Week One…DONE!

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Achievement Unlocked!!! I have been a mum of two children for a whole week already. For those that missed it, Madeleine was born at 38 weeks on the 1st August at 6:58pm. She weighed in at 7lb 14oz and you can click here to read her birth story.

We brought her home the next day and since then it has been one heck of a learning curve. Two children equals double the work at bed, bath and meal times. It means choosing the moments when to eat or shower and building that around them. Thankfully Husband is home for the month of August before starting his new job in September, which is alleviating a lot of pressure on me. This has meant I haven’t had any real post baby breakdowns, or feelings of helplessness, uselessness or depression. I am so grateful for this you have no idea. When Sophie was born, I was terrified of even dressing her; I wouldn’t put her vests on her for fear of hurting her head. This time, because Husband is home I can get past the initial scary new baby weeks before going it 90% alone when he is doing shift work again.

I haven’t been afraid of dressing Madeleine, or changing her nappy or any of the things that scared me with Sophie. I am so much more relaxed and because of that, Sophie is relaxing around her new sister. It has taken the week for her to be comfortable enough to touch Madeleine and give her cuddles. All week long Sophie has been happy to peep in and look at her and tell us ”Maddie pretty!” but otherwise she has stayed well away. She’s coming around though! She now wants to watch her nappy get changed, and she wants to 10417525_10152338703387153_5243495858596318753_nkiss her on the forehead and show her her toys. It’s so lovely to watch and it’s going to just get better as they get older together.

Sophie is now sleeping right through the night. We’ve had four nights of no waking up at all aside from a sip of water, which I won’t count seeing as it’s fairly humid. Perfect timing seeing as Madeleine is on a schedule of wake ups! While Husband is home, we have strict shifts for nights so that in these early days while we all get used to each other it’s fair. I do the 10pm-2am shift, and he does 2am-6am. Before 10pm we take it in turns and Sophie wakes up at 6am so we all get up together. The first two nights were flipping horrendous, but I think that’s down to the fact I had just had a baby and didn’t sleep in the hospital ward! I wouldn’t cope without the shared night shift, not at the moment anyway – I am aware I will have to when he goes back to work. I don’t expect him to do night shifts when working 14 hours at a time! Until then, we share the workload and he is so hands on, it’s one of the reasons I love him so much.

10547643_10152342833162153_5847535588831934647_nWeirdly, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that I have two children. I can’t imagine Madeleine not being here, but at the same time cannot quite believe she’s here! I’ve never felt more content with my lot. I may not be cash rich but I am rich with my family. It’s exciting, the fact that the ‘trying for a baby’ chapter of my life is now over. I’ve had my babies, now I get to raise them! I get to be Mummy and I get to be a wife again. Not that those things stopped when I was pregnant, but I definitely feel more human than I did a few weeks ago. I have two beautiful little girls and the amount of glitter that is going to cover my house in years to come is going to be insane!

Sophie is a chatting little monkey and in a couple of weeks we are revisiting potty training. With all the upheaval of Madeleine’s arrival and moving house, we are waiting until we’ve moved to concentrate properly on getting her out of nappies. It’s going to be nice to only have one child in nappies at a time.

 

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“You Knew What You Were Getting Into”

This particular rant post was inspired by a friend of mine. We both had our babies within 2 weeks of each other (her little boy, is BEAUTIFUL) and so I am constantly comparing the development of Sophie to her little squishy. However, her little one is about 6lb heavier than Sophie so I try not to worry.

Anyway, my friend was telling me how upset she was by some comments made to her about her own motherly complaints. Unfortunately, her boy doesn’t sleep through the night while Sophie sleeps between 9-10 hours with no break. She has the routine down, and he has no problems going to sleep, it’s the staying asleep after 2am that is the problem. He has a lighter sleep cycle after this time that means getting up to play is actually much more fun!

A ‘friend’ – I put this lightly- has said to her the worst thing you can tell a new, exhausted mother…

YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO WHEN YOU HAD A BABY

This particular person is childless…surprise surprise. Do you have any idea how much I want to punch this person? And any other idiot who says this to a mother, let alone a new one who is struggling with her babies’ sleep and is shattered 80% of the time?

It’s something that really bugs me especially when the people spouting shit like that don’t even have children. How can you tell a new mother she shouldn’t have a moan about probably the biggest life change she will ever have??

Yeah...Fuck that!
Yeah…Fuck that!

I know what you’re thinking, how could a 6lb bundle of goop be hard work? Well, I’ll tell you shall I?

Babies eat 8 or more times a day. They need nappies changing 6-8 times a day. They need cuddles. And naps. And rocking to sleep. Anything you need to do now takes 45 minutes when previously it takes 15 minutes. Leaving the house, for examples is a military operation that even the British Army couldn’t sort out. You have to dress both of you (and let’s face it, the task of putting on your own clothes is a feat!), pack the changing bag and get the baby out the door before the next poonami/vomit shower/dribblefest which would require you to change their clothes for the third time that day. Time becomes a very precious commodity and you find yourself planning your journeys around possible feeds, changes and naps.

Having a baby changes your appreciation of sleep. Remember those days where 10am on a Saturday was the time you woke up? No, me neither. Then you get those idiots telling you sleep when your baby sleeps. Yeah sure, but then I won’t pee, shower, do housework, eat with two hands, sit down for five minutes, maybe watch a bit of Corrie. By the time you’ve got your pjs on, the baby is awake again and needs something else. Sleep deprivation just isn’t funny.

Recovery from childbirth itself differs for every woman, but if you like my friend have had a C-Section, then recovery takes a hell of a lot longer than six weeks. Physically after any birth your body just hurts. Emotionally, your hormones are a mess. Throw in a baby and you have a bowl of dysfunction with a side order of tears. Childbirth and pregnancy actually last longer than 9 months. Actually, much of your experience takes place after childbirth – mulling it over in your mind, making sense of what happened, processing what you felt on the inside and understanding what other people saw on the outside. The greater the discrepancy between what you expected and what you got, the tougher this task will be.

Of-course-Im-a-good-mother

We tell parents that they should feel only joy and gratitude, but this doesn’t make sense. Having a baby is no doubt the biggest life adjustment you will ever make; it’s only natural that you’ll feel emotions on both ends of the spectrum. Having inappropriate little shits telling you you should have expected to be exhausted and frazzled all the time makes you want to hit them in the face with a chair.

When your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, you get woken repeatedly from your own rest that your body needs to continue to change those nappies, feed those bottles and sing those nursery rhymes until you wish Jack and Jill would be dead at the bottom of the hill so you can stop singing that blasted song!

 

We’re all aware of the indescribably wonderful joys that come with having a new baby. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a sweet-smelling newborn nuzzling against your neck. But the birth of a baby also brings some necessary losses – your lifestyle, freedom and some of your income. The appropriate reaction to loss is grief, and the only way to get to the other side of it is to feel it and move through it.  Of course we knew that we would lose it…but you don’t appreciate it UNTIL YOU HAVE TO!

So to my lovely friend, your little bundle of squishyness might not be sleeping through, but you have every bloody right to moan your head off if you want to, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise.