although I am the first to admit that not every day is a good day, some days are much better than others. Some days I have an extremely positive out look on life and what is going on. Today is one of them.
As much as Ava is hard work, I do love her to pieces. I admit I need time to myself but she is most of the time a delightful little girl. (I am aware of how much I moan that she isn’t but so would you if your hearing was shot by all the screaming she does do).
There are things that happen that make her a delight. Like yesterday, she has been saying baba and haha for quite a while. But yesterday she very clearly said ‘dads’ for the first time. She has also sprung her first tooth at 9 months old. (We have been waiting for this moment since she was about 4 months of age with dread). Then there are simple things. Like her absolute delight at standing against the sofa hitting it with her hands like a drum. Something so simple can make her smile and laugh from ear to ear.
Then there’s the fact that my parents are coming tomorrow. Which is always a delight and help that is grately appreciated.
There is also the fact that christmas is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited about Ava’s first christmas.
And then finally there was some lovely news that a lady who runs a yoga business for mums pre and post birth wants to feature one of my posts on her blog. That gives me the almighty lift I need. It’s only something small to some. But someone thinking that what you have written is worth posting is lovely. And heart warming. It makes me feel like me, like I’m not just a mother. That there is more to my life than cleaning up baby poo and sick and that maybe post baby I will be able to continue to progress and make something of myself.
And maybe becoming a mother will be a massive part of that… Who knows. I don’t expect this blog to go far. But if it helps just one mum to realise it’s normal to feel the way she is then I have achieved what I set out to do.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who is yet to embark on motherhood. I have never been one to beat about the bush in what I say. It’s something that people either love or hate about me. My brutal and upfront honesty.
She asked me how motherhood was. She could see from dealing with Ava with my husband that it wasn’t easy. Trying to drink a coffee whilst feeding her her snack and then getting her in the pram so she could be walked about to have a nap.
I was honest with her. I said that the beginning was hard work and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve been through education, got married, bought a house, all things considered stressful life events. But nothing compared to motherhood. Being ill post birth topped with sleep deprivation and embarking on our breastfeeding journey was hard and at some points horrible. It was lonely, isolating and with non existing energy levels meant I didn’t have the energy to socialise with others. All I wanted was sleep!
Having my family miles away also added to this as I didn’t really have help in the week. With nicky being at work and family being too far away, Monday to Friday I was alone.
I don’t see the point of making out motherhood is instantly and constantly an amazing lovely experience full of love and roses, because it isn’t. And anyone who makes out they loved every second is a liar in my opinion. There will always be points that you dislike. The middle of the night. When they won’t sleep, the explosive poos, the witching hour from 4pm-9pm are all things I wish to forget.
Now Ava is 9 months old she is still hard work in other ways. But she also extremely rewarding with it.
I refuse to pretend motherhood is a bed full of roses. It’s amazing. But it’s hard, challenging and constantly changing. I am only 9 months in. I imagine it only gets harder.
it has taken a very long time but finally at 7 months me and Ava have got ourselves into some kind of a routine. I know this routine will change and move as time goes on but I finally feel like I know what I am doing. It’s almost been like starting a new job and not having a sodding clue with what you are doing. You are having to learn a new role, learn all of the other services that are involved and also get equated with your new work colleagues.
I am not a person who has taken naturally to motherhood. The complete opposite if anything. I have had to learn every little thing from scratch. I remember my husband in the hospital when Ava was first born. Due to me being poorly he had to put a nappy and outfit on Ava after she was born. He says he can remember thinking that he had no idea what to do. That’s me, every day, with something new.
It’s been a long 7 months of feeling like I have no idea what I am doing, feeling like everything I am doing is wrong. That I am failing Ava in some way every day. That in some way I am psychologically damage her. There have been numerous bad days where I have spent most of the day in tears because I don’t know what to do for the best. Feed her, play with her, get her to take a nap. Everything I tried seemed to be wrong.
And now we are nearing the time when I have to return to work. The time when Ava needs to go into childcare. The time when our little routine of groups each day and seeing friends will end and her routine will probably be thrown up on the air.
I think I’m tired now, I imagine I don’t know what tired is yet! Going back to work will be tired. Managing working and looking after a baby on top and managing a house, now that will be tired. I am looking forward to it. Having some normality back for me. Having something else to talk about other than how much Ava is sleeping/napping/eating/pooing!
I hope I still get to enjoy time with her and groups with her on my days off. I hope we managed to fall into a new little routine. I hope she doesn’t hate me for leaving her. I have no idea how it will all go but we will only have to wait a short time to find out.
Everyone says it before you have your bundle of joy “you will find out who your true friends are”. I didn’t believe it. I thought all my friends who I have spent so many years with, so much time with laughing and having fun would always be there. But of course I was wrong.
Everyone visits at first when the baby first arrived. I expected this. I also expected this to die down after a period of time. I never expected it to last forever.
However what i didn’t expect to happen was friends who have been friends for years to just disappear. To not seem to have any interest in being friends with you any more now you have a baby.
I don’t deny that my life has changed. My ability to do things has changed slightly. I can’t go out and get wasted at a weekend, well not without a lot of planning. But I can still meet up. It might have to be with the new addition to the family but I can still do coffee, I can still do lunch and I can still talk and hold a conversation like I could before. That hasn’t changed about me.
It’s sad that friends seem to think I have changed and I am no longer me.
I am lucky. Because the majority of my friends are still in touch and these are who keep me sane and who do still meet up with me, with Ava included. One in particular is my sister in law who has 3 children of her own. She has kept me sane in the past 6 months. With something as simple as meeting for a cup of coffee. Even if we have 4 6 years and under with us.
