Things I have learnt since becoming a new mummy
In my last post, I wrote about the 10 fears I had about becoming a mummy. When I was pregnant it honestly felt like those fears couldn't be cured and at times I felt like screaming "is having a baby really worth it!?"
But believe me, it is. And I'm going to prove it today by re-listing all of my fears and then showing how they were dealt with once Rupert arrived. I only hope that if there are any mummy's-to-be out there who might share he same worries as me, I can help by proving that it will all be ok in the end.
My pre baby worry: Would my relationship with patrick change!
What actually happened: Yes, It has changed. But has it changed enough that it is indistinguishable from before? Do we love eachother any less or have any less fun? No.
Just last week on our wedding anniversary we spent the week at a luxury hotel (as we usually did pre-baby) and the only difference was we had a baby in tow. Did it mean that we couldn't have a romantic, boozy dinner to celebrate? No - we just hooked up the baby monitor and took it downstairs with us whilst we eat. Did it mean we didn't laugh and reminisce and kiss like we always be had? Of course not - in fact we had even more to smile about now - like the look on Rupert's face when patrick did a "Count Dracula" impression or the "family cuddle" we all had which caused Rupert to giggle hysterically.
My pre baby worry: If I decide not to breastfeed, will I be judged?
What actually happened: I'll be honest, this fear carried on well into the first three months of being a mummy and it wasn't easy. I simply worry too much about what other people think.
So, when I decided to start mix feeding (after suffering with bleeding and cracked nipple from trying to persevere with breastfeeding) I DID look around frantically as I gave Rupert his first aptimel and worried what people would be saying behind my back. BUT, just a few days later I relaxed as I realised something - I was being a much better mummy to him because I was no longer sobbing uncontrollably due to pain whilst breast feeding. I was no longer dreading feeding him and instead was able to smile at him mid bottle and tell him how much I loved him. Breastfeeding full-time wasn't right for me, but it took me a while to realise it.
I now mix feed which means during the day he gets a bottle and during the night, when it's just him and me, I breastfeed. Breastfeeding in public was something I could never get comfortable with so this situation works perfectly. And, as I'm now a happier mummy, I'm pretty convinced Rupert is a happier baby.
My pre baby worry: Will I ever get my pre baby body back?
What actually happened: The first time I stood naked infront of the mirror after giving birth I was prepared to recoil in horror. But the truth is, I didn't. Yes I had a jelly belly and yes my c section scar was raised and red but I HAD JUST HAD A BABY and so it really didn't matter.
I'm not going to lie though. 4 months in and I would quite like my flat tummy back. Thankfully this is where your nct group can really come into their own. One of my nct mothers took it upon herself to kick us all back into shape and booked a personal trainer for the 5 of us. Not only did this mean we are there to motivate eachother every Wednesday afternoon (whilst attempting bench presses!) but as we are all mummies we are able to bring the babies along too. Now there really is no excuse not to get fit again. And dare I say I'm actually enjoying it too - there's something about working out with people who are all in the same situation as you e.g. Just birthed a baby and not done exercise for over a year, that makes you feel supported and determined!
My pre baby worry: Will some of my friends disappear now that I'm a mummy?
What actually happened: It's brutal (and still upsets me at times) but yes, some of my 'friends' has deserted me since I've become a mother. However, after thinking about it a bit, I can understand why. Everyone has friends for different reasons: there are your 'party friends - the ones you get pissed with and bemoan hangovers, the 'work friends' - the ones you chat about work with and how to climb the career ladder, the 'yoga/running/fitness' friends. The old 'I've-known-you-forever' friends who are always 'just there' whenever you need them.
It makes sense then that some friends might see your change of circumstances (e.g. becoming a mother) as a change of circumstances for your friendship. You might not blame them for thinking 'she was my party friend and she has had a baby - what can we do together now?As a result, they might simply slip out of your life, due to the fear of thinking that as your life has now changed, your friendship is likely to too.
But rest assured, for every friend who disappears, a new one will surface, and you really will learn who your 'best friends' are. I had phone-calls in the early days of having Rupert (when I wasn't coping very well) from friends who I really didn't except to call. Friends who genuinely wanted to know how I was doing and who really wanted to meet Rupert and share in this new exciting part of my life. I had other 'friends' who, apart from the obligatory 'congrats on the birth' text, I didnt (and still haven't) heard a peek from.
