You Can't Always Be Superwoman.
Have you ever heard a parent say ‘Oh I love it when others have a baby, you get to have all the good bits and then give them back'. Well you never fully understand what that means until you have a baby of your own.
My name is Rosa and I'm a first-time mum to a lovely little boy who sleeps all the time, doesn't cry, follows his routine with military precision oh and he also poos rainbows and unicorns; I wish!
Parenting to most seems to be this big competition of who's doing the best job and full of "you shouldn't do it that way, you should do it this way" when in reality each baby is different and each parent is different.
People make out it's a walk in the park, but really it's like a roller coaster, one minute you're happy waving your hands in the air and the next you're holding on for dear life.
It really doesn't matter how worthy your little bundle is.
It is tiring, hard work and you can't always be superwoman.
The start to parenting wasn't easy for me. Coming from a large family and always being surrounded by babies and children, I couldn't wait to one day have a family of my own. I had this image in my head of how easy and picture perfect it would be. My pregnancy was a breeze. When I started maternity leave, I spent my time making my house perfect setting up the nursery and making a scrapbook for Ezra to look through when he's older.
Finally, the day came, after a 24 hour labour he was plopped on my chest all squished and purple looking. All this love just poured out of me it was such a surreal experience. I'd never felt a love like it. My partner and I cuddled him until all of a sudden Matthew was rushed out of the way. This was the point my picture perfect world got flushed straight down the toilet, I'd lost 2 litres of blood and quickly looked like I’d died the previous week and someone forgot to tell me. I spent the next few days attached to wires, having a blood transfusions, antibiotics and I had a catheter. I felt like a puppet. I was in a lot of pain and could barely move. The first night I thought I'd struck gold Ezra slept all night, didn't make a peep. I had my partner on the bed next to me it couldn't have been better. The second night I was left alone with our newborn baby and again He slept well and I thought this is a doddle, I can do this blindfolded standing on my head. But then the third night came and he cried and screamed on and off all night long, the ward was 100 degrees he wouldn't latch on, I was crying and stressed getting hotter and hotter feeling more and more useless. Why does no one prepare you for this? Why does no one tell you these horror stories? I spent the next few nights finding myself wandering up and down the corridor in the darkness trying to settle him. I was in a hospital full of people yet I'd never felt so alone.
I couldn't have been happier the day we were allowed to come home I felt like Christmas had come early. The next few weeks were quite possibly the hardest, most mind-boggling and exhausting I've ever experienced. I'd cry every day without fail, I felt low and useless. Night after night I'd get a false sense of achievement after feeding him, getting him settled, gently laying him down wrapping him up tight and warm tapping his dummy in for whatever reason we do that for? But hey it seems to work. In my head, I'd feel like Maria from the sound of music dancing over the hills, because hallelujah he was finally asleep! Until I took one step away from the Moses basket and he'd scream the place down like I'd picked him up by his legs and thrown him at the wall. This could sometimes last up to five hours. I started to feel like it was my fault, all these questions came creeping in, was I ready? Am I doing it right, was I cut out to be a mum? Did he love me? Of course, I look back and feel silly for thinking those things but at the time it was serious, it was real and it is what no one ever tells you. you feel so alone and guilty. you become your own worst enemy. You have thoughts that make you question your own sanity. But you come to realise its totally normal and you're not alone. Each day I looked in the mirror and I needed to pay 5P for the bags under my eyes, how some women have a face full of makeup? I was lucky if I brushed my hair and even luckier if it wasn't covered in baby sick.
With the way I was feeling breastfeeding just wasn't helping. he'd latch on for hours on end to the point it felt like hot shards of glass being sucked through the nipple and the sound of my electric breast pump went straight through me, I wanted to smash it into a million pieces and light it on fire (after birth hormones are a beautiful thing), I got snotty comments but hang on one minute I gave him two weeks of goodness and I'm proud I managed that long, breastfeeding is a wonderful thing which I believe should not be hidden but I also believe you shouldn't be ashamed if it's not for you. It had been weeks and it turned out Ezra had colic. We had tried different bottles, different medicines, different kinds of milk you name it, we tried it and of course, the most old-fashioned one and the last one we tried was the one that worked, typical! I was so glad to have found something that worked and to no longer see my baby screaming in pain.
I believe mums are magic, amazing beings, the things they go through and how they cope is wonderful. I wish there was more support out there for mums to be able to chat to each other without being judged for their parenting choices.
I thought I knew what I was doing until I had to do it, every single day, over and over again. I've had to swallow my pride and learn how to ask for advice, whilst learning how not to take the unasked for advice personally. Everything that I thought I would be as a mum, was promptly stamped on and thrown in the bin! I'm not super mum, I'm not organic mum, I'm not breastfeeding mum. I'm not a face full of makeup, looking like a princess mum, I'm far from perfect but that's OK. So here's to the mums who have no idea what they're doing but are smashing it anyway!
Written By Rosa Harding