My beautiful friend Cristalle wrote about her journey of being a first-time mum, I thought it would be beautiful to share, it’s unedited and straight from the heart x
I write this as I sit in my dark nursery with white noise blasting and my sick baby sleeping in my arms...
The last 6 months has been a hazy blur, but I’ve learnt a lot and I know that I’m only scraping the surface of Mumma hood & there’s SOOO much more to learn. People tell you how much newfound appreciation you have for your own mum, how exhausting it is, how much love you feel & how weak your pelvic floor is! So, I’m only sharing what I wasn’t told or what I didn’t know before this crazy adventure I’ve started…
- The women’s body is hardcore & truly amazing!!
So I don’t know why, maybe because my mums had 7 kids and said to me “you just breathe them out” or that I was shown women having very calm hippy type home births at my birth course but I wasn’t expecting childbirth to be as full on as it was!* I didn’t opt for an epidural so that might be why but boy I felt like I had just done ten rounds with mike Tyson afterwards! My body was broken and when they say you need help you really do! I was hobbling around, I don’t have family here, but they spoilt me with hampers and food deliveries, I also booked a cleaner on day 3 of getting home! Achieving anything each day was virtually impossible whilst you are grappling with the new job of looking after your baby, letting your body heal and learning the very challenging art of breastfeeding. I was so glad I said no visitors until I was ready as I was able to walk around in my pants with my boobs out and not care & there was still a LOT of blood (which I didn’t realise was normal). I also got severe night sweats which again I had never heard of, and this lasted a few weeks, I was drinking litres of water (a big water bottle is a must!). There was no day or night in that first week & it was just a bubble of love, and I was upset with myself for breaking it too early. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get back to normal or to host, it’s just about you and baby and nothing else matters! & You and your body really need this time to heal. 6 months on and still achieving things on a day-to-day basis is an effort. The respect I have now for my body is so much more forgiving then previously and it makes me want to love it more than critique it (most of the time).
- Breastfeeding is hard!
I should have done a course on this pre bub, I might have had some idea as to what I was doing...I just thought they latched on & off they go but there’s definitely a technique!! The midwives help but I left hospital the next day so missed out on having them there all the time. Oh, and your appetite doubles (mine tripled, maybe because I was feeding a big boy?) and it only returned to normal around month 4. The cravings for sugar were nonstop.
- Men just don’t get it!
It’s a general consensus amongst a lot of my friends that they just can’t empathise with us on the level we need them to as they are wired differently and truly don’t get it! An example of this was when I told my husband how tired I was and he replied, “You need to exercise”. Probably the worst thing you could say to a sleep deprived new mum. I have found my communication with my husband needs to be really direct and I literally need to spell out what I need/want from him. Invisible expectations especially on Valentine’s Day just led to disappointment! I had a much more fun Mother’s Day as I told him exactly what I wanted.
- You do just adjust to less sleep
When I’m tired, I’m a negative Nancy and I was really worried this would be me 24/7 as a new mum but a friend told me when I was pregnant that you just adjust, you’re still you! And this has been true for the most part, that I’m still my happy self but just on cloud la la land! The brain fuzz is what has been affected by my lack of sleep. What I’m going to do on a minute-to-minute basis is unknown to even me as my brain just jumps around from one thing to the next. An example of this is when my husband came home one time and went to get changed & a few minutes later I thought “I wonder where he is?” Totally forgetting he had just come in. It’s like you are in the REM stage of dreaming so Forgive yourself when you forget things and also hide some spare keys around the place!!
In good news I found my ability to drop back to sleep in the night was much better than pre baby. So, you might be up 5 times but if you have an efficient feeder then this might only equate to an hour. I found I couldn’t nap in the day as Finlay loved sleeping in the carrier so when I was hitting a wall of exhaustion, I would make myself go to bed at 7pm in-order to combat it defeating me (don’t get me wrong there were times I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was watching the seconds to Duncan got home but this was the exception)
- Mothers groups are worth their weight in gold!
Don’t underestimate the power of a good mums/parent group from the beginning. With no family here to rely on, I was lucky that I was like a magnet for pregnant women before I gave birth, so I had set up a group of mums all with babies born within a week of Finlay and I had this from the start. This along with my larger parents’ group has been my rock of support & I honestly feel they have been a big part of why I’ve had such a great positive start to being a mum. I know we have so many people around us that have had kids but to have people going through the exact same thing is priceless as you can bounce off each other and someone will always have good advice / comforting words & empathy to help you through whatever leap or phase your baby is at! Getting out of the house was essential for my sanity so it was always great to have something to go to or someone to catch up with. (If you are put into a group and no one tries to meet, ask to change groups, I know a few mums that have done this).
The feelings of intense love & obsession and the happiness you receive is worth every single second of sleep you didn’t get or relentless bouncing, swaying, singing and sssshhhhing that you do!
Practice gratitude & be kind to yourself ❤️