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Hello and welcome back to New Mum Stories. This week’s installment is from Jo over at Fifty-Something Fruit Cake Jo’s story is from her memories of being a new mum to her son over 28 years ago.
Over to you Jo….
Remembering being a new mum
I always knew I wanted to be a mum one day. Something in my DNA told me that I should be a mum and that was all there was to it. After 6 years of marriage I found out that my dream was to come true and my first baby was on the way. A trouble free pregnancy and birth followed and apart from a few stitches and a day of bed rest after I fainted in the hospital toilet all was straightforward.
That is until I took my son home. Why had no-one warned me how scary it was looking after a newborn? While I was in hospital all was serene. I fed him, changed him and napped on my bed while he slept. I waddled into the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner and chatted to the other new mums as we wandered around in our PJs. We were a happy bunch and had a ball teasing the contraceptive nurse when she suggested we would ever want to have sex again. I loved being a mum and thought I was a natural at it. Did I come down to earth with a bump when I left the cocoon of the maternity ward.
No-one told me how tired I would be all the time. Not just a bit tired but achingly, energy sapping, bone weary tired. Everything was an effort – lifting my head from my pillow, putting clothes on, drinking tea. It all took energy that I just didn’t have. By the end of the first week at home with my beautiful son I had managed to construct the Leaning Tower of Ironing in the corner of the lounge and it was in grave danger of toppling over and burying the cat. I couldn’t remember the last time I had the energy to do any ironing or even the energy to think about ironing. Thank heavens for my MIL who rode in on a white charger and sorted out my domestic chaos without even being asked.
I never believed there was such a thing as baby brain either. Just a fantasy to sell magazines and make young mother’s feel inadequate. Well, I wasn’t a young mother – at 30 I was classed as an elderly prima gravida! But, oh boy, did I get a nasty attack of baby brain! It felt like I had forgotten my own name some days. I wandered around in a fog, unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes. Thankfully I always managed to take care of my son! More surprisingly it seemed to affect my husband too who managed to pop to the local supermarket wearing his slippers! I rarely managed to get fully dressed but footwear was not one of my problems.
But the over-riding memory of the first few weeks at home with my son is one of terror. I was petrified that I was going to do something dreadful to him. I had read all the books I could when I was pregnant so I should have known what I was doing, shouldn’t I? But according to the health visitors who trooped through the house I was on the verge of doing him terrible harm. My crime? The water that came out of the kitchen tap was too hot! Because of course we spent our evenings dangling him in the kitchen sink with hot water cascading over his little body. Common sense went out once I gave birth and I was reduced to the mentality of a small child as far as the authorities were concerned. I’m afraid that my husband told her what he thought of her advice and she didn’t come back to visit.
Despite my obvious incompetence my son thrived and I managed to get into some form of routine with him. I even managed to get some ironing done! I didn’t prove to be a natural at being a mother, that took time and effort. They do say that anything worth having takes effort and that certainly applies to parenthood. All the books in the world can’t prepare you for the terror of being in sole care of a tiny human being, it’s the hardest yet most wonderful job in the world and everyone’s experience is unique.
Thanks Jo for your New Mum Story.