Can anything set you up for becoming a mum? For all the different aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and beyond? I thought I was pretty open-minded, but there have definitely been some shocks, testing times and tears. However, being a mummy is my greatest achievement and here is how we are doing six months in.
I knew being a mum would be amazing because everyone said it would be, but I always assumed that was due to the love you have for your baby (which it mainly is) what I didn’t anticipate is that when you leave the hospital with your new teeny bundle of joy, you pass an initiation into a new club called “The Motherhood”. The Motherhood is amazing, you suddenly enter this place full of superwoman that grew, delivered and raise babies. You’re in awe of them and you’re in awe of yourself for doing it too!
Having a baby has given me so much confidence, I know my place in the world while before I felt I was just muddling through. I feel so content and happy to be Rory’s mum and am so proud of that title. I am just mind blown by both of us and what we’ve achieved. It’s amazing how babies give you this new lease of life. I now want to really look after myself and do the best for him. Everything is now for him. I am here for him.
Six months in and I really cannot remember a life before Rory – I remember when Rory was a few weeks old telling a pregnant friend that it’s not as hard as everyone makes out. I can’t remember what context that was in, but I stand by it. Having a baby IS hard, but when you have attahcment to this little human being its incredibly rewarding.
The thing that threw me the most because no one warns you about it is how clingy babies are, which once you have realised and got your head around that it makes total sense. You are all they’ve ever known and they don’t realise you’re meant to be separate people, in their head you’re still attached to eachother so no wonder they want you near all the time. You are their safe place. Saying that having a clingy baby attached to you all of a sudden IS draining and you do very quickly get touched out and crave your personal space. When Rich used to get through the door I would give him the baby and run away to do normal things like empty the dishwasher and just be something more than a mum.
I also find the “snap moments” really trying – I didn’t think I’d have them, I thought I’d be more patient than that but I am only human! When Rory is fighting his sleep, moaning and crying I find that such hard work and just want to snap at him.
Generally, though I have taken to being a mum and to my baby really well and I am incredibly proud of both of us for adapting to this journey as well as we have.
Body image has never been a big thing for me, I am just rubbish with noticing things like that. If someone commented that someone had lost or gained weight I would be the last person to notice as I just don’t have that awareness. People would ask when I was pregnant if I was nervous about my post baby body and truth be told, I just never thought about it. I was slack at preventing stretch marks until I got them, and even then I wasn’t really bothered.
Then postpartum came and a few weeks after having Rory I remember looking in the mirror and thinking “ughhh” I felt so sorry for my poor little beaten up body – I was still so sore from my caesarian, my tummy was bruised all over it from the operation, I had this new scar to think about, swollen up legs from being on the drip during labour, my boobs were huge horrible milk leaking machines that just constantly made me feel sticky and gross, I was bleeding and my belly and bum looked like let off airbags. I was a mess and I remember feeling really really horrible then. I don’t think I will ever forget that image of myself and how much I wished for the weeks to pass so my body would repair.
Then my body went down, it ‘pinged back’ as best as it could but it is still just as alien to me. Without sounding like a horrendously moaning cow I went from pre-pregnancy being a size 10, to then being pregnant and bigger, to then suddenly dropping to a size 6. I have never been a size 6, nor have I ever wanted to. I liked having an hourglass figure and all of a sudden I was “boyish” – my clothes stopped fitting and I just didn’t feel myself. I looked in the mirror and saw a thigh gap and my ribs poking out and its just not who I am.
I know so many people must hate me for saying this, but when you don’t feel yourself its just odd. As a new mum I don’t have the time to take in this new body of mine with no bum or boobs, I don’t have time to go out and try new clothes to try and make the most of this new body so I just wear the old clothes that now hang wierdly on me. I am hoping to adjust very soon, but I go on holiday soon and it feels weird to be self consious at the thought of being in a bikini because I’ve LOST weight.
It’s never helped that when you lose weight very quickly (through no intention) people become very concerned. They ask questions like “have you been eating?” and comment on how you don’t look after yourself, but as a new mum I am very much last on my list and also no I haven’t been eating… you forget to eat until 10pm as a new mum. I think my weight loss started when I was pregnant, I only put on a stone and considering 8lbs 6oz of that was Rory, thats not a huge amount. I think I lost weight but obviously, couldn’t tell, then combined with lugging around a baby and lots of walking him about in a push chair I have slimmed right down.
This isn’t to be moany, but its important to talk about all aspects of post baby weight.
My relationship with my husband is completely different and nothing could have set me up for that. As he has two children already I just thought he would know whats up and we would sail through it, but we certainly didnt! We have taken a while to find our feet and our place for this relationship as parents. I have allowed Rory to consume my attention and Rich has allowed that to bother him. I have allowed myself to resent him for complaining that he is tired from work (despite me always complaining about how tired I was when I worked) and he has allowed himself to think of maternity leave as as extended holiday. We had allowed ourselves to become neglectful until we got into a bad place and then we fought hard to claw it back, to look at the other persons grass and realise its not green, to realise that being parents is much easier when you’re a team and when you work together. We are in a way better place but that definitely came as a shock to me.
My relationship with my friends is exactly as I expcted, we have grown apart. I am okay with that and to be honest with my best friend we were like that before. Whenever I saw her you wouldn’t know time had passed, but I wouldnt see her again for abother month despite us both working in the same place. Thats how we work and its okay! My other friends are all also collegues so not having work as our excuse to socialise meant that we just didn’t and again I am fine with that. We are on very different paths and we’ll pick up at a better time.
My mum friends are two very different groups, I have my online friends (nothing makes me laugh harder than saying that sentance, I have online friends?!!) Oh and thank god for them!!! I made a group of friends when I was pregnant and they are my saving grace. Then I have started going to baby groups but my relationship with those mums is still very polite, we are just aquaintances. My other mum friends are old friends that I have drifted apart from previosuly and we have now refound ourselves as mums.
My relationship with my parents is so different, again something I wasn’t expecting but I am so happy about. We are much closer and I have a lot more respect for them and what they have done for my brother and I. I feel way closer to them and am much more reliant on them than I have been for a long time. I am always looking to them for support or company.
So that is it, my six months of motherhood. I could go on but I know this post is already basically a short story. How have you felt about motherhood? Was it what you expected or more?