Tag Archives: Being a mum

One Year: Reflections

I have almost forgotten what it was like to have my baby with me, inside me. It feels like that was a different person, a different being. I look at Bubs and can not relate the feelings, the kicks, the rolls, the hiccups with this person that is running around my living room. Being pregnant feels like it was a lifetime ago. Am I different? I think so, but not so different, if you get me. Just older, wiser and probably more tired. I feel sad that this connection is fading, but on the other hand it is so exciting watching her grow and change, and be herself, her own person. I can’t remember a time that she wasn’t here – everything feels so natural and everyday. Things are much easier now, and we all sail by in our little boat through life without too much rocking or bad weather. I am relieved about this. But also, now I have time to reflect, I want to make sure I don’t forget anything.

I sometimes think back and wonder about it all. My pregnancy was so easy, and I enjoyed it. I didn’t really feel that bad (I did feel a little sick at times) but I was healthy, happy and it sort of suited me. I was in no way prepared for the birth I had or what happened next. All the difficulties I experienced, that many experience, the stress, the tiredness. Even that all feels like it was a long time ago, and you know what? It was. Almost a year ago.I sometimes wonder to myself, will I ever get the chance to do it again? To learn from my mistakes, to correct what I feel went wrong? My honest answer is I am not sure. I don’t know. I am not sure if I want another child, and if we did, it won’t be anytime soon anyway. Why do I feel like I want a second chance? I want to do it right – but it may never be right. I may never get to do what’s in my head, I thought I would. It is so unpredictable, you would never be able to say that. And yet I feel if I had another chance, at least I could give it a go. I feel sad that I will never have that ‘first chance’ again. I am not sure I appreciated it all enough at the time – but then again, does anyone? In the heat of the moment, do you take time to breathe it all in and remember that time as you may never have it again?

So for me, seeing her grow, and smile and laugh is lovely. But I can’t help feleing sad that this time has come to an end, this first year. But of course it will, and of course it should. Pregnancy and newborn babies are all consuming, and I feel like the last few months I have been coming out of a bubble. She doesn’t need me the way that she needed to in the beginning. She is learning, and thinking and doing what she wants to – not what I want to. It’s fabulous, it really is, and of course she still needs me, but not in the same way. I guess it is only now I here at this point, I can stop look back and appreciate those first few weeks and months. How I thought I’d never want to think back to those times. But I can barely remember her as she was, so small and frail and newborn, and I need to try and grasp that memory before it fades away. I need her to know that I did love and appreciate that time, even though I found it so hard.

I’m oh so TIRED!

tired

 

People say they feel tired. Tired after a long day at work, or running, or doing some sort of aerobic excercise. People say they are sick and tired, fed up, tired of this, of that. We all think we know how it feels to be tired. As a nurse, I am used to feeling tired, days are long, my client group can be challenging. I thought I knew what tired meant.

I thought I did, until I had a baby.

“Sleep now while you can!”

“You’ll never feel like this again!”

“It’ll change your life!”

” You won’t have felt anything like it!”

These are some of the responses I got in pregnancy. Sleep while I can, pah! I had more important things to do such as go to gigs and watch box sets on DVD whilst eating biscuits.  I knew I would feel different, I knew things would change. I knew I was naive, I knew I didn’t know what the hell to expect.  So I just got on with the life I knew until it all changed, inevitably. I was nervous, anxious about it. I knew I wasn’t that good feeling tired. I like sleep. Don’t we all?

But boy, am I tired. I am blinking so so tired. 6 and a half months later, I am still tired. Sorry if you’ve just had a baby and I am raining on your parade. If I’ve got this far, so can you.

This tired, is not like what I used to feel. This is walking through a fog, can’t see properly, fuzzy headed, I can’t remember what day it is tired. This is a tiredness that is with me night and day. It’s always there in the background, chipping away at my soul. Now I don’t want to sound all negative. These last six and a half months have been, on the whole, pretty darn good. I love my baby girl. We have great fun. But she is like a new battery, and I am on about 4% and flagging badly.

