Being a Mother

May 01, 2024

Being a Mother

When I was younger and by younger I mean 19 early 20's I had always told my mother I was never marrying and didn't want any children... but here we are now married twice and mother of four adult children. How did this happen??

I was 27 when I had my first child a boy who made me a mum. He was an unsettled baby, I had no clue what I was doing and breastfeeding does not come naturally.... you cannot convince me otherwise!

After a long first night home from the hospital, he was screaming and wouldn't or couldn't feed, I was crying and tired and sore and I called the hospital to see if I could come back, they responded with no dear you can't but perhaps if you relaxed, or had a glass of wine it might help. Were they kidding? Firstly how do you relax with a screaming baby? And secondly, none of the lists told me to stock the fridge with wine 🤦‍♀️.

Finally getting the child to feed, we succeeded for 6 months and then I had to go back to work (no paid maternity leave back in the day) and then he refused to take a bottle. So we ended up at the mothers and baby hospital to get him to feed on a bottle and learn to get him to sleep, did I mention he was a terrible sleeper night and day?

So my entry into the world of being a mother was certainly not an Instagramable moment more mental stress than anything!

My second child a whopping 9lb 3ozs arrived 16 months later and so 2 under 2 and possibly a bit more of an idea, I prepared for the worst. But this child slept .... so much so he had to be woken for feeds. So apart from one weaning off a bottle, and one being breastfed, plus both in nappies, we were doing ok!

Then one night when no.2 was almost 8 months we had all just gotten to bed and I heard the weirdest most frightening noise from his room... I ran in as I just felt something was not right to find him not breathing in his cot ... first instinct was to pick him up and shake him. It was terrifying to think I could be losing my child. We called the ambulance and they told me to splash water on his face and blow on his face in a steamy bathroom till they arrived. With every blow (of breath in his face) he took a breath and finally they arrived and took over. Just about to leave for the hospital and they asked do you have any other children and I remembered no.1 🤦‍♀️ Mother of the Year.

The diagnosis was not really established other than it might have been SIDS if we hadn't found him. (Also don't shake your was not happy with me).

Along came number 3 - 3 years later adding more fun to the mix and again an amazing sleeper. There were no such incidents with number 3, it was more about me at that point as I was diagnosed with PND. It was my maternal health nurse who picked up on the signs and after seeing a doctor specialising in maternal mental health and me having to go on medication we muddled through. It was a time I don't remember a lot of, and just know that I felt terribly guilty about my lack of excitement about being a new mum again. I also found it terribly exhausting and annoying that I had to care for my children who were so needy, as kids just are.

I went through all the motions and remember the fog lifting after about a year. I didn't want to leave the house, see people or take care of myself. I would never want others to go through PND it's hard to describe but for me it was just awful. I knew I was not myself but also couldn't change it. It was amazing coming out the other side. I never told anyone what I was going through out of shame that I couldn't manage, and I didn't want other mums to know in case they didn't let their kids around me because they were afraid of my mental wellbeing (due to lack of understanding). This was a very dark time in my life when I felt it should have been wonderful.

Almost 10 years later I became a mother again to a baby boy who is now a young man. He was an amazing sleeper also and had to be woken for feeds. The different recommendations on caring for babies and mothers also changed so much in those ten years from my 3rd to my 4th and all for the better. More care put into the mother's mental health and wellbeing alongside the babies. I did not suffer from post natal depression with my last baby, but have been managing PTSD, depression and anxiety for the past 15 years.

Mental health and the wellbeing of our mothers is very important and we should continue to talk about it, remove the shame and embarrassment and support mothers who need extra care to cope with becoming a mother ❤️️

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