The First Month of Motherhood…
I was tempted to tell you my positive birth story and leave it there – allowing you to join me at Buzz’s one month celebrations when things had (finally) started to fall into place. But there’s a whole area in the middle of those two events that wasn’t particularly pleasant and I feel like I do need to touch on it because if I’d have known just how tough it was all going to be I’d have relaxed a little – knowing that, part of what I felt, was totally normal.
We concentrated a lot on the birth and preparing for labour, so we were both extremely grateful that our work paid off. As I told you last week – my birthing experience was as close to perfect as I could’ve hoped for, and I know, for many women, that’s not always the case. So, having had such a positive time in the delivery room, the dramatic contrast of the weeks that followed hit us both pretty hard.
I never realised how demanding life was about to become. I feel guilty even writing that because we wanted Buzz in our lives so much – I can’t help but reprimand myself for anything negative surrounding his presence being said, so I’ll start by clarifying that I love him with all my heart and already couldn’t imagine my life without him… but, like I said, the first month was tough. We were suddenly faced with the reality of having a little human being who was dependent on Tom and I for everything! And I mean, everything. I don’t think it’s too surprising that it all became a little overwhelming… having to deal with the topsy-turvy hormones and my own recovery didn’t make things easier. Which, if I’m honest, made me feel things that I knew I didn’t really feel. I cried a lot. More than I’ve ever cried in my life. One night I had my sister and brother over (they’ve been wonderful) and I just burst out crying and turned into a red blubbering mess, all the while insisting that I was the happiest I’ve ever been. Giorgie and Mario have both seen me at my highest and lowest over the years – but they just stared at me in shock before enveloping me with their love and hugs.
Then at eight days old Buzz developed an eye and finger infection. Meaning we had to go back into hospital for five days so that he could be put on an IV drip for antibiotics. Seeing him in pain as they placed a cannula in his hand was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever witnessed. Although those five days were worrying, they forced me to stop and gave us time on our own to just bond with our newborn. Before that hospital trip I was aware that I was doing too much. I hadn’t stopped and as a result I was in constant pain. Because I wanted others to see me as ‘the perfect mum’ who could do it all, I hadn’t allow myself to rest, which, when you’re up every couple of hours during the night to feed and healing yourself, was stupid. I ended up getting an infection and prolonging my recovery (read misery). I was actually a little relieved to discover part of what I was feeling wasn’t the norm. I’d been feeling like the biggest wimp in the world – which upset me after having such an amazing time during his birth.
Hormones. Sleep deprivation. Physical discomfort. They broke me and, I’m ashamed to admit, that they made me doubt if I was up to my new role of ‘mummy’. All my life I’ve mothered others – nurtured, comforted and loved – my maternal instincts have always been a part of who I am. I’ve always known I was born to be a mummy. I’m pleased that, now that the cloud has lifted, I can get on with giving Buzz the love he deserves. The sunny days over the last couple of weeks have helped to lift my spirits immeasurably. I can’t tell you how lovely it’s been to get out of the house with Buzz. And, on top of everything, I’m overjoyed that the little dude has stopped peeing on us quite so much during the nappy changes. Ha!
So, why am I sharing this? Am I just sharing a negative story and spreading fear in the way others have done with their birth stories? I hope not. Instead I hope it helps other new mums or mums-to-be prepare a little better for what might be an overwhelming experience. No-one really mentioned what those first few weeks could potentially be like and because of that I spent time feeling guilty of my feelings, rather than just accepting them and knowing that they’d pass. If I were to give advice it would be to not plan too much in the first few weeks – take it easy (like, really easy – stay in bed and enjoy your newborn), don’t have too many visitors and accept your family’s offers of taking care of things around the house in exchange for baby cuddles.
Also this week…
I’ve received the German translation for my debut novel Billy and Me and they look amazing. The title in Germany is Sternenküsse (Star Kisses) and the publishers changed Billy Buskin’s surname to Sinclair – but I think those are the only changes that were made. Funny to think that people are going to be reading something I devised in a language I can’t even read!
The Easter bunny came! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Easter weekend. I had my family over on Good Friday for a walk in the fresh air and fish and chips – followed by some serious chocolate indulgence. Well, why not? Whilst writing this I’m actually tucking into a Ferrero Rocher egg. In my opinion it’s the best thing ever created!
Tom’s been away with the McBusted boys on tour for most of this week (which kicked off in Glasgow on Wednesday), but managed to sneak home on his off day for some family time with me and Buzz on Easter Sunday. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for him to be away from our little dude. He’s changing so much every day and growing fast.
Talking of the McBusted tour – me and Buzz are off to The 02 this week to support his daddy who’s playing three nights there. Buzz won’t be watching the show (obviously), but it’ll be his first taste of tour life. Let’s hope he likes it!
Have a good one!
Love, Gi. Xx