And in a way it makes it easier - because you really do learn that your 'true' friends are always there for you. Thank you guys - you know who you are x
My pre baby worry: Will my baby be healthy?
What actually happened: I still worry. And I have been assured by every fellow mummy out there that this will never change. Worrying about your baby just shows how much you love them. And with that in mind, Rupert must be the most loved baby in the world.
My pre baby worry: How will I have the energy to do it all?
What actually happened: You may not believe me if you are still 'with bump' but your body really does do amazing things. I might have only had two hours sleep the night before but when you wake up, adrenaline kicks in and your body happily skips through the day and manages to get everything done. And even on the days when you are feeling slightly 'off' the lack of energy just seems...worth it. You just have to look over at your little baby and you realise that, no matter how knackered you feel, the buzz you get from knowing that he is all yours, is better than any adrenaline shot.
(Ok, I admit it, I also got a nanny 3 days a week)
My pre baby worry: How will I deal with loneliness?
What actually happened: My NCT group saved me - it's as simple as that. Thrown together in some stuffy school classroom, 7 months into our pregnancies, and we have all become friends for life. It's impossible to feel lonely when you have a what'sapp group that goes off every 20 seconds with questions/fears/rants about the new babies. NCT groups ( or at least mine) are also fab at arranging coffees/cake/fitness classes/nights out so the chance of feeling alone is just impossible.
And even if you don't have a great NCT group, you'll be amazed at how, when you are pushing your baby in a pram, fellow mummies stop to talk to you. We are all in the same boat - we all feel overwhelmed, stressed and scared at times, and fellow mummies know this. I have lost count of the about of times, on Chiswick high road, I have cooed over another mummy's baby and then, after a brief chat about how we are finding it/lack of sleep/poonados, we swap numbers and days later are meeting for a coffee in the local cafe.
My pre baby worry: How can I choose between work and a baby?
What actually happened: I did't have to. I know not everyone will be in the same boat as me, but as a freelance journalist I do get to work from home. So, some people might think I have it easy - I can let the nanny look after the baby and pop in and out to see him when I want. They are right. I can do this.
But it was my TV career I was worried about. Prior to getting pregnant I was receiving lots of TV offers and presenting jobs. I had been contacted by several agents who wanted to represent me and there was talk about me writing a book. Once I got pregnant and the baby news was announced these all seemed to dry up (I can only presume they thought I just wouldn't have time for TV work now I had a baby in tow.)
But with this realisation came a new sense of determination. I started to think about how I could merge my work life with my baby...and this blog was born. Since launching just 3 months ago, I have been asked to film for mumsnet as a presenter and have had lots of magazines interested in baby related features I have pitched.
Maybe I was lucky - but in the end I really didn't have to choose between my baby and my work. I could have both.
My pre baby worry: How can I be a good mother to a little boy?
What actually happened: I just became a good mother to my little boy. Sure, I never thought I wanted to play with cars and trains, and the thought of taking him to rugby training when he is older still fills me with dread. However what I have realised is that being a good mother doesn't have to be defined by the sex of your child. I wouldn't be able to teach him how to fish, or shoot, or show him how to shave when he is older, but I could be the reason that he smiles every day. I could be the mummy he goes to when he feels unsure and needs a cuddle. I could be the mummy who shows him a different side to life - I could read him his story books using funny voices (my drama degree might eventually come in use!). I could show him how to build an aeroplane sandcastle like my grandad used to do for me.
Being a mummy to a little boy (despite my initial fears) has been the best thing ever. As people often told me 'a sons relationship with his mummy is irreplaceable' and its only now that I have Rupert, that I can see that they mean.
My pre baby worry: Will I lose my sense of self?
What actually happened: I realised that losing your sense of self is just not possible. I had been worrying that, once I had a baby, I would just become a 'mum.' I panicked that everything else I have ever stood for would just disappear.
What I have realised however is that the 'true you' will always be with you. Who says I can't still travel the world with Rupert at my side? Why can't I still be the party girl I once was (albeit it I would have to learn how to deal with the hangovers a bit better now I have a baby to look after!)
I don't have to give up any part of me just because I have a baby. In fact, I can honestly say, I think having a baby has made me a 'better me.' I am without a doubt now less selfish, more compassionate and even more determined to live the best life I can...so that Rupert can live it too.
What were your top fears when you were pregnant and how have these changed since having your baby? I'd love to hear your thoughts -drop me a message below and I'll respond to each and every one of you!