I’ve probably gone on about this a lot lately, but I’m currently at the start of the biggest learning curve I’ve ever encountered: motherhood.
Prior to the birth of my daughter in May, I’d held a baby precisely 3 times before, all of which had occurred before the age of 13. So was I ready to deal with a small person of my own? Mentally, yes, but in practice? Probably not.
Immediately comes challenge number one (aside from the obvious of actually giving birth to an 8lb baby); how to comfortably pick up and put down something that feels as though it might break with the slightest wrong move. We’ve pretty much mastered that now (a whole lot easier now she’s a sturdy 3 month old).
Challenge number two: changing a nappy. Easy, yes, but on day 2 of motherhood this simple task reduced me to tears when baby decided to wee all over the changing mat, swimming in a puddle of her own urine (although this didn’t bother her in the slightest). Grandma to the rescue.
Don’t even get me started on feeding. The rules around bottle feeding have changed in the last few years, meaning that bottles should no longer be made up in advance like parents of my mum’s generation or even as recent as a few years ago would do. I’ve never stressed myself out so much as when trying to figure out the best way to handle night feeds, the quickest way to get a correctly made up bottle to a screaming baby, or what the hell you’re supposed to do if, God forbid, you actually want to leave the house one day. The Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine is well worth the investment, btw (although obviously no help when out and about).
The night times of the first couple of months brought the biggest challenges. I learnt a lot about the value of sleep, which is taken for granted until you’re deprived of it, and the importance of patience, which I was often short of when up at 3am screaming ‘what the hell do you want from me?! and storming off to the bathroom to calm down while my other half took control of the situation. These nights were often followed the next morning by remorse and embarrassment at my behaviour, and an inability to look the neighbours in the eye out of fear they heard everything and judged me to be a terrible mother.
3 months in to motherhood, I’ve learned an incredible amount already (including a lot more about what’s normal and not when it comes to baby poop than I care to share here). I’m not only learning about how to be a parent, but I’m getting to know my little one and myself too. My main problem was that I severely lacked confidence at first, but I can do this whole motherhood thing, and can genuinely say (now that I’m getting some sleep) that I’m enjoying every minute of it.
This is a learning journey that I’m going to be on for a long time yet…