It was worse at the start, definitely. I was so tired at the start, I didn’t sleep properly for days, and that was like being drunk, and having a hangover all at the same time. That was bad. That was extreme. I was scared of the nighttime, as I knew I wouldn’t sleep, that’s how bad I felt. I thought it would never end. Sleeping in 2, 3 hour blocks is not natural. But, she started sleeping longer, and I felt better.

Nowadays, it is just something I have either got used to, or its settled into a numbing yet functional level. I can carry on just fine, I can work through it, but every so often, it just gets on top of you, or hits you for six. I get tearful, I get anxious, I just want to lie down. It’s usually on days when Bubs won’t sleep, or nap. On days when my partner is not home until 9pm at night – days like that are long, and agonising. It makes my motivation sink, and things like my diet go out of the window. I need sugar, I need carbs to get over a bad day like that. Not good. An apple just does not do the same thing, I am afraid.

I know what people mean now. I get what they were saying to me. It wasn’t particularly helpful at the time, as you just can not comprehend how you will feel. I know everyone is different, and maybe you are lucky and full of vitality (if you please tell me how!). I have so many things I want to do, and so many people to see, and stuff I need to sort out. Some days I just can’t even shower until the afternoon as I just can’t bear it.

I ache. I ache all over! In the mornings I wonder if I’ve slept at all. I drag my sorry ass down the stairs. My feet feel like they are stuck, I hobble and stumble until the blood gets back to my legs and I can start to walk properly not like a maimed zebra. I rub my eyes, and I sometimes wonder if my glasses are fogged up – no, it’s just my eyes adjusting to the light before they actually want to. Tea makes me feel better, I sit down and drink tea and try to come to terms with another day dawning.

Once I’m up, if I force myself to get dressed, if I have something to go, and places to be, I can do it now. It is better to go out and do something as if you stay in you just start watching breaking bad when the baby naps and it goes from bad to worse really.

Somedays I feel good. Some days I don’t feel so tired. But you know when you get a chance to have a lie in, to sleep in, your body decides that NO! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DO THAT and wakes you up anyway. Or, lets you sleep longer than gives you a headache for the rest of the day. Why is that? Is that to torture us?

Anyway, I digress. I am tired. I am A Mother.

I hear this is going to go on until she is a least a teenager. I better stock up on Tea. And maybe go to yoga, and sort my limbs out.

 

Mum and Me: changing roles when a baby is born

As I was driving home from my parents yesterday, I was thinking back about my relationship with my Mum. I thought about all the times I had taken her for granted, had been annoyed with her, had said horrible things to her, when I was a child and a terrible teenager. My Mum has always been there for me despite all of these things. And now I have my little girl, I am thinking about all of these things that I will have to experience too. I will need to be prepared for my little girl to love me, hate me, make fun of me, be annoyed at me. It is only now I can appreciate my Mum, and everything she has ever done for me. I feel terribly guilty that I used to be so blase, that I used to treat my Mum so indifferently. When I was pregnant, my Mum was very excited, too excited some may say, and it really, really annoyed me. I know I upset my Mum at this time, and I now feel very bad about it indeed. The fact was I was too scared something would go wrong to enjoy my pregnancy the way my Mum wanted to, and I took it out on her. Despite all of these things, My Mum is always there at the end of the phone, and would come and see me whatever time of the day, if I really needed her. She is a great support to me.

Throughout my life, there have been things that have happened in my family, like all families, and we have our ups and downs, fallouts and make-ups, mistakes made and repercussions faced. Some of these things over the years I have found hard to let go and forget. I held onto some things for so long, and felt so bitter about them, that one day I wondered why I was doing this. I love my Mum and Dad, and we have a very good relationship nowadays. I think a part of growing up is learning to accept people’s faults, and not holding it against them forever. I still have a few things I think I need to let go, but I am working on this. However I realise this is the past, and I don’t let this cloud the way I feel about certain people now and in the future. I certainly wouldn’t let it affect their relationship with Nancy, for example.

