Becoming a first-time mum is like riding a rollercoaster ride without a seatbelt. There are massive highs and rushes of adrenaline and joy, as well as plummeting lows that scare the hell out of you! They say that a mother should always trust her instincts, and that’s exactly what I’ve learnt in the first few months of being mother to Nora.
To say we had a rocky start is an understatement. Nora arrived three weeks early after my waters broke prematurely due to me having Polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid). This came as no surprise really as I was absolutely ginormous and barely able to waddle, let alone walk. After 43 hours in labour, she was born a perfect pink bundle, but we ended up in hospital for five days as we both had an infection. I learnt just how amazing my tiny girl was; undergoing cannula changes and two lumbar punctures. I also learnt how strong my will to protect her was.
Leaving hospital for home was one of the best days of my life; we were finally a little family. I struggled a lot with pain from the c section – James had to lift me in and out of our shower-over-bath and help me get dressed! I think the only thing I missed about hospital was the walk in wetroom! I learnt that after birth blues were as real as anything – every night like clockwork I’d just burst into tears, feeling so upset with no idea why. It was a cathartic exercise, and afterwards I’d feel fine. Our bodies go through so much to create a little human, it’s only logical that there would be bizarre happenings after birth too! I learnt how to be kind to myself, to ask for help and not feel guilty about staying in pyjamas all day!
Being home I had to learn, more than ever, how to control my anxiety. This was the hardest lesson I’m still learning to master. Being wholly responsible for a baby’s life is terrifying. Is she breathing ok? Has she had enough out of this feed? Is she warm enough or too hot? For the first week, I really struggled with my own head and these questions that wouldn’t quit. The only way I’ve learnt to cope with this is to challenge myself to be positive. So, when I get a negative thought I remind myself that Nora is putting on weight, she sleeps soundly, her skin is beautifully pink etc. Worrying is natural but I’m learning to not let it ruin this perfect time with my daughter. I tell myself to rationalise, to trust that I know what I’m doing – this helps!
One of the most important things I’ve learnt is that mother’s intuition is a force of nature and to always trust it. An example I can give you is when Nora became poorly with a cold at six weeks old. One evening I just knew she wasn’t right. I called an ambulance and we were taken to hospital where Nora was diagnosed with bronchiolitis. Absolutely terrifying, yes, but I had done the right thing in calling 999. It’s true that no one knows a baby like its mother, and in six weeks I already knew my little girl like she’d been in my arms forever.
Nora is three months old now, and I’m learning every day. I still don’t have a seatbelt yet but I don’t feel like I’m holding on for dear life either!