Tag Archives: newborn

What I’d tell my first-time mum self…

Eight years ago this week, I became a mother. FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. I look back now at photos of my younger mum self (not just that hilarious post-birth picture) and, beneath the love and contentment, I can still feel how green I was. How unsure I was. I remember that first night at home with her like it was yesterday. ‘What on earth do we do with her? Can we put her down, do you think?‘ Eight years, three kids and no nappies later (yes, new mums, it really does happen one day), this is what I’d tell my first-time mum self (if she’d have listened).

‘It’s going to be ok.’

Yesterday morning, I dropped the boy off at nursery, the nursery I will have been at for eight years by the time he starts school. (Don’t think about the money, don’t think about the money. Haha.)

Sarah, who co-owns the nursery, opened the door and we started talking about The New Mum’s Notebook. What the next Notebook is going to be. And she reminded me how far I’ve come as a mother. ‘Do you remember,‘ she said, ‘when you first started here and you told us that Beaver was a Gina Ford baby and had to nap at this exact time in complete darkness and silence? You left and we thought, how on earth are we going to do this in a nursery environment?’

It made me laugh. Because I do remember that. Vividly. I remember my first-time mum self well. The one who was so scared of things going wrong. Who once shouted at her own mum for daring to look under the muslin whilst her baby was sleeping. The one who felt the need to control EVERYTHING (and foolishly thought she could).

I want to go back and give her a hug. Tell her that it will be ok. That the world won’t implode if things don’t go to plan. That there are NO PLANS when you have a small baby in tow.

There is love. And there is cake.

And that is all you need.

‘Stop worrying.’

My first-time mum self did a good enough job, as good as she could. After all, she didn’t know any better.

But she missed out on some stuff along the way. She worried about spoiling her newborn. She could have cuddled her more. Indulged herself in that intense and beautiful feeling of a new baby on her chest. And forgotten about the ridiculous things she’d picked up elsewhere, like needing to stimulate a tiny person who already had all the stimulation she needed. The warmth and security of her mum.

The thing is, my first-time mum self was lucky. Really lucky. Because she got to do it all again. Twice. To have another two children, who mellowed her a little more each time they came.

The second baby reminded her that she could do this. Because she’d already done it once before.

But, it wasn’t until the third baby that the penny really dropped. Maybe it was the knowledge that this baby was her last and that made him more precious. Maybe it was the frailty of her mental health and her need to feel that newborn on her chest. To feel that closeness, that warmth, those two hearts beating as if they were one.

Because when she felt that, she felt less desperate and alone.

‘Slow down.’

And the crazy thing is that, despite being unwell for so much of those early months, her third time was a charm, indeed.

The fear of going out and the safety she felt when she was tucked up in bed with her new baby and a boxset made her slow down for the first time in years. For the first time in her life as a mother.

In that respect, PND was both a curse and a blessing. Because, when she started to get well again, she had learned a lesson, albeit the hard way.

She had learned to slow down. To catch the moment. That it would be ok. All of it. That the world wouldn’t implode if things didn’t go to plan. Because things hadn’t gone to plan. They had veered so far from any plan a new mum would ever make.

It’s a good job then, that there are no plans when you have a small baby in tow,‘ she thought.

‘There is love. And there is cake.

And that is all I need.’

(It’s going to be ok.)

If you’re a new mum and you liked this post, you might like The New Mum’s Notebook. 304 pages of love and reassurance (and reminders to eat cake). Enter NEWMUM10 at checkout to get 10% off.

The Nightfeed

The nightfeed.  It cruelly plucks you from your sleep at 3.00 AM.  Causing you to cry, utter profanities, slam doors and plot divorcing your other half.  Happy times.

Cry of the wild.

It’s 3.00 AM.  I’m asleep.  The type of sleep that borders on being knocked out, I’m that tired.  Suddenly I’m awake.  Just like that.  There’s a snuffle next to me.  And it’s not Daddy Pig.  It starts off innocently enough.  So I shut my eyes tight.  If I go back to sleep, this will go away.  But instead it builds up to a single cough.  My muscles contort in anticipation.  Please, just let me sleep.  It reaches a hacking cough.  All I want is sleep.  Then a wail.  It’s over.  Before it crescendos into a full blown cry.

By this point, I’m not sure who is crying.  The baby.  Or me.

When only the ‘C’ word will do.

Since having a newborn in the house again, my Tourette’s has reached new levels.  It is particularly bad at 3.00 AM in the morning.  When I am having to feed.  And Daddy Pig is snoring soundly next to me.  It never feels fair that I have to do this and he doesn’t.

On a good night, I’ll leave him be.  On a bad night, I might fling all the lights on and ask him to change a nappy whilst uttering the C word, threatening to give up breastfeeding and slamming a door.  I’ve lost a lot of things but I haven’t lost my ability to multi-task.

The door slamming is not just for effect.  But also because Daddy Pig has usually gone back to sleep before he’s changed the nappy.

And there goes my Tourette’s again.

Dreaming his way through the dream feed.

So we have introduced a bottle at the 10.30 PM dream feed.  Whilst this involves me hooking myself up to machinery like a dairy cow, it does at least mean I can go to bed earlier and Daddy Pig can take some of the responsibility.

Well, that was the intention anyway.

Unfortunately, Daddy Pig’s narcolepsy got the better of him on only the second time he did it.  I left him standing up in the kitchen at 10.15 PM.  But somewhere between 10.15 PM and 10.30 PM he fell asleep.  We’re not sure how.  He was STANDING UP.  Perhaps he’s also developed cow tendencies, in sympathy.  We’re hoping CCTV will shed some light on what really happened.  Or the Crimewatch reconstruction.

We have also taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again and renamed it the ‘awake feed.’

So Daddy Pig doesn’t get confused.

‘Sleep is for the weak.’

Google this and you’ll find that no one really knows what it means.

This is because it is a stupid expression.  Presumably originated by someone who was sleep deprived and delirious and simply did not know what he was saying.

Because sleep is amazing.  Amazing.  And I realise just how much I love it.

Every time a newborn comes into our house.

If these days are behind you and nightfeeds are a distant memory, I hope you’re rejoicing right now.  If you’re in the thick of them or about to start them, I’ve probably depressed you even further.  Sorry.  Let’s cheer one another up at Surviving Life and Motherhood or find each other on Twitter at 3.00 AM #nightfeed