This is us. Almost a year into our journey together. I don’t know why I took this photo, but I did. I remember thinking, “Why? Why is this shit still hard almost a year in? Why is everyone else doing so fucking well and here I am, still struggling?”
I know that’s not the case but at the time I couldn’t see past my own pain. The monotonous rituals that we’ve all been experiencing for 13 weeks have taken their toll. Doing the same things, having nowhere to go, no one to take him to see, no one to help watch him whilst I semi-relax, no one to have a cup of tea with or someone else to take this feed.
Being inside the same four walls and only escaping for one short walk a day has been so incredibly rough, but I know that I’m lucky. We’re safe and healthy, Daniel is still at work and we have a steady wage coming in; all of which made me feel even guiltier for feeling like I’m fucking drowning.
I spoke to my mum who told me that she remembered feeling the same once, and that I wasn’t alone. But for some reason someone saying, “I remember” does very little for me in the here and now. I was so caught up in my own turmoil that for a short while, I ashamedly wasn’t concentrating on Archer because I was thinking of how difficult it was. I wasn’t able to offer him the love and light that he needed.
Once I realised this I made a massive effort to push myself back into that style of parenting. I know I can’t go wrong with the love, light and acceptance I just mentioned, so I started here. When this first photo was taken, there was no acceptance, there was only desperation. Desperation for him to stop crying, for him to just shut up – rather than just accepting it. Bearing my realisation in mind, I made a huge effort when he was crying because his teeth hurt, or because he was hungry or not hungry, or because I told him, “no” then when I was comforting him, I was saying out loud, “Love and light. It’s okay baby, cry, it’s okay to cry.” I felt that if I said what I wanted to achieve, perhaps it would come more easily, perhaps it would help me focus on what I was trying to give. It did help actually.
As the next few days passed, being conscious of my parenting started to become habit again. I was aware of what I was doing and saying, and tried to approach him with the elements I mentioned earlier. I focused on what my baby needed from me which in turn meant my attention was no longer on the pain, and frustration and guilt.
I don’t really know what the point of this post is. Maybe it’s to let other mothers know that they truly aren’t alone? Maybe because I feel guilty sharing only the good stuff which plays into this cycle of feeling like I’m the only one who’s struggling, which during that whole rough stage, was probably the most dangerous feeling I had. I felt I wasn’t doing a good a job, I thought that no other mum would sit on the sofa and cry with their one year old. I’m wrong; I know I’m wrong and if you’re reading this, having done the same, you’re not alone either.
As Archer’s big day fast approaches I can’t help but feel nostalgic. This time last year my life was about to change in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve never shared the details of my birth, or these pictures, so it feels right that on the eve before his first birthday, I talk about how he entered the world.
I woke up on Tuesday 3rd June 2019 on the sofa, where Dan and I had been sleeping for a few weeks, as my SPD had made it almost impossible to climb the stairs… and to be honest the sofa was just more comfortable!
I had made it thirty-nine weeks and five days. I won’t lie, during that last agonising week, the only thing on my mind was labour and I’d tried everything to get the ball rolling; walks with the dogs, spicy curries, even the horrifically awkward act of manoeuvring a full-term bump during sex, although my SPD didn’t make any of it easy.
That morning, I started to feel what resembled mild period pains and as I had my morning wee, I was surprised to see what I thought was a small piece of my plug. I phoned my sister and told her, hoping she’d know what to do; she’s had two babies, her first labour lasted just five hours and her second only took thirty-five minutes, with him nearly making his entrance in the car park.
She told me not to focus on it (pfft, yeah right), suggested I keep myself busy, then she offered to pick me up and take us out for lunch. By the time she arrived, the pains had stopped, so I assumed that was that; we went out and had a lovely lunch. Well, the company and the weather were great, the food however was a bit meh, as the local pub’s ‘vegan option’ is literally just chips 🙄
That evening, I settled down for Love Island eager to watch half-naked people wander around doing nothing. But as I bounced on my ball at 8.58pm, ready to see what drama the villa had in store; I felt another pain.
After that morning’s false alarm, I wasn’t sure if it was the real deal, so for the rest of the episode I let them come and go without worry. As we settled down to sleep, the pains were coming every ten minutes, and although I really did try to sleep, I just couldn’t.
