Are you constantly tired? Excited and exhausted at the same time? Avoiding the mirror like the plague? Craving both cupcakes and your old jeans back? Every mum goes through a different emotional rollercoaster, but for the most part of the journey, the focus is on the little bundle of joy that you bring to this world. That, however, doesn’t mean that mums don’t need to go through a period of adaptation, in order to bond with the baby, embrace their changed physical appearance and find their inner femme fatale again.
I go to the desk and am told that no one can help me tonight as they have staff off sick, so I go back to my room. I start to panic as I struggle to get my head around feeding both babies by myself. I feel so alone with such a huge responsibility, overwhelmed and struggling to come to terms with what has happened over the last few days.
1. You will love more intensely than you ever thought possible For me it didn't come straight away. The boys had to go to the neonatal unit for a few days. I never got that rush of love as soon as they were born. We had to get to know each other slowly. Days were dark for the first three months and my mood was low, but after that 12 week mark a cloud seemed to lift and I started to go out to groups and meet other mums. I got slowly more confident and actually started to enjoy being a mum. Now even when they drive me absolutely crazy I just couldn't love them more. They amaze me every day. Sometimes I still can't quite believe they're mine, I'm so proud to be their mum.
I'd wanted to have a baby for quite a while and we were incredibly lucky that we got pregnant within three months of starting trying. The first few weeks were pretty easy in that i did't really have any pregnancy symptoms. It was from around 8 weeks pregnant when I started to suffer with nausea. It was constant, 24 hours a day for probably the next 8 weeks solid, although I never threw up once. As long as I kept eating little and often I could manage to control it. I remember being at work and secretly eating ginger biscuits at my desk to try to combat it. I also remember having to get up in the middle of the night to sit on the sofa and eat a flapjack because I just felt so sick and hungry at the same time!
The first things I thought when I saw the photo below were "What cute babies!" and "Wow, she looks amazing" and then seeing it over and over again the media the last few days has got me thinking more about what this image means for mothers and what it portrays in terms of how far it is away from reality. Yes she probably has a multitude of help, both with the babies and with all household tasks. Is she doing the night feeds, the nappy changes? Did she choose to share this photo because she wants to keep the public at a safe distance from her real private life? Is it all about her image as a strong female public figure? Or is it just trying to be arty? She is a second time mum so in that way it's not comparable to my experience at all but do most second time mums look like this after four weeks?
Why didn’t I question the constant foetal monitoring, the breaking of my waters or the syntocinon (artificial oxytocin) drip to induce my contractions? As an educated women in her late 20s who had attended the hospital’s own antenatal classes you’d think that I would have wanted to have a part in these decisions but the truth is I just went along with it. I trusted the doctors and knew them to have more knowledge than me and to want the best outcome for me and my babies. The thing is though, in a medicalised environment, do they always know what is best?