Child: Jessica, 10 Days old
Expectations of Motherhood: It was going to be a huge amount of hard work with sleepless nights, lots of washing, end of my personality and career. I didn't really think too much about how labour was going to be and I anticipated no problems with breastfeeding!
Reality of Motherhood: It's a lot of hard work but you find energy somehow. It changes everything but your personality isn't destroyed and your relationship with your partner develops rather than breaks. Labour is horrific, I had a lot of people saying, "It's not that bad". For me it was worse than I could ever have prepared for!
Breastfeeding is not magical and bonding, it hurts like hell at first and after the labour you can feel pretty hard done by as you go from one pain to another. Get numbers of breastfeeding mentors ahead of time so your not struggling to find help in the middle of a painful session.
You adapt straight away. You and your partners lives are instantly changed and everything is geared towards this tiny ball of human baby.
You get to know them immediately, know their routines and habits.
Be gentle on yourself. After giving birth a woman undergoes the biggest changes both physically, mentally and hormonally, often with pain running alongside this change - it's going to be tough as anything some days.
Taking your child home for the first time: Bizarre.
We planned a home birth; ended up having to rush into hospital and have an episiotomy with an epidural. I had to stay overnight with Jessica but my partner got sent home. Next day we realised we had no means of getting her home! We had to ring round family to get them to buy a car seat and drive us home! Also when we left we realised we didn't have a blanket, hat or gloves for baby! Once at home it was actually fine but the act of taking her home was a nightmare!
The best/worst advice: Best advice: no-one knows what they are doing with baby so find your own way and listen to people you trust and ignore those you don't!
Worst advice: To deal with breastfeeding pain, start drinking at least one alcoholic drink and use up all those really strong labour medications you got given that never used.
The hardest parts of being a mother: Dealing with such a massive change in your own body/mindset at the same time as dealing with a new born.
Stopping to make yourself rest when you can rather than pushing on through exhaustion.
The best parts of being a mother: You and your partner have created life! Its truly a miracle.
Looking at her face and knowing all the trivial stuff that filled up your life previously isn't worth your time or energy. The endless joy you can get from all the tiny things she does.
Has becoming a mother changed you: Hugely and not at all.
I feel like everything has changed and nothing is the same, but equally my partner and myself are the same, we've just got to learn a new way of being.
Hopes for your family: That we stay as a cohesive unit and love keeps us together whatever issues we have to deal with.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums? Find numbers of breastfeeding consultants. There is plenty of support out there; if you're set on breastfeeding it would be a shame to fall at first hurdle.
I found expressing (so get bottles /steriliser etc) was what saved me, otherwise I would have caved due to the pain. Take every day (or even hour) as it comes and don't be hard on yourself. You're going to feel terrible sometimes, but it'll pass.