The Myths of Labour and Motherhood Revealed


Mother and ChildIt has been two months since my last blog post, not including the Alphabet Games Review from WordPress.com. It’s no surprising really as three days after The Casual Vacancy Review my beautiful daughter decided she was ready to enter the world. Since then, I have been knee-deep in nappies, struggling with sleepless nights and coming to terms with the reality of motherhood and also recovering from the realities of labour. I must say my labour experience was not as I expected it would be. There was a time when one midwife refused to see me when I needed her because I wasn’t making a big enough fuss. Even in the delivery suite, high on gas and air I remember looking over at my midwives annoyed because they were not paying attention to my contractions or even telling me when to push. My reality of labour was a far cry from One Born Every Minute I can tell you. I am a person who likes to know what to expect, I watched every episode of One Born Every Minute to learn what to expect in various scenarios, I wanted to feel in control. So for those of you who join me in the quest for control, below is a list of twelve facts I have discovered throughout my pregnancy and early motherhood:

1- Although you may not necessarily forget the pain of labour, you forget the intensity of it more or less instantly (at least I did).

2- Despite the sunny imagery of motherhood, you may not feel a surge of love for your baby straight away. I felt a great need to protect my daughter but only felt the overpowering wave of motherly love once we got home two days later.

3- The  recovery process does not end after labour. Do not expect other people who have not had children to understand this. In giving birth you are ultimately setting foot in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson with no protection. You will feel like you have been hit by a tonne of bricks and there is no let up. It will take months to fully recover.

4- No matter how supportive your husband is, parenthood is never an equal partnership. As the mother, you have to carry the child, you have to give birth. Ultimately it is the mother’s ‘say that goes’. The mother opens the gates to fatherhood and as the mother you have the ability to open them as wide as you wish. Take my advice though, do not open the gates so wide that you feel excluded, particularly during the early days.

5- Breastfeeding does not come naturally to many people, you are NOT a failure should you be unable to breastfeed. I was not a breastfed baby and neither were my brother or sister and as 6’6″ and 5’10” respectively, it did not stunt our growth.

6- Everyone fumbles in their journey into parenthood, even the rich and famous and country leaders.

7- Your body will become more or less public property and you will think nothing of showing your body both during and post child-birth to even the most good-looking of doctors (!)

8- Babies are not textbooks. Each one is different. My best advice is not to treat all the advice offered as the be all and end all. Listen to your baby more to understand what he/she wants and needs whether that be bottle feeds, cuddles or nappy changes.

9- It’s not a competition for who gets the first smile, neither is it a competition for who stays up the latest, who changes the most nappies.

10- You can’t learn parenting through Google. Sometimes Mummy really does know best. As Mummy you essentially have to learn read minds and will need to have the confidence to hold fast to your convictions as a parent.

11- You are not superwoman and can not do everything. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to or postpone visitors and/or accept help from family and friends.

12- The role of the father is to support the mother. Pregnancy and birth are very much an experience for the mother and child.

It has now been over 2 months since my daughter was born. Although I do miss my old life of spontaneity, I miss waking up after a good night’s sleep. I miss wearing jewellery, straightening my hair. I miss writing but I would not change motherhood for the world. I will not deny it, it is hard from day one but as a mother you will be rewarded one hundred fold. Looking into the eyes of my daughter, seeing her smile and watching her grow makes everything worthwhile. I would do it all over again in an instant.

Motherhood

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