I think it takes a long time to realise your parents are not infallible, they don’t know everything and they are figuring it out as they go along, just as you are.

I have also been thinking of my little girl’s relationship with my parents. This is the week of the 2 year anniversary of my Nan’s death, and it made me think of how I think about my Nan (someone I adored, and loved, and was very close to). Nancy will think this way of my parents, I hope. I hope they have the same close bond that I had with my Nan and Grandad. My parents have made mistakes, they have done strange things, there have been highs and lows in my life and my relationship with them – but none of that will matter to Nancy. She will love them for who they are today, she is not burdened with the knowledge of the past, as I wasn’t with my grandparents. My Mum and Dad adore Nancy, and they are falling over themselves to do things for her, to make her smile, to be the grandparents. They live an hour away from me, and so I have been going down there to stay for a bit so that they can get to know Nancy. To start with, when Nancy was born, I felt like they should come to me, and I waited for them to come, and wouldn’t go down to them.  They visited a few times, and I was pleased about this. Hopefully they will visit us again soon, but my Mum is not well, and can’t travel well due to mobility issues, and so in the end I went down to them. It wasn’t fair to hold them to ransom like that. My Mum and Dad, are my Mum and Dad, and they may not be very good at visiting me, but if I go down to them, they are very happy, and Nancy gets to see them, and build a relationship with them. I can’t stop that from happening just because we live apart.

A friend once told me that your relationship with a Grandparent is very different to that of a parent, the issues you have with parents are removed, and you have a relationship of conspiratorially eating of chocolates, staying up late, watching things on TV that your Mum would never let you. It’s a relationship free from the stresses and strains of parenthood. In my eyes, my Nan could do no wrong. She was a confidante, a conspirator, and most importantly, a friend. I know my Mum probably had a very different relationship with her, especially growing up. I know my Mum will be the same as my Nan was to me, and I will do all I can to support her, and Nancy, to have this, despite the distance between us.

For me, I realise my Mum has sacrificed a lot for me, put up with a lot from me, and relies on me as a daughter and as a friend. I love her more now I see what she sacrificed for me, now I am a Mum too. All the things I scoffed at, and pooh-poohed, and dismissed, I now realise she was right. All the things she instinctively knew and I used to scowl at her for knowing, all the times I ignored her advice, or just got annoyed at her. And I want to say now that Mum, I am sorry I did that to you. But you knew that I would, and you knew I would realise this in the end. Because that’s what Mums do. x

Link

whoisme

8 weeks ago I had a baby. Sometimes I have to say it to myself just so I know it’s true. It’s an odd feeling now, thinking back to the birth and how things have gone over the last 2 months.

In The Know

It is a strange thing to think that now I have done what my body is essentially designed for: Childbirth. It’s strange to think that I have now done this mysterious thing – that all the years I thought about it, and watched tv programmes about it and how I used to chat to my friends and sisters about having children, and what names they would have. That I now know what it feels like to give birth. That I am a Mum. It’s a bittersweet thing really as on one hand you have achieved something that you wanted to do; and on another it is somewhat anti-climatic now that I know the secret. To be on the other side. I know what the pain is like that no-one can describe. I have nurtured, and created a new life. I am in the ‘know’.

Great Expectations

We all have certain expectations of life and certain watershed ages that we aim for and the things we can do when we reach that age. I am starting to think, are there many of these moments left?  I am sure there are but you know what I mean. It feels as if another step has been made. Something else to cross off my bucket list. I suppose being a Mum you are supposed to feel like an adult. I don’t feel like an adult. I don’t feel that the 90’s were 20 years ago. I don’t feel like an old fuddy duddy. I guess I don’t have to feel that way at all. But it’s just odd to think you are a Mum, I am what my Mum was/is to me. I don’t want to be someone who is only a Mum, although I love being one. I want to make sure I don’t forget who I am as well.