The pain wasn’t excruciating, but it sure was enough to keep me wide awake, which also wasn’t helped by my body dutifully getting rid of the days deposits….if you know what I mean 💩. By 4am the pains were fairly strong and now only five minutes apart. We’d had no sleep, so Dan decided to call the birthing suite, who told me to wait until they were two minutes apart.
I was pissed off; the hospital is a thirty-minute drive away and terrifying images of Archer shooting out of me like my sister’s babies plagued my thoughts. Within an hour and a half, they were two minutes apart and they bloody hurt.
Dan called my mum, who throughout my pregnancy had said she wanted to be there with us. I agreed, but it was more for her than me; as long as I had Dan, I knew I’d be fine. Me being me, I told her to be prepared to wait outside, as I wasn’t sure if I wanted her in there, which she graciously accepted.
So after a sleepless night, we finally made our way to the hospital. We had a really nice room with a great big bath; I even took my salt lamp as I wanted a relaxing experience and had been practicing hypnobirthing. I was examined by the midwife, where they found that I was 4cm dilated – plenty of time we thought. She suggested that we grab some breakfast, so that’s what we did.
As we walked to the canteen, the surges of pain were rapidly building and although I tried my best to breathe through them, it was getting increasingly difficult. We sat down and Dan pigged out on a fry up whilst my toast sat in front of me, cold and untouched.
On the journey back, the corridor radiators soon became my crutch, with us stopping at each one to let me breathe and count, before we moved as fast as we could between contractions. The midwife welcomed us back and didn’t even have to examine me, she could see it had ramped up a gear, so she told me that I could get into the pool if I wanted.
I gave her my birth plan which was fairly simple; if you need to examine me just do it don’t ask; we’d like to delay chord clamping; we want as little interruption as possible; please don’t offer me drugs, I know what’s available, if I want it I’ll ask; and I don’t want an assisted phase three – my body will know what to do. She assured me that it was all manageable, but she got the injection for an assisted phase three ready, just in case. I let her do it, but I knew I wouldn’t use it.
As I sat in the pool, I listened to a playlist of songs, some that inspired me, some that kept me focused, some that chilled me out. As the surges became more intense and frequent, I realised I needed my mum; Dan was great, but I NEEDED my mum. I remember she strolled in, calm as a cucumber holding a Costa cup; so much for “You’ll probably be waiting outside” 🙄
As the contractions worsened, the midwife suggested I put on my hypnobirthing playlist. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, I thought it was too early and I didn’t want to lose momentum, but I also didn’t have the energy to argue with her. She was right, Sophie Fletcher’s hypnobirthing book that I’d listened to every night for the last six months immediately relaxed me, well, that coupled with the gas and air.
Being in the pool can make it easy to become dehydrated, luckily, I drink a lot anyway and was in and out of the water like you wouldn’t believe – apparently the midwife had never seen someone in labour pee so much!
At one point I started to feel really drowsy; I hadn’t eaten since the night before, but I just couldn’t stomach it no matter how hard I tried. The midwife asked me to get out of the pool in case I passed out. Though the water brought me relief, she was right yet again, being in the warm water was actually making me feel worse.
Once out, I ate a biscuit, but I couldn’t manage much more. I really wanted to give birth in the pool, so she assured me that as soon as my water went, I could get back in to push. When my water did eventually break, I wasn’t entirely convinced and even told the midwife, “no, that wasn’t my waters, I just peed myself” 🤦♀️
The minute my foot hit the water I knew I couldn’t push in the pool; I felt an instant wave of sickness, my vision went fuzzy and my head spun. I ended up on the bed, on my back, the one position I didn’t want to be in.
As the surges got stronger, I knew it was time to push but it didn’t feel like I expected it to. I didn’t have any kind of instinct or feel an urge. I did what I was told, I began pushing and felt absolutely nothing; nothing was happening.
My mum immediately stepped in, having had five kids of her own, and became my coach. “Stop pushing with your belly, Dem,” “chin on chest and bare down,” “push from your bum!” It didn’t feel natural and every time I pushed, I had to think about it. I’d been trying to push with my stomach muscles, which was getting us nowhere, I actually needed to push as if I was pooing.
