Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Becoming Mummy...

I am convinced that there is almost nothing that can prepare the modern woman for the true rigours motherhood. In years gone by girls used to help their mothers care for their siblings and would have been well acquainted with the ways of babies and the time and energy they take to care for. Now days, most girls would be lucky to have many siblings at all, let alone siblings so much younger that they would remember the care of them. To the modern woman with little experience with children, a career and social life and an expectation of keeping at least one of the latter intact, a baby is a strange and inconvenient thing indeed!

Since giving birth to my first child, I have found the adjustment far more challenging than I could ever have imagined. I have vague memories of my youngest brother as a baby; some crying in the car, rocking him to sleep at night and a bit of projectile vomiting, but I don't remember the hard work my mum must have put in, the screaming, or the weeks of sleepless nights. Sleepless nights. Many sleepless nights. People assure me that the sleepless nights gradually reduce and become a memory. I knew there would be sleepless nights, but I didn't know what it would be like to live with them and to long for, more than anything else, more than three hours sleep in a row. I didn't know how crazy and hysterical and impatient I would feel running on a tiny bit of sleep. I didn't know how hard it would be to keep getting out of bed every night to keep caring for my sweet little baby. I know now... I'm becoming Mummy.

I knew that babies were messy little people in theory. I've seen other people's children, toddlers and other older babies. They make a mess when they eat and when they play. Nothing prepared me for my newborn though; the constant spitting up, the wet nappies, the dirty nappies that leak, the piles of dirty baby clothes and bibs and wraps and nappies and washers and towels. The pile of my dirty clothes not dirtied by me. No one told me how dreadful that warm wet feeling of spit-up milk is running down my chest to pool in my bra in the middle of the night. Or how nasty it is to try falling asleep with the smell of spit-up milk over my pyjamas because all my other pyjamas are in the wash already. No one explained what it would be like to be holding a baby with a leaking dirty nappy. No one told me that I would have to stay covered in dirty nappy contents while I first look to the needs of my equally dirty baby. No one explained that my baby wouldn't understand that you don't pee in the bath water, or spit-up in your clean bath towel. I know now... I'm becoming Mummy.

I used to be a rather productive and busy person, filling my days with hobbies and trips to the shops and visiting with friends. I used to be able to clean my whole house in an hour, the washing used to take me all of about 20 mins every couple days and preparing dinner was a simple fact of life. Add a new baby. Just getting dressed in the morning has become a challenge, I've stopped trying to eat breakfast at a sensible hour. Getting to the point of being dressed, teeth brushed, face washed and hair tied back is an achievement that I now celebrate each day. I've realised that my house will continue to function even if the vacuuming doesn't happen each week and that it's okay to take a while to get the washing out each day. No one told me how tricky and often stressful it is trying to leave the house with my baby. No one explained that he will want to feed at the most inconvenient times and that he will sometimes scream in his car seat, or that when I get to my destination, I might end up spending the whole time feeding him in the car and never get where I was going at all. I know now... I'm becoming Mummy.

Most of all, nothing prepared me for the overwhelming sense of responsibility for my tiny helpless baby. No one explained the worry I would feel when something isn't quite right or he seems to be in pain. I never knew exactly how it would feel knowing that my baby is entirely dependant on me and my husband for everything. I never knew how it felt to be a living milk bottle to my baby, unable to escape for more than a couple hours from my food producing duties. I never thought I could care enough about someone to check them multiple times while they sleep just to reassure myself that they are safe and well. No one prepared me for the feeling of pride I get when my baby lifts his head up on his own or pulls cute faces at me. No one told me how much I would love this little person who is so demanding and who gives so little back, but I do, and I know that one day I will be very sad to see my grown up son leave home. I guess I've become Mummy.

My precious boy

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