As we begun to try for a baby over 2 years ago, my idea on what motherhood would be like, was far from reality! I loved the idea of being a mum and having my own child (I was a pre-school teacher at the time) but the emotion of it all was far beyond my understanding.
In May 2014, I had a miscarriage and it seemed like our world had come to a standstill and we didn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. The biggest fear I had after this was that it would keep happening and that I wouldn’t be able to have my own children. I know this is a very real fear for many and a reality for others. It’s one of those things we cannot explain but can only look to God for comfort and hope. My heart goes out to those whose reality this is.
We were very blessed to fall pregnant shortly after and I had my son, Jonah, in February 2015.
Let me backtrack a bit to my pregnancy – if I can give one piece of advice to first-time pregnant ladies or ladies wanting to fall pregnant – make friends with mums! And I mean good, deep, honest friendships, because if there’s anything you want to know, it’s ‘what to expect when you’re expecting’ and after! And the books don’t always cover everything!
I was working with some awesome ladies who were all mums and we were very close. Lucky (or unlucky!) for me they didn’t hold back when it came to stories (the good, the bad and the scary) of pregnancy, birth and beyond. Some may find this a bit much, but I felt I was made very aware and that much more prepared. Having these friends also made it easy to ask questions when I was going through something (lots of strange things happen during pregnancy) and you don’t feel like you’re the only whom it’s happened to. Reassurance becomes your new best friend. I know Google is a great advice giver, but an honest friend is ten times better.
The next tip I’d give (and this applies to post-birth motherhood as well) is while you will get lots of advice, don’t try and follow all of it, you will definitely stress yourself out. Pick and choose what works best for you and your family, based on circumstances, schedule, and lifestyle. Everyone is different and there is no one right way of doing things.
I remember the day Jonah arrived… I was SO overwhelmed, and very scared about the day we would leave the hospital and his well-being would be in my hands. I think I asked my husband if we could take a nurse with us! Looking back on that day, I can laugh at how ridiculous I was being, but once again, it’s a real fear! Take heed though, ladies, the day comes when you know your baby so well, and it’s the most reassuring and joyous feeling.
Jonah went from being a foreign little person in my arms, to this bundle of joy that I cannot imagine my life without. Very quickly I grew in love with him… and I mean grew. It was gradual; as I got to know him, he got to know me. But now it’s at the point that what I feel for him overwhelms me beyond comprehension. I have moments when it still (15 months later) feels surreal that he’s my son, and I have the privilege of being his mum.
We had heard about the sleepless nights, the inflexible lifestyle, the endless crying, non-stop feeding and lack of time as a couple. To be completely honest, we went through some of that, but none of it stands out. Jonah has adapted to our lives and is in a steady routine, and we are blessed beyond measure to have a baby who has slept through the night from 10 weeks old! But not everyone has that, and I don’t count on being this lucky with the next one! Whichever way it happens- know that it will pass, you will get to the end of that phase and it all fades into the background. The ‘mummy world’ can seem intimidating and judgemental, but just remember you know your baby best, and you do what you have to do to make life work for you and the family. There is no one ‘right’ way of doing things. In your gut, you will know what’s right for you and your baby. Trust that mummy instinct.
This journey has brought many changes to our lives; I quit my job to be a stay-at-home-mum, we moved to a different house; we now have to plan our days, and budget more diligently – my husband has switched jobs and careers – but the biggest change of all is that the little guy, who brought about most of the changes, has taken up an immense amount of space in our hearts. He’s ours forever and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
So if you’re out there, wondering about what it means to become a parent, know that it’s a big change! Read the books, ask the friends, but in the end, you build a relationship with your baby that only you can have and it’s the most rewarding experience ever. No exaggeration.
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