This post is a little extract from my book that I’m sharing ahead of Mother’s day this Sunday – it’s all about celebrating mums and the absolutely amazing job they do…
‘Ok you’re good to go!’ said the doctor. We’d been sitting around for hours waiting for the forms to be filled in and final checks to be done but those words still came as a bit of a shock. Buckling the baby into his brand new car seat and exiting the ward felt a bit like smuggling pick n’ mix out of Woolworths up the sleeves of my school sweater (which I obviously never did mum!). Was no one going to come and ask us if we knew what the hell we were doing with this kid?
But despite feeling like total amateurs we were also incredibly excited to get home and start life as a proper little family of three. Do you remember your very first days at home with your newborn? I do.
I remember getting through the door and feeling a funny shift in the atmosphere, like everything had changed. I remember feeling so tired and so happy all at once. I remember snuggling on the sofa, greeting visitors, eating cake, admiring the flowers, passing the baby around and constantly disappearing to the bedroom to get half naked to feed him. I remember greeting midwifes, crying on their shoulders and people bringing food. I remember the precious milky smell of my sons head and the sweet buttery popcorn aroma of his filled nappy. I remember looking at all the cute clothes that people bought and laughing at the size of them.
I remember looking like absolute shit but feeling like a celebrity.
I remember the ridiculously inflated boobs, hot baths, cracked nipples and the hour I sat on the toilet carefully birthing my first poo. I remember watching crappy daytime TV and crying at the soaps, even though they weren’t sad. I remember the careful arrangement of cushions on the sofa that made it just about possible to sit down and I remember it all being made ok because I was surrounded by love.
I remember the most beautiful little boy I had ever seen feeding until he was full and then sleeping curled up as a little ball on my chest. I remember thinking it didn’t seem that hard and I remember waving my husband back off to work feeling slightly terrified but otherwise confident I could cope looking after a baby on my own.
Then something happened. The milk coma thing stopped working. The baby was only a couple of weeks old and he had already malfunctioned.
I fed him and he remained awake, and not only that – he was unhappy awake. He was crying and he wouldn’t stop. So I did what many a new mum does. I scoured the internet and devoured baby book after baby book looking for the answers.
The advice all sounded so sensible. We needed a routine and a feeding and nap schedule; instead of sleeping in our arms whilst we ate our lasagne one handed, he should have a proper bedtime.
There was only one problem. He refused to get on board with the goddam book.
I was confused. All the babies in the books fed less regularly and slept much longer. Why did I get the duff version?