Hopefully i will eventually be able to go out with friends more again. Hopefully friends will stick around for long enough for this to happen. Hopefully it won’t be much longer now and slowly my life will get back to normal a bit more.
As a new mum I know how important it is to make sure you keep your own identity.
Every time someone sees you that you know they always ask “how’s ava?” “How’s motherhood?” “How is it being a mum?” All of these questions are lovely, and it’s nice that people care to be able to ask me these questions. However, I am still an individual. I do come alone. Ava isn’t attached to my hip (although it does feel like she is sometimes) and I still am an individual. I have opinions on things, I have interests, I still enjoy things every other person does, and being a mum isn’t the only thing I do.
I think it is easy for people to forget the above about a new mum. They assume that this is the only thing you have in your life now. As lovely as motherhood can be, it doesn’t mean other things are no longer important.
I have always been a person who enjoys shopping, enjoys fashion and likes to be dressed a certain way. I have tried my hardest to continue to do this since having Ava. Although this is easier said than done. For one shopping with a baby isn’t the easiest thing and secondly when breastfeeding it makes it hard to find clothes you can actually feed in. (If anyone wants help with this I have found ‘Can I breastfeed in it? U.K.’ Facebook group very useful).
I have always been a person who is passionate about my job and what I do. Although I have taken extra time off from work for maternity leave, I am looking forward to returning as I am hoping it will also help to keep me as an individual and not just ‘Ava’s mum’.
I also think it’s very important to see friends as often as possible. Most of the time this is with Ava, but when I can (only 2 times in 6 months) on my own without her. It isn’t easy but I think it’s important to try and do this.
I have also found baby groups helpful for this. As although it’s mainly for Ava there are other mums there to keep you sane.
Hopefully as Ava grows I will get part of my life back and some time to myself again. Hopefully my friends will wait till then for me to be able to.
Anyone who has had a baby will know what I mean when I say ‘the baby bubble’.
For people who don’t it’s the state you end up in for the first few months post giving birth. You forget everything and I mean everything that is outside you getting through each day. As in dealing with your baby and getting them through the days alive and of course to keep yourself going too.
The way we kept ourselves going was to live off toast, biscuits and tea and take it in turns to sleep as Ava insisted on being held to sleep.
I forgot numerous important things such as my husbands birthday and his first Father’s Day. Fortunately with the help from family I managed to sort both out before the actual day.
I’m not going to lie, even 5 months down the line I’m still in that baby bubble. I take each day as it comes. I try to get out every day to a group to keep myself sane. I also sometimes find it hard to believe I have managed to keep Ava alive for 5 whole months. As I completely guess what I am doing. I am probably psychologically damaging her in some way without even knowing it just by putting her nappy on the wrong way or not playing with the right toys with her.
I’m also still pretty much living off of toast.
I have no idea how people manage to have time as a couple or go out on date nights! We have had 4hours one evening out as just us in the 5months we have been parents. Don’t get me wrong, we want more, but where are we meant to fit it and where are we suppose to get energy from to go out I don’t know. Because by the time Ava is in bed I am ready to crash into mine.
We are also coming up to weaning Ava. I’ve bought some vegetables that I plan to cook and prepare to make meals for her. But all I keep thinking is where am I going to find time to make these meals as well as feed her them.
There literally aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
I have no idea when this baby bubble will end… Probably never. But for now I will just continue to get through each day.
The above statement is every new parent or parent to be worst nightmare. I don’t want to scare you but there is a high chance it will be you. Not all babies sleep. Despite people boasting their child prodigy slept through for 12hours a night at 2 days old the likelyhood is this will not happen. I’m sorry to be the barer of bad news. I know parents who’s children still don’t sleep through at 2 years old.
I write this post through very bleary eyes as last night was a night I consider to be one I wish to forget. I am currently surviving on 5hours of broken sleep. Even when she was a new born I usually succeeded in getting around 8hours broken sleep a night.
Ava awoke at 1:30am. We tend to leave her for a short time to try and settle herself now she is 5months. Never to the point of crying. This is only a recent thing as before I would feed her back to sleep at every wake up. After a short time she didn’t settle so I went in to feed her. Even this didn’t work. Only after 2 1/2hours did she fall back to sleep at 4am. To wake fully up at 7am.
I hear someone shout the words as they read this “just sleep when she naps in the day”. Believe you me this is easier said than done. I have NEVER been able to do this. When Ava sleeps I have to grab a meal or a drink or put some washing on. Plus the maximum she naps for is 40mins. You try getting a sleep in within that time.
Today after she had an afternoon feed I put Ava down asleep in her cot. As I am completely shattered I decided to try and take a 20min nap to get me through the rest of the day. As I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes a mear 10 minutes after putting her down I hear a squeak. As I am close to being asleep I thought I might be dreaming… But alas no! It was Ava awake 10 minutes after she had been put to bed. Hence me not being able to sleep in the day.
If you are lucky enough to have family around you who offer to take the baby off of you then take every opportunity. The break will probably save your sanity.
I absolutely dread the words from other mothers at baby groups of “how’s she sleeping?” Because I know as soon as I utter the words “not very well” everyone will want to offer me their advise on what to do to get her to sleep. And as kind as the suggestions are meant the likelihood is that in my sleep deprived state I’ve googled everything you are telling me and either tried it or decided it’s just not for me as a parent.
So if you are reading this as a parent of a sleeper, please be aware of how lucky you truly are. But from one sleep deprived parent can I make a request from all sleep deprived parents out there… If we answer your question with not very well, please don’t offer advise, as kind hearted as I am sure you are trying to be. Offer copious amounts of coffee and anything that contains sugar. Because the likilhood is we will need it as well as buckets full of understanding and sympathy to get us through the day!
And to parents out there of a non sleeper. Never forget you are not alone! There are hundreds of us who are awake just like you are.