After I figured this out, we started making progress, with Mum guiding me from one side and Dan on fanning duty on the other. I was exhausted. I was so incredibly drained and each time I pushed, I felt like I couldn’t do another. Dan, who’d been fairly quiet told me, “Demi, keep pushing, he’s going back up.” Great, thanks mate. Hadn’t thought to just keep pushing 👍
At 3.34pm, after seven long hours in active labour, my son was placed on my chest. My first words were, “Is he okay?” I was utterly depleted and my whole body hurt.
You know that phase three injection I said I wouldn’t need? I had it, even though not much happened. I handed my son over to his dad as the Midwife pumped my stomach and told me to push. I had nothing left, not an ounce of energy left in my broken body. I couldn’t, and she knew it; the tank had run dry. She sat me up and latched Archer onto my breast, hoping that feeding may induce some contractions to help expel the placenta. But it didn’t.
Back onto the bed I went as she begun to pull. Again, nothing. She was sure it was my full bladder blocking the way, so she inserted a catheter and as it went in, I cried, “You’re ripping my clit off!” Which my mum found highly amusing.
The midwife emptied my bladder but still, nothing, so we waited for the doctor. As he entered, he introduced himself whilst putting gloves on, “Hi Demi, I’m Tom, I’m going to attempt to get this placenta but if I can’t, it’s down to theatre.” My midwife replied, “It’s hanging on by thread;” he took a deep, sharp breath and said, “you might want to get the gas and air Demi.” Pfft, I thought, I’d just given birth, nothing could be worse than that.
Oh boy was I wrong. He was elbow deep with both arms, pulling chunks of shredded placenta from inside me. Once it was over, the midwife said to the student assisting her, “It’s not even worth looking at that, it doesn’t look like a placenta. It’s in pieces.” Lovely.
By this point I’d had enough, I just wanted to hold my baby, but they were still checking for damage. It wasn’t too bad, three small “grazes” and a few stitches. She told me she’d give me some pain relief, one injection and something else, which I agreed to in a haze. It wasn’t until I felt it however, that I realised what the “something else” was. I stuttered through tears, “That’s my bum hole!” My mum found that one hilarious.
Finally, I was done, and I could be left alone with my family. We stayed in the suite for a few hours, waiting for me to wee the required amount, but that didn’t happen either. An overnight stay wasn’t in the plan, but such is life.
I cried when Dan left; Dan, the healthy, strong one was going home, whilst I, the one who was convinced every time I stood that my insides were falling out, had to stay on my own and look after our baby that I didn’t even have the strength to pick up! It made no sense!
That evening a nursing assistant scanned my bladder to see how it was recovering. If I had in my bladder 500ml or more of urine, then I’d need to stay in for another night to allow it to rest, which was not okay – I have dogs!
The scan showed I was just 20ml off 500 and she wasn’t happy. I had until 4am to pee enough in order to go home, so you can bet that I drank every drop of water I could get my hands on – I needed to be at home. Thankfully, when she woke me at 4am, she was satisfied. Halle-fucking-lujah.
At 2.30pm, we were discharged at last. I could barely walk and had no idea that such a straight-forward, uncomplicated birth would leave me with at least a three-week recovery period, but I was just pleased to be heading home, with Dan and our boy. Ready for our new life.
This week it’s Mental Health Awareness Week (@mentalhealthfoundation) and so I felt it was only right to honour the occasion in some way.
This year the theme is #kindness, so I’ve decided to share a letter that I’ve written to my therapist. I’ve not given it her yet, but she has only ever shown me warmth and kindness, so I couldn’t think of a better person to dedicate this post to ♥️
A letter to my therapist
When we first met, I didn’t want to talk to you. I didn’t want to be there and I told you so. I sat there with my legs crossed, arms folded and told you that I didn’t need you, I think, my exact words were, “Why drag up the past? I don’t want to think about that” and I didn’t.
Not one single part of me wanted to be there, but I needed to be. When I gave you reluctance, you gave me back warmth, love and an open mind. We spoke a lot, we spoke for over two years and continue to do so, just less regularly. I came to you each week with an experience and we worked together to hook it to the past, examine and embrace the feelings, unhook it, and let it go.
