For many, bringing a baby in to the world is one of excitement, joy, and a way to unite friends and families - But let me ask a question - What if your pregnancy is during a pandemic where you go to scans alone, cannot attend ante-natal classes and chat with other mums to be? What if you don't have a family network of support and the only source of knowledge you have is Google? What if you have never even held a baby before? And what if the prospect of bringing a life in to the world fills you with unimaginable fear - Well all of the above relate to me -
One of the main things I learned when pregnant is that there are typically 5 things you are asked / told repeatedly
How big (or small) my bump was
That I need to get all the sleep in now as I won't get any when baby arrives
Am I having a natural birth or C Section?
Oh wow you are 40 and pregnant - Apparently this means I am in the geriatric category of motherhood!.
You aren't taking maternity leave! Oh....
With the constant questions and pressure surrounding the above I developed an unexpected level of stress & self doubt.
I had opted for an elective C section (My body / My decision)! Little did I realise that this is typically frowned upon, Ditto this with the fact that I chose to bottle feed my son (My body/My decision). With the pressures of my hormones, the launch of my new business and a lack of household income due to the pandemic I experienced a new found stress that I needed to manage because I needed to protect the health of my unborn son.
So fast forward 9 months and I welcomed Ezra Theodore in to the world on 9th March 2021. A healthy weight and bright eyed little superstar. So that's it, I had done it and created a milestone life achievement in my life that I would never have expected. This is where reality hit me like a lead weight....
Heading back to the ward after my surgery I was greeted by a nurse who casually said "I will leave you and your baby for a while now so you can dress him, put on his nappy and give him a feed" Errrrmmmm ok I replied, these words seeming such a simple task for her but little did she know that these few words literally terrified me. Suddenly I was alone in the room with my son and I didn't dare touch him for fear of hurting him never mind all the other things she needed me to do. I just sat on the bed and stared at him before ringing the buzzer explaining to the nurse that I had no clue what i was doing, I then burst in to tears - Embarrassment or hormones I couldn't be sure!
This experience got me thinking about how many other mums are just like me? Why does society uphold an expectation that we give birth and know exactly what we are doing? That we will lose our baby weight, go back to work and be the woman we were before?
Instagram and social media doesn't help with the endless photos of bounce back mums looking so perfect.
So I decided to change my outlook and stop being so harsh on myself. Me and my partner don't have the luxury of parental leave so we split our work days accordingly to ensure we have family time vs business time. We don't have a family support network so we accept that this next few months is just us getting through it as a team. You Tube has become my bible , learning how to make up a feed, how to hold him, wind him and even how to cut his nails.
Newbie parents - Don't be so hard on yourself and most importantly still take some time for you because amidst all the dirty nappies, sleep deprivation and endless piles of washing there are precious memories being made,milestones in your babies development and a moment in the here and now that is so valuable.
If you can relate to this or would like to speak to us about your own experience please reach out to www.thisgirlconsultancy.co.uk.