1 – I am strongly guided and believe completely in my mom intuition.
Since becoming pregnant, I’ve been given all sorts of advice from all sorts of people, some helpful, some just ridiculous. Thankfully, I only take it to heart when my awesome mommy intuition agrees with it. I am grateful for such inner strength and confidence in my choices as a parent during a time of such chaos – it has really shown me that despite it probably not being the “right time” to have an unplanned baby, career and relationship wise, I am emotionally, spiritually and mentally ready.
2 – I was under the impression that newborn babies sleep a lot (this is what so many people and books say!), but what I didn’t realise was that it’s often only in 20 minute stretches, whilst lying in your arms.
For the first two months, the only way I’d get any sleep was by having Emma sleep on my chest. In the day the only way I could get anything done was by wearing her in a baby wrap (as soon as I put her down she’d start crying).
3 – I can survive extreme sleep deprivation for months (going on 6 months now) and remain relatively sane and 60% cheerful.
Nothing I’d ever experienced in life prepared me for the crazy lack of sleep that even now I am experiencing, (Emma still wakes up every 1 – 2 hours to feed at night) but somehow my body and mind has adapted and I can function (my memory and problem solving is not what it used to be but I am confident they will both return in time as Emma starts to sleep for longer).
4 – Breastfeeding is almost the only thing I did for the first 8 weeks.
Breastfeeding for me was relatively problem free, but was still challenging and exhausting. I am so lucky that I had none of the problems a lot of other new breastfeeding moms face – sore, cracked nipples; a baby that won’t latch properly; undersupply or oversupply…, but still nothing could have prepared me for the long hours it took to establish our breastfeeding routine.
In those first few weeks, Emma would literally be feeding every hour, all day and all night, and be constantly at my breast from 3pm – 10pm every day. It was exhausting, but completely worth it – after the first 2 months it became so much easier – cluster feedings got less and less, feeding duration shortened (it’s now often about 5 minutes) and the best thing ever is that Emma is thriving – she has put on weight so well, is happy, content and so healthy.
5 – I am no longer a selfish person and I now am truly grateful for the times I get to spend doing the things I enjoy – like bathing.
Again, nothing in my life so far could have prepared me for the all-consuming, 24/7 care a newborn baby requires. Suddenly I had no time for myself to do even basic things – no opportunity to shower or bath (Em would cry every time I put her down), no relaxing meal times (Em usually had to be held my one of use whilst we ate), sleep only on Emma’s terms (meaning wake up every hour and sleep with her either on my chest or in a wrap). But this made the few times that I could do stuff for myself when Emma actually slept a bit on her own so much more worth it. At 6 months, it’s a bit easier
6 – I no longer get anxious around people.
For many years I’ve experienced quite intense social anxiety (a major reason I used to drink very heavily in all social situations). Since Emma arrived, I am so much more comfortable in my own skin. I feel more solid, more grounded to the Earth, like I have finally found my place.