I came to you so, so angry. I was angry with the world and just wanted to fight, which in itself felt so conflicting because peace is all I’ve ever craved. I told you about my biggest heartbreak, the fact I couldn’t be a mum. Not because of any medical or biological reasons, but because I refused to let my children witness how easily I could lose myself, how unsightly and repulsive I could be, how angry. I wouldn’t bring an innocent child into this world and subject them to everything I’d seen in my youth.
It wasn’t long before the anger dissolved and I just felt sad. I would cry, at everything. Things that made me angry before, now made me sad. You assured me it was a very normal part of the process and on we soldiered on.
We worked through so much together; things that I had just accepted were a part of me, you helped to shape and mould so they were less sharp, less damaging. And now, as my time with you becomes more infrequent, I feel scared.
The tools you have equipped me with are those that I can and will use for the rest of my life. You have become such a massive influence to me in so many ways, and as I prepare to leave you, I realise how frightened I am about facing this world without you. How much I’m going to miss you, how much I’m going to miss our sessions.
Two years down the line, I’m still here with you. I’m less angry and less sad, and I have a baby, I’m a mum. Something I didn’t think I could do because of what I was. Because of you, this became possible. I gave you my pain, anger, regret, self-loathing, dishonesty, victim-blaming and hate. You took that weight from me and in return taught me love, happiness, confident, acceptance, self-love, and the confidence to be a good enough mum. For that, I will be eternally grateful 💖💕
When I tell people I didnt enjoy being pregnant it usually evokes some kind of shocked/repulsed/taken back reaction.
When I’m asked, “Do you miss your bump?” And I say, “Absolutely fucking not”, some people are almost disgusted with me. I don’t always use the F word, so don’t think they’re repulsed by my language 😂
I’ve had more than my fair share of people challenge my experience; they say, “but it’s natural”, “but it’s what our bodies are made for”, “but it kept your baby safe”, but, but, but, BUT!
My pregnancy was a good one; it was straightforward and uncomplicated, other than an inconvenient diagnosis of SPD at 31 weeks. The first 12 weeks, when it needed to be kept ‘secret’, I felt sick from morning to night. My eczema flared up with an almighty vengeance, and I suffered with a constant a migraine throughout my entire pregnancy. You think I’m exaggerating? No, I seriously mean the whole goddamn nine months.
I’ve battled with terrible migraines since I was a teen, and the Dr told me that it was just hormones and nothing could be done. This time round I had to keep quiet. It was before I was out of the ‘safe zone’ wasn’t it 🙄 So I tried my best to soldier on, all the while feeling like I could fall asleep at any given time, providing I wasn’t dry heaving. I was never actually sick you see, I just had that horrible saliva thing going on in my mouth from dawn til dusk.
I know that none of this is out of the ordinary, I know many, many pregnant women have had it far worse than I did, but I didn’t feel ‘natural’. Every time he kicked, I felt what I can only describe as sea sickness. It was quite a bittersweet feeling because his kicks reassured me that he was okay, but even though I longed for them, they were not relished 😂
I didn’t have a massive bump; it seemed to grow immensely in the last few weeks, but until then I was relatively small, so small that my baggy, oversized clothes inadvertently hid my swollen belly.
As we know all too well, there’s a pressure on women to flourish at everything we do – even growing a child comes with it’s own set of societal expectations. I thought I’d bask in that pregnancy glow, I assumed I’d float around with this beautiful bump, taking everything that came with pregnancy in my stride. But no one tells you about the other stuff.
I mean, who openly tells you that the bumps on your nipples are sweat glands to help with feeding. I genuinely sent a photo of my boob to my sister asking, “why is my nipple spotty?!” No one told me that would happen. The hair? Nope, no one told me that either, it was only when Stacey Solomon, who was pregnant at the same time, posted an Instagram story about it that I realised it was normal, and I wasn’t carrying a yeti. The tiredness? I’ve already mentioned this but the feeling that no amount of sleep can make you feel better is so, so debilitating.
Now obviously, I’m amazed at my body’s capabilities; pregnancy, giving birth, creating life, all of it. But I didn’t enjoy it. That coupled with my birth – again, mostly straightforward but almost a year on, the pain, a memory still not forgotton – has seriously made me question if I want another child naturally.
