Twenty six weeks today.
Twenty six whole weeks since this little madam arrived.
Twenty six whole weeks of love.
I’ve honesty had the BEST time getting to know my little Olivia over the past 6months. All her little quirks, the things that she loves, and the other things, not so much. It’s the most bizarre and unique experience when you feel like you’ve known someone all your life yet they’ve been in it for such a short space of time. This past couple of months in particular have been filled with so much joy and I really feel like I’m getting to love more and more about her little character. She’s developing and growing so quickly just now and I feel as if she’s changing almost daily. Still identical to her dad mind you, that never seems to change…..
I have a little confession to make however….
I REALLY didn’t love the newborn stage.
Im sorry, i said it. And hopefully, once I’ve explained, I won’t get treated as some sort of pariah because of it.
Firstly though, let me just say one thing. One of my pet hates is continuous negativity. You know the type of people, I call them ‘Debbie Downers.’ No matter what you do/think/achieve, there’s always a negative comment from ‘Debbie’ to try and bring you down. I feel it’s increased tenfold since having a baby. Comments such as;
‘Just wait until they’re walking, it’s a nightmare!’
‘Oh god, the terrible two’s turn you to drink’
‘Babies are lovely, it’s when they grow up that you begin to hate them.’
All actually said to me from actual real life parents.
Of course, we’re all human and the tough times can be REALLY tough so obviously comments like that can be blurted out or said in jest. But its the Debbie downers of the world who continuously say these types of things and it’s enough to make you think or unnecessarily worry about the time you have ahead.
So PLEASE don’t take my newborn comment as that – I know so many mums who have absolutely LOVED the newborn stage. Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly parts I did love – newborn snuggles, their little milky smell and the fact they slept a lot in the daytime.(What is this daytime sleep magic I talk about?!)
But for me, this was eclipsed by the struggle we had with projectile vomiting, constant feeding battles and the eye watering, frankly painful, reflux related sleep deprivation.
Fortunately, at around 13 weeks (funnily enough when I started to get significantly more sleep….) we started to get her reflux controlled a lot more and started her on prescription milk. It was absolutely amazing to see just how much of a difference it made – what it was like to have a happy baby, something that a lot of mums were able to take for granted. I started to enjoy motherhood far more, to the point where I absolutely LOVE being around her all the time just now.
Of course, looking back, it’s clear to see that there are a LOT of things I would tell myself not to get so caught up about and if I’m lucky enough to have a second time around, I’ll hopefully be able to relax a lot more. Benefit of hindsight right?
So what would I tell the ‘frightened, anxious, soon to-be-mum’ Emma of 6months ago?
Breastfeeding. You thought it’d be a breeze.
It won’t be.
Its bloody hard work and will probably be the most stressful part of your journey as a new mum. Problems with latching, poor weight gain, failure to thrive, thrush, mastitis…. the list will be endless. Youll give yourself a REALLY hard time. You’ll class it as a good day if you don’t end up in tears by the end of it. On the brink of giving up, you’ll have a day where you’ll feel like you nail it, she feeds well, you’re not sore and you feel that rush of love and the closeness that’s always meant to be there.
So you carry on, give it ‘one last shot’
Except, you give it ‘one last shot’ for just under 3 months. Three painful, exhausting, tear inducing months. The guilt about stopping just about eats you up.
You should have just made the change.
You’d given her the best start you possibly could’ve given. She’s happy, healthy and doesn’t care whether she gets her food from your breast or the bottle – she just wants food.
So vow never to beat yourself up like that again. By all means, give it a go second time around. But next time, if it’s not to be, it’s not to be. There’s more to being an amazing mum than breastfeeding.
Sleeping. Or lack of….
Even though you feel like you might die, you’re so tired, you won’t. It’s absolutely incredible what the human body is capable of doing on an average of 7 minutes of sleep. The nights where you were up from 2am onwards, and you felt like you might never sleep again? They actually will pass.
You should really take advantage of the quiet, cosy time feeding your girl, because believe me, you’ll miss it.
And you really actually should ‘sleep when the baby sleeps.’ I know you’re appalled at how cluttered the house is, how high the laundry has piled up or how the dirty dishes have completely hidden the sink, but that’s all gonna still be a problem 6months down the line…. so you really should have slept.
But you’ll do exactly the same next time too, won’t you?
Hormones & husbands.
You’ll be in a euphoric state of bliss when baby arrives.
Then the baby blues will hit.
Along with about 732,000 hormones, or so it feels.
You’ll naively think they’ll calm down after a few weeks. Nope, you should maybe just accept they’re here to stay.
With the hormones, come the rollercoaster of emotions. And of course, rollercoasters aren’t as fun on your own, so you’ll decide to bring the husband along for the ride.
Husband hate is an actual thing. You’ll love him like you’ve never loved him before, in a completely different way entirely. And when he looks at your daughter? You’ll feel like melting.
But MY GOD, will you hate him sometimes. The poor guy will try his best. He really will. He’ll do the dishes, put a wash on, try to make you feel better 24/7, telling you that you look beautiful even though you’ve been crying for an hour solid because you dropped your chocolate bar on the floor and you can’t reach it cos you’ll wake the baby that’ll only ever sleep on your chest….. but that won’t be good enough at times.
No. He might breathe a bit too loudly one time. Or he might spend a minute too long in the shower one morning. How DARE he laugh at something on the television when I’m trying to tell him about the green mucous that I’m SURE I saw in his daughters nappy…..
Irrational? Probably. Necessary? Absolutely.
Speaking of nappies…. You’ll become OBSESSED with poo.
The frequency, the colour, the texture, the smell. The list is endless. You’ll ask questions that you didn’t even think possible, relating to poo. And that’s pretty impressive considering you’re a nurse that deals with faecal matter daily.
You’ll celebrate when she goes. You’ll stress if she doesn’t. You’ll even start to track it on an app. (Seriously, you’re gross now)
When you get a poonami? You’re gutted at the thought of the clean up mission but internally overjoyed because everything is working as it should.
Most importantly? Try and R-E-L-A-X.
You won’t, and it’ll be impossible at times, especially as a first time mum. But trust me when I say this;
That girl of yours? She’s strong. She’s robust. She’s not gonna die if you don’t check on her every 5mins/sterilize every single utensil in her surrounding area/leave her to cry for longer than 2seconds.
You need to enjoy this little newborn bubble. Because before long, she’ll be on the move and she’ll be speaking and you’ll long for those moments where she would fall asleep on your chest and you could just lay there and relax.
In all seriousness, this last 6months have been the most intense of my life. I have never experienced such love, joy and pride – interlaced with sorrow, fear and guilt. To say it has been a whirlwind, wouldn’t do it justice. It has felt like it has gone in a blink of an eye. I’m so excited for everything to come but for now, if someone could just invent a pause button?!