As a first time mum, I have to admit that I wasn’t really prepared for how utterly life-changing motherhood would be. In the time I was pregnant, I read all the books, I went to the ante-natal classes, I bought the cot, the car seat, the cute onesies, did the pregnancy yoga, bought the pram, stocked up on nappies and even packed what I thought was the ultimate hospital bag, filled with ingenious hacks like a water bottle with a sports top (a life-saver by the way!) But despite all the prep, all the reading, all the anticipation; when I had this little life thrust into my arms I was still completely overwhelmed by the realities of motherhood.
It’s been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. It is without question, in equal parts awesome and demanding. It was after one of these more trying days last week, after my bolshie 15 month old decided to set a new record for the amount of tantrums one tiny human can throw in an afternoon, that I sat down that evening like an exhausted zombie and watched the new WaterWipes video. Big mistake. Cue a shed load of tears as I sat there and marvelled at how incredibly lucky I am to be a mum and just how far I’ve come on this journey.
I remember the day I left the hospital with my son in the car seat. I just couldn’t believe I was being allowed to leave with this incredibly tiny, wrinkled, soft, life in my care. Me! The person who couldn’t keep a basil plant alive on the windowsill for more than two days on the trot. Me, the woman who knew more about looking after a puppy than an actual human being. Yet I, without any pre-requisite training, qualifications or much basic knowledge beyond the armful of leaflets I was given before I left the ward, was ushered out into the world and was now a mum!
Off you go. Sink or swim.
Looking back on those first few weeks and months, it’s all a bit of a blur now, but what I do remember is feeling as if I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. At times, I felt completely overwhelmed and a bit lost and I think we need to hear new mums say that more often.
We need to let each other know, that it’s okay to feel like you haven’t a clue what you’re doing. That some days you’ll struggle. Some days, no matter what you do, you still won’t be able to figure out why your baby is crying. Some days you’ll feel like the worst mum in the world. There will be days when you might find yourself hiding in the under-the-stairs cupboard just to get a break or to let out those tears you’ve been holding back all morning. Some day’s motherhood can leave you questioning your very sanity. Some day’s when you’re running on fumes after no sleep the night before and you’re looking at this very cute, yet very dependent baby in your arms and you cannot figure out what it is they need, you find yourself wishing you were back in your old life. The days when you could do whatever the hell you wanted without having to consider your baby first.
But here’s the thing. That’s all perfectly normal. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mum or that you aren’t cut out for this. On the contrary, you are doing an incredible job. You’re learning every single day. You’re healing, you’re finding out about your new baby. Every experience is shaping you and you’re growing into this amazing mother, whether you realise it or not.
And for every tough day (and there will be many), you’ll also find yourself feeling the most unbelievable love for your baby that will eclipse anything you’ve felt before. It has the power to erase the sleepless nights, the painful labour, the stitches, the tears, those times when you want to give up your mum badge for the day and just be you.
And one day soon, quite out of the blue, you’ll find your feet. You’ll feel a new confidence, you’ll catch yourself in the mirror and you’ll recognise this amazing mum staring back at you. Yes there will still be challenges; as I’m finding out toddlerhood is punctuated by tantrums over major injustices like being given the wrong colour Sippy cup, but you can do this, because it turns out the old adage is true- when a baby is born, mama, you’re reborn too.
This content is sponsored by WaterWipes.