Maybe we will 🤷♀️ I’ve always wanted a big family, I came from a big family, but adoption is definitely something we will also consider.
Some of you have been with me since day dot (hey mum 👋) others of you have joined me along the way whether it be through insta, facebook or wordpress. I seemed to have wandered away from wordpress recently but I’m here to say we are back!
So a little about us. My son, Archer, is a hair pulling, cloth-bum wearing, nose-ring yanking maniac. And I am a bum cleaning, part-time working, sometimes smashing it, sometimes losing it mum. Thankfully, I get to share the highs and lows of parenthood with Archers Dad and my boyfriend of 10 years, Daniel. He is calm and loving and swiftly morphed into the role of dad with ease 🥰
We are almost 11 months into this parenthood journey and it’s safe to say there are days where I feel like I’m failing. Now don’t get me wrong, there are also days I feel I could take down a grizzly bear, but those bad days are still there.
Being a good enough mum is a psychology theory that I know only the very basics of. Essentially it’s based on the idea that not every need must be met. If we meet every need we actually do our babies a disservice. If we meet most of their needs, that is good enough and will prepare them for the real world. Or something along those lines. Search our trusty friend, Google.
I suppose the idea behind The Good Enough Mum for me started somewhere mid-pregnancy. I’m not ashamed to say it, well okay, a little ashamed I suppose, I did not enjoy being pregnant. Everyone told me how amazing it would be and how it’s nothing short of a miracle. This is true, what our bodies are capable of is mind blowing, but no one told me how awful it would also be.
Let me put this into perspective; my pregnancy was healthy, straightforward and uncomplicated. Nothing major happened. But I wasn’t prepared for the relentless exhaustion that no amount of sleep could fix. I thought I’d be glowing with this beautiful bump, and I wasn’t. I barely had a bump until the last few weeks, at which point i had SPD and was shuffling! I felt like I had been given a biased essay of sorts.
This carried on into parenthood, again, so amazing, breathtaking, a miracle! And whilst yes, I love being Archer’s mum and I’m so excited to watch him develop into a decent human (hopefully) instead of an irrational dictator, it’s also incredibly difficult. I wasn’t told, that there would be times I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as my baby, again, I say feeling shame. Maybe not everyone feels that? 🤷🏻♀ I dont know. I wasn’t aware there would be times that I would be holding him whilst he screams and I too, would be wailing.
Becoming a parent was something I wanted. I chose to go on this journey with my partner. It was planned, thought about, and rethought about. It still hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, I don’t even know if I ever will have it sussed. Something that I realised though, is that you are always encouraged to speak about your struggles…but when you do, nobody seems to know what to say. You feel a little…alien, which is when I decided to start The Good Enough Mum. I figured there must be parents, new and experienced, that feel the same as me, surely? And perhaps if we can start talking about it, we will have more new parents feeling a little less alien.
Since starting TGEM I’ve connected with so many parents across several platforms and it has been amazing to know and realise I am not alone. Many of us feel inadequate, overwhelmed and hopeless sometimes. It does wonders for me, as a parent, to know what I’m feeling is okay and normal and in fact helps me move through that phrase or feeling quicker than if I didnt share my feelings.
So The Good Enough Mum is going to be a place where I share my highs and lows, my fears and dreams, my poems and spoken word (which I’m extremely nervous about because they are so personal to me). I hope you enjoy reading my experiences and please, like follow and comment. Message me! I love chatting and meeting new mums and dads.
This week my maternity leave finished and I officially became a “working mum”. Holy. Shit. How do you do it? Please, someone give me tips, because I feel like I’ve shat out my brain, ran around like a mad woman and all whilst being up to my eyeballs in housework. And I mean bog standard, run around a hoover, wipe the sides housework. Even that felt like a mission this week.
But let’s forget about busy-ness for a minute. That I was expecting. Let’s talk about the overwhelming sense of guilt that comes along with going back to work when you have a baby.
I’m very lucky in that I have wonderfully supportive family to help with childcare, but the guilt is still there. I had this crippling guilt of leaving him – hes been with me every day of his life and now suddenly I’m gone for 6 hours. How will he (by he, I mean I) survive? What if he’s crying because he misses me? What if he forgets me?!?!?! ( this was a real fear of mine, I cried and cried that first day I was away from him because I was terrified he wouldn’t remember me).
