Child: Lara, 4 months
Expectations of Motherhood: Having children had always been a “Yeah one day” kind of thing, then magically that 'one day' arrived in early spring 2010. I just woke on a random Wednesday and felt ready and luckily fell pregnant fairly quickly. I expected what I think everyone expects of having a baby to be tired and highly strung and not really manage to change out of pyjamas on most days. But most of all I was excited and really looking forward to meeting my baby and bonding with her, I'd read the books, listened to all the advice and felt ready to welcome her into the world.
Reality of Motherhood: I really do love motherhood and I'm more relaxed than I ever thought I would be, Lara always comes first but I don't stress about things like I thought I would. I do have a routine that she sticks to and it works for us, so that is the only thing I ensure stays intact. But the grandmas have had her for a couple of hours – along with a huge list of instructions – I'm fine about friends and family holding her and even the enthusiasm of my 4 year old nephew doesn't get me worked up. I am confident that if Lara was unhappy she would let me know and if I'm unhappy in a situation I change that situation.
Taking your child home for the first time: After 3 nights in hospital, which I actually quite enjoyed – meals brought to me and a helpful midwife on hand – I was ready to return home. We wrapped our new bundle up, popped her in the car seat ready to venture out of the hospital and she just wouldn't stop crying. We spent about an hour in the hospital room nursing her and trying to get her quiet. Eventually she fell off to sleep and we were off. We arrived home in the afternoon. I don't really remember the specifics of that first day at home - we had a couple of visitors and Lara just cried and cried, so out came the dummy, but she wasn't really interested in that either. I fed her and she went off to sleep early evening, only to wake up just as we were going to bed. My wonderful husband said he would take care of her, as I had been on night duty every night in hospital and I really needed some sleep. He nursed her until 4am when she fell into a deep enough sleep enough to pop her into her crib and he could get a few hours shut eye. The next few day were a blur, but we got into a routine within a few days and here we are 4 months on.
The best/worst advice: The best piece of advice for me was to buy the Gina Ford book. I know it's not for everyone, but it has been a real guide for me and I love it! I can't think of the worst piece of advice, I probably just blocked it out!
The hardest parts of being a mother: The hardest part of being a mother for me is stopping myself doing things for Lara when she is learning to do it for herself. For example, the first time she rolled over she was having a right old struggle, make noises like she was bench pressing at the gym. I really wanted to just give her a little nudge, but I stopped myself and she did it all by herself and has been rolling over no problems since. I think this is something that will be with me all my life, it's a learning curve for me to let her find her own way in life.
The best parts of being a mother: The best part of being a mother is when Lara looks up at me when she wakes up in the morning, does a big yawn and then give me a huge grin and a giggle. It makes everything worth while.
Hopes for your family: We are just about to move into our first new house so it's exciting to be moving as a family and just taking our family life day by day all learning and growing together and expanding our family – in the future as Lara is only four months old!!!
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Nothing can really prepare you for having a baby, but the best thing for me was having a read about what to expect once the baby arrives. A bit of advice and guidance in print really helped me, my mates had all had babies, but they seemed to have forgotten everything about having a new born – which I now have, so just having a book to hand really helped me.
I always thought I wanted a baby, sometime in the future, it was always a one day kind of thing, then I woke up one morning and thought – Oooh, the future has arrived. But I never realised how much I would love being a mum, before I had Lara I would coo at babies, but never pick them up, even my nephew, as I just never knew what to do with them. But since the first hours of having Lara everything seemed to click into place – obviously not the sleep deprivation and breast feeding, but it just felt instinctive, what to do when she cried and over the four months we have come to know each other better and better and I now understand - most of the time - what she wants and needs. It's fabulous.