An honest account of being a first time mum

Archive for December, 2011

Men!

Men!

Gosh the pressure now this blog is being shared publicly and scarily with my nearest and dearest. Anyways, here goes… 

Baby2011 slept the whole night last night. This has never happened before. Me and dad2011 naturally were awake at the usual monkey playtimes. Then the cat came and pranced about on my head for about 20 mins. So we’re rested an average amount. But for baby2011 this is mega!

He also has cut his first tooth. It’s perfect. It’s teeny and white and it’s beautiful. I keep trying to prize his lips open for a look, he thinks it’s hilarious to clamp mouth shut of course. But every time I get a glimpse of the gem I kiss him as though he’s just beaten Seb Vettel in the Monaco Grand Prix (one day!!) When it grows more I’m going to brush it every day (this should be fun!).

More amazing (even than the 8 month awaited tooth!) is that he’s making lots of noises, like he’s trying to talk. And aptly for this post “da da da da” is what he’s “saying”. We, of course, have confirmed that dada is his first word. *heart melts*

I’m thrilled he’s saying dada. Dads have it tough. Dad2011 seriously deserves some recognition. 

There was talk a few months back about more antenatal information being published for dads by the NHS. DO IT!

Give them the option to learn more about what’s happening. It’s a hell of a shock!

Us girls are immersed in information, check ups, witty anecdotes and loads of chats with women who have had children from the moment we get the stretchy maternity jeans on. We’re in babyzone. We also get maternity leave. Men just have a partner who’s tired, grumpy, fattening and in my case rather useless.

They’re shown a black and white image of a cashew nut and expected to bond. 

They then have to pay out loads of money for baby stuff. They then have to think twice about boozing in case mother to be starts contractioning and they have to drive somewhere. The books are clinical and processey and even antenatal classes, which are amazing, still focus on the mum and baby.

But worse than the battered bank balance and one beer rules is the fact that during labour and birth they feel completely and utterly useless. 

Dad2011 was my rock during labour. My labour was rubbish, long, inefficient and it hurt. Dad2011 was sent out for food which I ate hanging over a birthing ball and then threw up (he didn’t do sick). He electrocuted himself on my tens machine whilst I was shouting at him to stick the pads back on my back. He ran me a million baths and then sat with me to check I didn’t fall asleep and drown. 

Then when we FINALLY got accepted into the hospital I got the drugs and he had to sleep on a chair with a dressing gown wrapped around his head to get some much needed shut eye. Some midwives were nice to him, others were complete cows. He also had to pay about £1000 for the parking at the hospital.

Then we ended up having an emergency c section, so after waiting over 100 hours to meet his son or daughter there was a sudden panic, he was given some fetching scrubs, and then was made to feel even more scared/useless as he sat with me for the operation.

Baby2011 was born, dad2011 was torn between me in surgery and baby2011 in weighing room. For those first few minutes of baby2011 he was completely responsible for our baby on his own.

I remember dad2011 appearing next to me holding up baby2011 looking so thrilled. They were both amazing.

Then dad2011 had to return to work. Our bubble was burst.

Men have it bloody hard at this time. They don’t know what to do. We’re too wrapped up in how much we hurt and caring for new baby to pay them any attention. They’re 3rd in importance after baby and mother, when really they’ve been through the mill too. 

They have it hard once yourself settling in as a family. Each week they miss things if they’re working. In this day and age men are expected to change nappies, sterilize bottles, do bath time, cook and clean as well as earn a crust. At the risk of sounding very 1950’s housewife they also come home to (in my case) a mrs who is less than groomed. In fact dad2011 is incredibly lucky if I am not wearing my £2.99 primark pyjama bottoms with a hole and I’m wearing a layer of mascara.

He also works 12-14 hour days and comes home to dinners such as a vegetarian sausage, bread and butter and salad. Or chicken kiev and baked beans. 

I was convinced he was going to leave me when he had to help me the loo at the hospital, leave your dignity at the hospital door when in labour! And even now I think of all the girls who work at the banks looking glam and him coming back to me in my primark specials moaning at him for not putting his plate in the dishwasher. What a lucky man!  

I do not underestimate how lucky I am having dad 2011. He’s amazing. An amazing dad and an amazing husband.

