When I found out I was pregnant I was so excited, all I could think about was meeting my brand new baby angel and how my life would magnificently transform into newborn baby smells, happy giggles and mummy endorphins. As the months went on I started researching baby information, routines and mummy advice. I noticed that there was a lot of negative stories and experiences and I was a little frightened. All of a sudden I wondered how I would manage the night feeds? (I REALLY love my sleep), how would I manage to wash my hair regularly? Would I get time to go shopping? Would I have time to cook nutritious meals? Would I cope with being home alone with bub once my husband had gone back to work? Would I be able to cope with a crying newborn?
Zara was born in early January 2017, she was perfect and my husband and I were delighted. Yes things had changed dramatically, the night feeds were constant and it was a steep learning curve but I have to say, it wasn’t as difficult as I had feared. I built it up to be this hugely taxing life changing spiral of never ending sleeplessness, constant screaming, panic attacks and relentless worry but I soon learned to take it in my stride and enjoy every minute, even if we were having a particularly hard day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was easy, in fact Zara had reflux and she spent the first 5 months of her life screaming and vomiting (everywhere!). I found that I was quickly adapting to lack of sleep, I wasn’t dreading the days because I loved looking after her so much and I realised that these awful stories I’d heard so many times can and do happen but my god it’s over quickly and everything that comes with looking after your son or daughter is so, SO worth it.
I don’t mind waking up and comforting my crying baby at 3am, because I love her and I want her to feel safe and secure. Yes, I might have a difficult day being dreadfully tired but I’ll go to bed early the next night.
Yes, I often have vomit in my hair and all over my clothes, my black t-shirts and leggings are now an early 90’s grungy dark grey colour from over-washing – but who cares? It won’t last forever and I can buy more clothes.
Breastfeeding was a nightmare for us, Zara just didn’t want to latch so I expressed for 7 months around the clock. It felt like torture at the time, I was attached to the pump anywhere up to 6 hours a day, but I did it because I felt like it was the right thing for me to do and I’m proud I was able to do it for her for so long.
Bottles are a never ending cycle of washing, sterilising, preparing and refrigerating but Zara is now down to three bottles a day, it didn’t last very long at all, soon she will be on cow’s milk and she won’t be my tiny bottle fed baby anymore.
Showering at the very beginning was so hard, Zara did not like being put down. I cradled her in my arms for around 5 months straight each and every day. She refused to sleep on her own because the reflux was irritating her throat and making her vomit constantly so all of her naps were in my arms. I showered before my husband left for work or very late at night (eyes hanging out of my head) but I managed it no less.
I didn’t cope very well being at home all week so I learned that it was important to get out and about whether it was the local shops or a walk around my neighbourhood. I was often anxious leaving home; what if she had a blowout and I forgot a change of clothes? What if she started screaming and I couldn’t settle her? What if she doesn’t sleep and it throws our routine? All of these things happened and more. One day after a shopping trip she became really unsettled so I packed her up into my car while she was screaming and I realised that I had misplaced my parking ticket to leave the car park. After five or so minutes of looking for the goddamn ticket (baby screaming in the back seat) I decided to drive to the boom gates and call security, I didn’t know what else to do. Luckily a lady answered, I told her that I was a new mum, my baby was screaming and I lost my ticket – the lovely lady raised the boom gates without another question and off I drove. Things ARE going to go wrong but you just calmly deal with it (and have a meltdown once you get home).
I couldn’t be bothered cooking nutritious meals at night so my husband and I ordered from a local food delivery service. We had fresh lunches and dinners all week without absolutely zero preparation and it was a life saver. Yes it was a bit more expensive than the weekly shop but it was worth it to get us through the difficult period.
When Zara first started teething she had a massive meltdown and nothing would soothe her. We tried cuddles, Frankie her fairy, Panadol, Teething rings, Bonjela, a bottle, a bath – nothing would work. I was beside myself, feeling so helpless while your little angle is crying in pain is extremely anxiety provoking. I sat on her nursing chair and cuddled her while she cried, she finally fell asleep and I tucked her in to sleep. She had a terrible week developing a bleeding nappy rash and hardly sleeping – but it soon ended, the teeth popped through and she went back to her happy smiley self. Having gone through this I know that we will be ok the next time her teething flares up.
I asked my mother’s group yesterday if they found that things were getting easier or harder as our little ladies were getting older and they all agreed that it was getting easier. We were saying that our babies were more independent, easier to soothe, we had more flexibility to our days and just more fun in general with their little emerging personalities.
So if you’re expecting a bundle of joy and finding yourself feeling nervous and dreading the various #mumlifestories, please know that it’s not as bad as you may think. You will adapt, you will learn how to get by and you will do it all again out of pure love for your little angel. Enjoy every moment.