Those first few weeks

What do you see when you look at this photo? Or this one?

Some photos of a newborn with its mama? Well yes, that’s what the photo is of. But it’s not what I see. I see fear. Worry. Anxiety. There is nothing quite as wobble inducing as having a baby. 

As rose tinted as my glasses may become, I don’t know that I will ever forget that fear. 

There is no other job on Earth that you could be so woefully underprepared for. Whether you read 100 books (hi, Gina Ford) or none, there is nothing quite like the actual emotion of holding this tiny vulnerable newborn and thinking 

“Right…so what now?”

There is no manual (though Amazon will disagree) but there is well-meaning advice from family, friends and strangers. However this advice is like treacle. Sifting through it with baby brain and post-partum hormones is easier said than done.

I felt guilt at not automatically discerning one squawk from another initially. I felt fear at every turn and my Google search history could probably get me committed. In fact I will be doing a blog post on insane googling tomorrow. She would cry and I would Google. 

I had heard a lot about mother’s instinct and felt under pressure to decipher everything or be labelled a failure. I was worried I’d be outed as a fraud. Quick. This woman is not fit to MOTHER.

There was a period at the beginning where I dreaded it getting dark (Matilda was born in February so sundown was horrifically early) as night time waking filled me with dread.

But

Oh but. I get a pang of nostalgia when I look at the the above photos. I am brutally aware of how critical I was of myself. But I can’t help feeling sad at how quickly the newborn stage passed.

My friend Chloe (and the muse for this blog) came over today with her new baby boy Gus. He’s 18 days old. So cuddly and curly and sleepy. My ovaries ached. 

The only advice I could offer is “it’s normal to cry” and “it’s normal to google” and “how weird is it to own a human”. I remember how scary it was. I can share that I was scared too. And hope she doesn’t feel alone or abnormal.

It’s the steepest learning curve I’ve ever encountered.

This brute looked enormous next to Gus. It’s such a cliché to say “where has the time gone?” But really, wow. 

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4 thoughts on “Those first few weeks

  1. This is SO true. I get so envious of new mums who say ‘oh I just fell into bed at 7pm as was so exhausted’ or ‘I havent had any alcohol yet as fall asleep before I get a glass!’.. as I dreaded night fall, my body and mind ached for sleep – just one night – I just had a baby for crying out loud – let me sleep!!! When morning came I was still exhausted – obviously ha ha – but relieved it was day light. So strange. Oh and I had wine every night and still do (I must try and have a night off – I’ve just never got to 8pm and felt ready for no wine!)

    And it’s harder with no.2 I found – even less time to cherish those first weeks as you don’t get to sit down with a toddler. I don’t mean this to put you off at all – seeing them grow together is just amazing – I’m just being frank about how I found it.

    You’re blogs are very addictive reading – well done you! Just remember you are certainly not alone in any of it and pictures really don’t convey the reality most of the time.

    Oh and just to say I also had a terrible first birth – basically laboured for far too long (and spiked a temperature too – why’s that do your think? Exhaustion?) and then after finally giving birth after epidural and episiotomy I then bled to death internally and was in agony with it only to be told it was just the epidural wearing off! A beautiful Dr saved my life with only a hour left by his estimations, and following an operation with blood and plasma trasfusion and packing (horrendous – basically a huge cloth stuffed up inside) for 24 hours I was finally able to hold my baby. So I was also robbed of the first day, well actually it took me 2 weeks of iron supplements and blood thinning injections to feel normal again – and that’s WITH the sleepless nights to top it all!! We are miracle workers with fantasticly resilient bodies. And to end on a positive note, I did it all again with the fear of God in me yet it was a breeze! Second labour is much easier – and guess what, despite being ‘high risk’ due to first labour I was completely ignored and left to it – but it was still a breeze 🙂 x

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    • Wow you really really went through it. It’s such a traumatic time even if your labour was straightforward. Oh gosh iron tablets! Was so constipated! Thanks for reading. Just nice to know you arent alone. I felt so lonely until I realised how Normal how I felt was.

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