My first birth experience (7.5 years ago!)and the early weeks with my son
I remember feeling really excited when I was pregnant with my first baby. After my 20 week scan, I felt more confident that things would be OK, and whilst I didn’t know if I was going to have a boy or a girl, I started to think about the things I’d need for the nursery and gearing myself up for the birth.
I found it quite hard knowing what to buy for my baby. There was so much ‘stuff’ out there. The Bugaboo had just come out and at the time everyone thought it looked odd. It was featured in magazines being pushed by the then new mummy Gwyneth Paltrow and was new competition for the popular 3-wheelers. I remember feeling completely confused about what to get. At the time I wasn’t thinking – does it fit in my hallway, can I push it with one hand so I can hold my mobile with the other to speak to my friends/husband. I remember the lady in the shop demonstrating how to fold it down and back up again, but I wasn’t thinking just how many times I’d be doing this and how I really should be paying attention to how small it folded and how much it weighed.
Similarly I didn’t know much about the other things that I needed – yes friends had babies and I loved cuddling them and smiling at them, but in terms of babygrows vs. bodysuits and swaddle robes vs. sleeping bags in addition to everything else, I was pretty clueless.
I had a wonderful birth which I’m sure was down in part to luck, and in part to learning the different birth positions, breathing properly and staying active. I laboured at home for most of the day – getting into the bath as soon as I felt my first contractions, and then using the tens machine and the birth ball until it felt like things were getting more intense. My husband was amazing – I was lucky that I spoke to him before about how I’d like him to help me – not asking me too many questions but just being on-hand if I needed him. When we got to the hospital (over what felt like a hundred speed bumps = not good when you’re contracting!), I remember with amazement when the midwife told me I was 8cms and would I like her to run the water? I was soon in the birth pool, feeling cocooned, and then after a couple of hours, my gorgeous boy was born with the longest eyelashes I’d ever seen. That moment of instant love was completely unforgettable.
I got home early the next day and it was then that I’d realised having a baby was much more than just the birth. I remember looking at our gorgeous boy and wondering what do we do now? I guess I was focusing so much on the birth, that the reality of a baby almost didn’t feel real until that point. I was used to just popping out to get things for 10mins and I wasn’t prepared for how much harder it was to leave the house with my son.
Similarly I was just so shocked by how a little person could cause so much work. I hadn’t really thought through just how long I’d be feeding, and how it could take over my day and night! I was shocked just how simple things you take for granted can change straightaway! I was used to eating when I was hungry and sleeping when I was tired - my son had other ideas!
I’d wished in hindsight that I’d thought more about those early weeks with my son and prepared myself for what it would be like and how I might go about doing things.
When my second son arrived, I felt I had learnt the short cuts and practicalities the hard way. I was so much more prepared this time round and those early weeks were so amazing. Less rushing around and instead concentrating on my beautiful boys.
I started to share my learnings with friends when they became pregnant, and it was them who suggested I set up The Baby Care Company to help other mums and dads-to-be feel more prepared.
The Babycare Company offers a straightforward service based on equipping you with the knowledge and skills you need to thrive as a new mum. Partly, this is about giving you essential information - the things I wished I'd known when I was a young mum. But it's more than this. It's about providing small classes and a supportive environment to give the confidence and encouragement through what is a truly life changing experience.
Mine is a never ending quest to make mums feel happy and confident in those early weeks.