In the words of Deneice Williams in 1984; “Let’s hear it for the boy”     

Honesty

So this blog promises to be an honest account of becoming a first time mum. So at the risk of sounding a bit rude…here is some real honesty. The last couple of weeks have been tough. Illness, non sleeping, teething, and cold, grey days and nights have taken their toll on my usual cheery, positive self. I’ve been a bit of a cow. A big, nasty cow actually. There have been some things that have happened where I’ve thought thats really not helpful. Maybe because I’m being a cow, or maybe because actually it’s time for some honesty.

Here are some dos and don’t for the nearest and dearest.

If you’re a mummy friend to a new mum never go on about your baby sleeping through the night and waking (dreadfully) at 6am.  Some babies never sleep the night, or past 5am. You’re very lucky!

Do not enter into the baby momma competitions. There are several. Whose birth was the most horrendous, who is the most tired, who is losing baby weight fastest, and who has the cleverest/cutest baby. *sick face*. Let’s keep it real and be sensitive! Birth is horrendous, we’re all a bit wobbly and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

If you’re a husband, boyfriend, partner, never go on about how tired you are. We know you work, but you also get to go to the toilet on your own and eat lunch and when you move from one place to another you do not have to manoeuvre baby, pushchairs, car seat, change bag, lunch box with nutritious snacks and do all this to a screaming/whinging baby soundtrack.
   
When it’s your turn to feed, put baby for nap, bath etc do not ask us to get up to get a dummy, to test the water, to heat the porridge, to show you where the wipes are. We might as well have done it ourselves. Have a go and see what happens.

If you’re a friend of new mum and have no kids yourself then understand that your friend feels like they’ve been hit by a truck. Twice.

Understand they haven’t slept properly for months. Your lie ins are enviable! Understand that your friend will be incapable of finishing a conversation, will have to clean up baby several times/rescue baby from grabbing hot coffee cup/drag baby out from underneath front room table etc during a gossip session and will always end up back on the topic of how exhausted they are. We are sorry honest, but that’s how it is just now and we promise one day we’ll be back in the zone.

 

Snot season

This time last year I was waddling around Tottenham Court Road, frequenting Burger King and scoffing bacon double cheeseburgers on the escalator down to the Northern Line platform. I was dressing bump in tight, black outfits and wearing glittery jewellery as it was party season. My hair was straightened, my eyelashes curled and my nails a divine deep red hue.

This year I am covered in baby snot. Oh and sweet potato. Oh yes and wee.

November seems to be the start of what I am going to name snot season. Every single baby I know has had an awful cough, cold, tummy bug, ear infection etc etc.

It seems just as we’d (sort of) cracked the sleeping at night and getting on with weaning (going fairly well). BAM! Big old snot monster throws a bucket of bogeys down from the ethra and we have whiney, snotty, waking up babies. It’s back to feeling like the mother of a newborn. And that, if I remeber rightly, felt like being hit by a truck, getting up and then being hit by a bigger truck. And crying a lot. Yes…a lot!

And that’s not all. Baby2011 like lots of his baby mates is teething. So we have teething and snot and frustration because he can only crawl backwards still. (Got wedged under dining room chair just now-hilarious, he didn’t see funny side).

Baby2011 has been poorly for about 3 months on and off, a cough, a cold and now teething and another little cold. It’s endless. It’s depressing and the nights are dark so early. Doctors can’t help. C’est la vie.

Other mummy friends (over a latte of course) have said it’s inevitable they’ll catch one thing after another at this age and at this time of year. I must admit I’ve felt knackered, and stressed that I can’t settle baby2011 even though I’ve been getting to know him for 8 months now. It’s so frustrating and it’s upsetting hearing them all bunged up and looking forlorn.

So here’s to all the mums and dads with poorly babies. All the parents sleeping sitting up with babies in their arms so the babies can breathe better. The mummies and daddies whose house aroma of karvol and olbas oil can be smelt down the street.

Get well little babies. In the meantime I think I’ll join what a good friend of mine’s husband has labelled the “pissed parents club”. Granted to be “pissed” takes me one glass of wine at the moment, but he’s right. It helps.