I have always known for most of my life that I wanted to be a mum. Granted there were spells where I questioned if this was actually what I wanted. More If I wanted to bring a child into the world we are living in than for the changes to my life it would make.
When I found out I was going to have a baby I was over the moon. I found out early on and found it really hard to keep it quiet. I wanted to shout it from the roof tops. I also remember after a few weeks when the excitement settled into reality, how terrified I felt. I was going to grow, give birth to and be responsible for an actual human!!! A real life little person, who was going to depend on me forever. I felt a pang of fear in the pit of my stomach. I had to grow up, real fast! No more spending silly amounts of money on stupidly expensive red soled shoes or booking a luxury holiday instead of spending the money on getting the roof fixed. No, I had to be sensible. How was I going to manage this? I was so used to doing my own thing when I wanted to do it. I kept being told by people how much my life was going to change, how different it would be when baby is here. People like to try and scare you when you are pregnant. I kept being told my life was officially over. To expect to never do what I want again and that everything now revolves around baby. Nice! Nice way to comfort and reassure me into my journey to motherhood.
I have now been a mother for almost 7 months. The first few weeks were hard. It was a shock to the system. People kept telling me I would be sleep deprived and to make the most of the last few weeks of being able to sleep. This used to make me angry because I couldn’t sleep anyway so surely it wouldn’t be much different right? I used to reply “well at least I will have a real reason to be awake” Little did I know what was coming. I hadn’t slept properly for months when I was pregnant. The usual struggles of trying to get comfortable with 500 pillows, then you get settled and you need to pee for the 100th time that night. You then get back into bed and settle again and now you need your 50th glass of water, so up you get. During my last month of pregnancy it was really hot. I mostly wore knickers and a bra around the house, with my hair tied back and no make up on. It was not a pretty site. Our bedroom is at the back of the house where the sun shines the most so night time was not pleasant. It came to the time where Mr Ormerod was moved into the spare room. All of this, did not compare to how exhausted I was when I had a new born baby to care for. Eddie was a difficult feeder. He projectile vomited after his feeds. He would drink a whole bottle then bring it back up then an hour later he would be hungry again. I used to climb into bed, get settled and then just as I was finally getting to sleep he would wake up again. I am sure most of you know how this feels. I would then feed him, burp him and sit him upright for as much time as I could handle to try and help him not bring his bottle up, then settle back to sleep. This was every 2 hours. I felt like a zombie and I now know why sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture.
One night I went to bed. I had just started a baby massage course and we had our very first class that day. Eddie was 6 weeks old. I went to bed around 10pm. I woke up at 4am. How strange, I thought. Eddie hasn’t woken for a feed. I checked on him and he was sleeping away so I went back to sleep. I was woken up by him crying. It felt like I had just closed my eyes. I looked at the clock and it was 7am! He slept through!!!! That was the end of my sleepless nights!!!! Or so I thought! He hit a 4 month sleep regression where he woke up every hour! Again, a shock to the system, but luckily only lasted a few weeks. He now sleeps a good 11 – 12 hours (hurrah)
Eddie wasn’t a particularly hard new born. It was just hard to adjust. I had gone from being able to swan around the house and complete my chores in my own time and care free. Now I had this little man to look after. I remember when Mr Ormerod went back to work. He was on night shifts. The first night on my own with Eddie I put him in his Moses basket to go and make myself something to eat. I remember hearing this piercing scream so I ran back to him thinking he was hurt some how. I picked him up and he settled. I put him down again and guess what?? he screamed. This went on for some time. I was more confused than anything. I had been to visit people who had babies and they never did this! did they? I rang my mum and was told to google the 4th trimester. Oh my days!!! why did nobody tell me about this before? This was how it was. Baby just needed to be with me alllll the time! I couldn’t put him down or leave the room without him screaming blue murder. I won’t lie, this really got me down some days. It was hard when Mr Ormerod was working, because I had to do it all. I was exhausted. I remember sitting there sobbing when he left for work. I would eat maybe one meal a day (why I didn’t lose more weight I do not know!) I would have to decided what to do when he was asleep. Do I eat, shower or nap? Then one day a lovely man in Mothercare showed me the way of the sling. It cost a fortune and I won’t lie I was sceptical. How is this piece of material going to help? So I went home and tried it. Eddie was awake, I put him down to get it all ready (he screamed) I put him in it and he settled right away! I couldn’t believe it. I went into the kitchen to make something to eat and he had fallen asleep!! I actually got to have a hot cup of coffee! Oh Mother Mary it was a miracle!! This little bit of amazingness saved my sanity. It was used a lot and Eddie loved it. It is now sat in my loft ready for if we have baby number 2.
