Guest post: The things I loved & didn’t love in my first 6 months as a Mum
Krystyna gave birth to her cheeky little boy in October last year. She is loving motherhood and relishing the baby related love and mothering accomplishments.
Reflecting on her experience of her first 6 months as a mum inspired her to write a post summarising the good and the bad to offer encouragement to new mothers.
She has kindly agreed to let me share her thoughts on my blog. So, Krystyna, over to you.
Things I loved
Recovering from childbirth fairly quickly: I did cry in the early days thinking I’d never sneeze without wetting myself a little bit (among other delightful consequences) but I recovered and I did feel normal again. I did genuinely feel traumatised by the whole event of birthing but I am 220 days clear of that event and now it’s a proud feeling, ‘I did it’ ‘go me’.
Handing over baby when Daddy got home from work each night: It was the best feeling in the world. Then 10 minutes later being ready to take baby back for a cuddle despite having eagerly anticipated said arrival for 3 hours straight. My husband is still scared to arrive home late from work (well trained).
The weekends: Parenting with 2 adults is so much easier. I thought maternity leave was going to be one long weekend, silly me.
Finding other like-minded mums to hangout with or just talk to, who are kind and supportive: They don’t even need to be people you would usually make friends with, they just need to be going through it. I found that mums with older toddlers and children had already forgotten everything they’d needed and replaced it with what they were currently being challenged by i.e. potty training, tantrums, and school runs etc.
YouTube parenting my way through the first week/s: It still makes me smile thinking about the support I got from YouTube; from feeding techniques, to swaddling, to healing down below.
Overcoming my fear of being judged by others: I was sometimes scared to go outside when baby was crying and perhaps the best thing would have been to go outside. When I got over this and did what I needed to do to get through, I was liberated. (Obviously I still have my moments of insecurity).
Yoga (magic) pants: Secretly loving wearing them during the day and then magically converting them in to pyjamas at night (not so secretly anymore). In the early days it’s not clear when day starts and night ends anyway.
Sleeping when baby sleeps: Annoying advice given to all new mothers, when the reality is you’re rudely awoken by baby 20 minutes after you put them down most days (as if you managed to get to sleep so quickly), but on the odd occasion that baby cracks out a 90 minute nap, it’s heaven. I kept this a secret from Daddy too.
Things I didn’t love
Realising that childbirth was the easy part: Despite having had a very challenging birth, actually looking after the new baby was the real hard part. It did get easier and I’m beginning to think, now that baby is on the move, that it’s going to get so much harder. Who knew my home was such a death trap.
Feeling alone: This hit me hard at about 6 weeks postpartum and only really went away when I started getting myself to baby classes. Pre-parenthood I would be the last person you would expect to turn up to such clap happy events but I love them, my saviour.
Meeting clique mums: I mean come on we’re all going through the same things let’s just be kind to one another.
Feeling competitive: And wishing my baby would do things that others were doing. Why do I even care? It’s not like you meet 18 year olds who can’t roll over and an ‘early walker’ does not a Prime Minister make. I’m still working on this; I must put my energy into better things.
Having doctors tell me I must keep breastfeeding: ‘Okay I intend to but I also need to plan to go back to work’.
Worrying: Oh the worrying… ‘is he breathing, is he going to choke on that, am I going to drop him off the balcony’ complete and utter irrational thoughts. I am told this isn’t going to end anytime soon.
Still getting a little depressed on Sunday evening when you realise the weekend is coming to a close, knowing Daddy is going back to work for a break and your workload is about to double.
Mastitis!!! I had no idea how quickly and seriously ill you can get with this. Each time I’d wish I’d bought some bl**dy cabbage leaves during my last shop. Not once did I have any to hand to try out this apparently magical pain relief. I eventually discovered that using raw garlic as a natural antibiotic and hand expressing was a healthier way to recover than the doctor’s prescriptions.
Still worrying about work and when to return: I’m still not completely there in terms of a decision but the whole issue just kept cropping up throughout the first 6 months. I’m totally gutted about the blip in my career as well.
Not having my best friend to go out with anymore unless we have a babysitter in.
Too much information on the internet: If you search the internet for say ‘baby vaccinations’ you will be shown numerous arguments for and against. I am no wiser for having read reams on this subject on the basis that for every argument ‘for’ there is a perfectly reasonable argument ‘against’. Deciphering correct information is virtually impossible. Eventually, I had to go with my gut feel and consequently add more worry to my already long list of things to worry about.
What things did you love (and not love) about the first 6 months of parenthood? Share your thoughts in the comments below.