On top of that I felt guilt for leaving him with family members, I know they love him and want to spend time with him but atleast if he was at a nursery (scariest thought ever) they get paid to be there.
I felt guilt when I had to wake him up 💔💔 he was still sound asleep in his bed and I needed to wake him up to get him dressed and out of the house. I had never wanted him awake so badly before that morning. I quite literally done it through tears.
Getting back to work is something were all having to adjust to. And every morning, when I have to wake him, leave him, kiss him goodbye I have to remind myself why I’m doing it. Which is for him to have a better life. For us to be more financially stable, enabling us, as parents, to give him the experiences we wouldnt be able to afford otherwise. But it also helps me, I have a reason to be up and dressed and out of the house, I once again am contributing financially to our household and I get 6 hours a day where I am just me.
As mums, pretty much every avenue we take is fucking tough. Whether we are at home, at work, full time, part time whatever. Whatever we do is difficult and mum guilt is so fucking present. I had it before I went back to work. It’s just that the reasons of feeling guilt have now changed.
That being said I’m a big believer in working through your emotions and putting them out there and I want to cast this “guilt” off. It has no place in me. And it shouldn’t in you. However we parent, we are all good enough 💜💜
I recently listened to Stacey Solomons podcast. I listened to how she became so overprotective of her beautiful baby, Rex that at times didn’t even want Joe near him. How she sent that voice note to Nadia crying about the fact other people wanted to hold him.
Throughout pregnancy and of course, motherhood Stacey has been an absolute energy of truth in a hazy, confused mess. She reassured me on so much, from hairy tummy’s and rolls to her recently confessed breastfeeding story, haven’t we all got one of those? The mere thought of what my breastfeeding story wasn’t still breaks my heart 😔💔
But this overproctevness is something I couldn’t and still can’t relate to. Of course I’m protective of my baby, of course I would single handedly ruin anyone who came near him with bad intentions like the absolute kung-fu-kick-arse-fighter I am. But this has me thinking….am I wrong? Is there something inside of me not working?
People ask if they can hold him, and most of the time, I say yes, I watch them bouncing him on their knees, his face ear wide with a grin and my heart is full up. Full up to the brim that I’m able to share what a joy he is. There have been times when I’ve said no to people who ask, people who I’ve not known very well so I suppose in some way not trusted, or people who make me uneasy but mostly I’m happy and comfortable to let someone else have a cuddle whilst I sit nearby.
His third day on earth, our second day home from hospital, the midwife came over. The house was a mess, we were all shattered, the partner was in the shower, I was totally topless and in just a pair of tiny shorts and still absolutely physically fucked up from birth, I let her in, baby held close to my bare chest, handed her my precious boy, nips out and all then said, “do you mind if I go get dressed?” And I did. It felt good to wear a top. It wasn’t until after I thought ” was that okay? Should I have done that? Am I protective enough?” And I still question myself now, “should the fact this person is holding him bother me? Am I broken?”
In all honesty, I dont know. I dont know whether I am broken. But what I do know is that I love him more than anything else on this earth. He is the most precious thing in my world and I love seeing him bring happiness and hope to others. I know that I would do unspeakable things for him and do them time and time again if it meant he was okay. I don’t know if I’m alone in not feeling overprotective, I don’t know if I’m doing it all wrong. But I know this is how I feel and I know we all have different stories and paths laid out ahead of us and I can only hope that I’m doing it right for me. For us.
This morning I tripped over my own slipper. That I was wearing. Noticed a leak in the conservatory, which happens whenever it rains heavy. Mopped it up. Then I burnt babies porridge. Started again. Made my tea. Burnt my toast. Put it in the bin. Fed baby porridge. Guiltily, I put baby in bouncer and picked up the remote. Dropped said remote. Scrambled around on the unhoovered, hairy floor (we have dogs) to put the remote back together. Turned on the TV. In the night garden. Went to wash and sterilise bottles. Babies crying. Teas cold. The pontipines are just about doing my head in. Settle babe. Go back to fill bottles. Set the bottles out. Pour the water in to have it all spill out the bottom. We use MAM anti-colic bottles. I’d forgotton to put the white bits in the bottom. Wet kitchen. Wet conservatory. Theres still time to turn it around, isnt there? 🥴🥴😩
One of the biggest fears I had when pregnant was “what if I cant look after my baby? What if I dont know what my baby wants?” And time after time I would be told, you will. It will be instinct. Now, I’m pretty sure I didnt have that instinct. I dont really know how many mothers do?