One day we went shopping for a shed (how exciting, we didn’t even buy one). I got chatting to a lady who worked there and she asked how old Eddie was. He was 4 weeks old at the time. We got chatting and I told her about my struggles and how he cried when I put him down etc. She told me that when he gets to 6 weeks old he will change and it will all stop. I laughed. What did she know? Sure she had 4 kids of her own but my baby was different right? 6 weeks came along and we had some friends over for a visit. I sat Eddie in his bouncy chair expecting him to start crying. He sat and looked around. He was quite happy being entertained by my friends little boy. Just a fluke I thought. He is happy when there are lots of people around. The next day came and I really needed to pee. I put him in his chair and did my usual dash to the toilet expecting him to cry at any second. He didn’t. I went to see if he was asleep but he was happily sat there playing with the mobile on the chair. I took the opportunity to do some chores. So I did the dishes and sorted out dinner. I went back to check on him throughout this time and he was still awake and still very happy. The lady was right! 6 weeks really was magic!
After Eddie hit 6 weeks I was able to start to get my life back. Granted it was different but I honestly thought my life was going to be like the first 6 weeks forever. It was very hard and even though many people kept telling me it was going to get better, it felt like it never was but it did and in all honesty I can hardly remember it.
When I was pregnant I was a mentor to a student nurse. I love being a mentor and teaching. He thought it was hilarious to wind me up all the time about how I am going to be one of those mums who only ever talks about their kid and goes to play groups and soft play areas all of the time. At the time I couldn’t imagine anything worse and thought that would never be meI” don’t want to be one of those mumsy mums”, is what I would always tell people. I didn’t want to sit there talking about babies all of the time. Oh how I was wrong. It can be quite lonely being on maternity leave. Everybody is at work during the day and tired when they get home. Weekends aren’t so bad but filling in the gaps during the day can be a bit hard. All the conversations I had were with a baby who just looked at me like he was judging me(honestly he is very judgy, its all in his eyebrows). I needed adult conversation. So I bit the bullet and went to groups! I met other mums who were like me. They didn’t want to talk about nappies and nipple balm and how their labours were. We wanted to talk about normal things we used to talk about! That’s the last time I judge mumsy mums. On the outside they look like their whole lives are about their kids (and it still is in a way) but when you get to know them, they are still the woman they used to be. The one who likes expensive clothes, make up or going out at the weekend, talking about adult things! My sanity saved again.
I can honestly say I have learned a lot about myself during these past 7 months and yes my life has changed. It definitely hasn’t changed in the scary way people kept suggesting it would. I haven’t lost myself. I have found a new and improved me. My life is not over at all. My life now has purpose. I get to watch this little man grow every day. I get to see the new things he does and I beam with pride when he meets a mile stone or does something new, but it also breaks my heart a little bit because it tells me he is growing up fast and he won’t be a baby forever. I look forward to the future when we will enjoy our first family holiday, his first day of school and I look forward to seeing what man he will turn out to be and pray every day that we are doing right by him, but by no means do I wish time away. I want to take in every second of him and savour every little moment. He is such a happy boy. I am so proud of him and I have never felt a love like this before.
So yes my life has changed. I have gone from plodding along through life to enjoying and embracing every minute of it. I look forward to all the new challenges it brings to me as a mother. I may not spend my money on fancy shoes anymore and I don’t go on nights out very often but I honesty don’t really care. I enjoy spending money on Eddie. I enjoy watching his little face light up and the way he shows his excitement by jumping his little legs up and down when he gets a new toy. I enjoy spending my money on days out making memories as a family. To be honest my big nights out were never often anyway. Once I got over the age of 25 the hangovers were just not worth it. I now spend time with my friends in different ways. Some of them have children too so we have days out together and we all still get together often, usually for big meals at each others houses and I still get time for myself, maybe not as often as I would like but it makes those times I do get it a little more special. I honestly couldn’t be happier.
So don’t listen to those scary stories people tell you. If that’s how they really see things then its quite sad and maybe it’s a cry for help. If they are telling you these things to scare you then they aren’t really very good friends. You will actually be shocked at how many of these people who said these things to me didn’t actually have any children! Enjoy it and embrace it. Even the hard times because it all makes you who you are.
Love Mrs Ormerod