This experiences changes you as a person. I know everyone says it but I have to concede that it’s true. You’re still yourself but you’ve an added layer of understanding. Watching One Born Every Minute is now a completely different experience. If you have had a slightly complicated birth (as I did) I think it takes time to de-brief and to reflect upon what happened, especially if it didn’t match your expectations. And we have to do all of this at the same time as looking after a completely dependent person. I sometimes think about these things at 3am in the morning. Sometimes I am so tired and I should sleep, but I write, or read, or think. As I just need a little time to be me again and to figure it all out in my jellified head.

For me, these feelings are intensified as I am turning 30 in September. So it is quite a momentous year for me. I doubt I will be able to fit in a trip to Australia or a bungy jump by then, so I am having to adjust my list of things I want to achieve slightly.

Getting Back

So,how do you get back, or even just find, yourself again after having a baby? You have to put the two back together again. I feel I have been myself these 8 weeks but not my whole self, if that makes sense. However, I am starting to feel like I can merge the two together. It can only be a good and healthy thing for both me and Nancy if I keep myself on track, as this will not only make me feel better but will enhance her experiences too.

So I started with something simple: I put my contact lenses back on after 4 months of abandoning them.

I ate the last of my chocolate/biscuit/scraping the tub of nutella supplies and am now going to start Slimming World again.

I bought some clothes that fit me and are not labelled as ‘maternity’ (in a fit of nesting I threw away nearly all my clothes! which has meant 8 weeks in tracky bottoms and t shirts. I also threw away most of my shoes and so only had Uggs to wear. I must have been one crazy pregnant lady – well I was 14 days overdue so I had a lot of time on my hands.)

I went out for dinner without the baby, for the first time. and I had a glass of wine.

Get my Hair cut – it’s never been this long before and/or as split ended or wild looking, due to about 8 weeks of not brushing it properly and abuse of batiste

I charged up my ipod again and started listening to music that is not a nursery rhyme.

I started reading again – I am currently reading Honour by Elif Shafak for BritMums Book Club (review of which I shall put up soon).

So it has begun. This journey back to (or should that be a new journey to?) Myself.

Babies are Boring (or what the first four weeks are like)

There’s one secret that people don’t tell you when you’re pregnant. Well, it could just be me but I think most people will agree if they were really being honest. That is, babies are boring. There, I’ve said it.

In a way it’s been a learning curve for me as much as the baby. I’ve had to find a way to become a Mum. No-one tells you that. “It’ll change your life forever” they say -but what does that mean?

It means this. Babies sleep, eat, poo/wee and that’s about it. I didn’t expect any more from them. We all sort of know that already. It’s just the day to day living and looking after a newborn is rather dull. After the initial euphoria at being able to change a nappy, and as the anxiety and worry and checking they’re breathing every second wanes, Time blurs into one long day and days blur into one long week. Every day is similar to the last (I only differentiate days by when eastenders is on – gets tricky when they run a week long special). They cry, you respond. I’ve felt much like a milking machine for the past few weeks. I’m getting very adept at doing everything one handed; a baby in the other. Watching daytime TV and almost enjoying it. Drinking cold tea. Crying at everything. It feels like you’re waiting for something to happen but you don’t really know what.

These precious moments will never be got back. I know this. I know they’re not little forever. I know I’ll look back with my rose tinted glasses and say “oh what a lovely time that was”. But living it, is pretty tough. And the monotony of the days and nights can get to you.

I know there are always challenges but I’m looking forward to seeing my baby grow, learn, develop a personality of their own. Going on trips out to groups and classes. Seeing enjoyment and fun on her face.

Now she’s 4 weeks she’s starting to look around and look at me and smile.

Now that was worth waiting for.

A smile is all worth it

A smile is all worth it