone, you may not get to eat your dinner whilst it’s hot again, you may not do a lot of things again – however much your life changes after you’ve had your baby – I promise you, you will not change it for the world or want it any other way.
Being a mum is the hardest, but the best, most rewarding job. Ever!