For me, when my baby cried, I would go through the motions, change his bum, feed him, cuddle him, check his temperature until he stopped crying 🤷♀️ It really was just a guessing game – I didnt know anymore than the next person, and in most cases, less! The pressure to be this all knowing, all seeing super mum was immense and I felt like a huge failure when I couldnt do it.
There would be hours gone by spent shushing, swaying and singing to my baby because I’d run out of options. I would cry, holding him in my arms whilst he done the same. Eventually you do get to know your baby and the signs that tell you how they might be feeling but in no way is it instinct. Its learnt.
It’s so easy to fall into this trap of questioning every decision you make for your baby. We all have to make decisions for them, that’s part and parcel of being a parent and sometimes it can feel like the world is on top of you as you decide what to do for the most precious little thing in your world. They absolutely deserve the best, and us, as parents want to give it to them.
Theres lots of outside pressures which are difficult to ignore. I once had someone tell me ” not to jump at his every need for you will spoil him” he was crying. My baby, this innocent baby, crying, for whatever reason and I’m being told to not hold him for fear of “spoiling” him. Fuck that. He was 11 weeks old! You can put money on the fact I whipped him out of his pram and gave him all the comfort he needed. That being said, I wont lie, there has been times where ive felt this pressure to put him down, because what if my decision to cuddle him a little longer truly does spoil him? I know now its ridiculous and when I’m feeling level headed I feel confident in my decision. But when I’m feeling insecure, not good enough and fragile… 🤷♀️ I dont. I do question every decision I make for him.
We’re told that Mums know best. This for me is such a double edged sword. When I’m on top form this saying means “It doesnt matter what you decide, it will be the right one” and when I’m feeling low it means ” You should know. And if you don’t, you’re failing”
It’s okay to be unsure, its okay to double check with family or friends and it’s okay to be worried about how our decisions effect our babies. It’s not okay to tell yourself you arent good enough because you’re questioning it. You are not alone in being unsure – we all feel insecure sometimes.
It’s not selfish to want your own time. At any point of your life especially after having a baby! I wish I had known this. Bringing your baby home, your precious little thing, that was, for some, only hours earlier inside you, should be the most magical feeling and a memory that you will be able to tuck away and recall to your baby when they’re grown.
Mine wasn’t like that, and I’m so angry with myself for not making sure it was! I have a large immediate family, 3 sisters, one brother, their partners and children. So after feeling like I was in the hospital for far too long, (it was only a day) I came home, ready to relax and begin our new lives. However, I knew my family were desperate to meet him. And I totally understand the want to be around a newborn baby. Especially when that baby is of your blood. I susppose there was a part of me that felt obliged to allow them over and another part that felt like he was also theirs, their nephew, cousin etc so felt it was only right they came to meet him. After about 30 minutes or so of being home, I text the family whatsapp group, as ya do, saying, feel free to come round. Oh man. Big mistake. They came. At one point there was 11 people, ELEVEN, in my teeny tiny cottage front room. I only have seats for 4 people!
I have this memory, of sitting on the armchair. My body feeling absolutely broken, the pain from giving birth 24 hours earlier was numbingly present. The door went, I looked up to see my uncle, who lives a couple of hours drive away, he had randomly decided today was the day he must visit, unknowing that I had had the baby and I sat, tears threatening my eyes, the noise from my family rang in my ears as I watched them pass around the little bundle that I had just given birth to. My partner came over to me and hugged me and I knew he felt the same as me…minus the sore vagina.
I love my family. I love my family so much, and I dont blame them, I blame me, for not putting myself first and inviting them round because I felt that was what I was expected to do. I wish, I had the strength to say “not today, maybe tomorrow and only one or two at a time”.
Wanting peace and quiet when your new baby arrives isnt selfish. And you telling your family no is okay and they will understand. I know mine would have given the chance.