So this is my very first blog and, of course, it’s about Mommyhood. Anyone who has a baby or is expecting one will understand how all-consuming this topic becomes in your thoughts and discussions. It’s the single most monumental change that will ever explode into your life and absolutely reshuffle everything in it. It’s sometimes very, very hard and scary but in the grand scheme of things it’s wonderful and incredible and amazing.
I also fully understand how that can become extremely boring to people who are not going through the same thing and the one MAJOR thing every parent needs is support, so that’s my main aim in writing this blog. Sharing a bit of what I have been through and, hopefully, opening up a gateway for you to ask any questions, laugh, have a bit of a bitch, cry or just crow about your little ones amazingness – all these are more than welcome and will be fully empathised with or celebrated. Take a breath and remember that we are all really just making it up as we go along.
A quick rundown of my experience thus far is that my name is Roz. I’m 31 and South African living in London. I’m married to a giant Irishman called Jim and we have an 18 month old little monster-angel called Finn. I adore him and I adore being a Mommy but at times it’s been far harder than anyone could ever have warned me about.
I guess the first topic to tackle in the blog is the first day you become a parent – Birth Day!! Never in your life will you get as much advice as you do as a pregnant woman. I will give you just one bit of advice that trumps them all – do what’s right for you. Don’t listen to your Mom, Mom-in-law, your mates, the latest celebrity trends or anything else. This is your body and no matter which way you choose to have this munchkin it’s going to involve fear and it’s going to involve some degree of pain. Only you know what’s going to make you feel safe and confident enough to get through this as happily and comfortably as possible.
If you want to have your baby in your marital bed with a doula, listening to whale song, and make Bolognese with the placenta afterwards, then peace and love to you. If you really feel the only humane way of getting a baby out of that that belly is by a Caesarean section with minimum mess and fuss, then I applaud you. I have friends who have taken both these routes and the end result is always the same – that sprog in your arms! It makes absolutely no difference to how you feel as a Mother and how you bond with your baby as long as you are happy with your choice.
My choice was for a natural birth in hospital. I know that sounds horrific to most South Africans but the UK midwives REALLY go out of their way to convince and reassure you that it’s the best option and, eventually, with the help of a lot of classes and diagrams and models of the pelvis, they convinced me. Finn was born 1 week over my due date in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on 16/7/2011. I had Jim and my Mom in the room and he was delivered by a midwife.
Despite all the modern innovations, childbirth is still a very unpredictable business so be prepared for various eventualities. I had grand ideas of only needing bouncy balls and hot baths as pain relief. Oh how that makes me laugh when I think back. In the 19 hours between my first real cramps and actually giving birth I ended up with one shot of pethidine, LOADS of gas and air and eventually a self-administering epidural. This allows you to control how much anaesthetic you get so you literally just take the edge off the pain without completely paralysing you. So I was still able to feel my legs and get into whatever position was most comfortable. I would highly endorse it. I was up and showering within an hour or two of having Finn and it was GLORIOUS! Best. Shower. Ever!
Whatever you choose to do just make sure you research your options properly and understand all the risks and after-effects. I would highly recommend watching “The Business of Being Born” if you can. Also make sure the people around you know what you want and what’s most important to you about the birth. You will be focussed on some very important business at hand and will probably need them to be spokespeople for your birthplan. Luckily I knew my Mom and Jim would be more than capable of fighting any battles for me.
The one thing I was adamant would happen no matter what was immediate skin-to-skin contact with the baby as soon as he was born and my midwife made sure that happened. Did you know that when you give birth and they put your baby on you, your body temperature will adjust to exactly the temperature your baby needs it to be? AMAZING! Having a baby is like discovering your superpowers!
In terms of after-effects of my birth, I was home with baby within 14 hours of giving birth. Having had stomach surgery a year before having Finn I was very glad not to have to deal with any more wounds and stitches to my tummy while having to look after a newborn. I did have some “other” stitches but they were really not something that gave me any pain or problems and dissolved themselves within the first two weeks. I would recommend some tea-tree drops in your bath as a tip for healing those.
Being a ridiculously anal planner I made sure I took everything and anything I thought might be useful to the hospital. I include my list below. I think that’s enough for now really. Soon I will tackle the only thing scarier than birth. Going home to face being a parent! I hope you get in touch with your story or tips or any questions.
|Maternity Notes (UK only)||Nightie (with buttons for feeding)||4 babygrows|
|Gown||Shirt (with buttons)||4 vests|
|Slip on shoes/slippers||Leggings||Blankets|
|Nightie / Big tshirt for birth||Underwear||Nappies|
|Towel (for pool)||Nursing bras||Hat|
|Swimming costume Dad||Nursing pads||Muslin squares/cloth nappies|
|Change of clothes Dad||Travel shampoo and conditioner||Wipes|
|Hair clips / elastic / alice band||Travel shower gel||Cottonwool balls|
|Drinks and snacks for mom and dad||Toothbrush|
|Spray bottle (for cooling mist)||Toothpaste|
|Arnica tablets||Nipple cream|
|Magazines & Pencil|