Posts Tagged ‘nappies’

The ‘How-To’ of Parenting

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 07/01/2012 at 16:57

It’s funny, since learning I was pregnant and then, nine months later, becoming a parent, my social circle has evolved to largely include fellow mothers, my conversation rotates around issues of nappy contents, which supermarkets are having sales on said nappies, weaning, sleep patterns, buggy model… Believe me, I could go on for days! And my sense of self-judgement has been questioned.

Mothers, and especially new mothers, are an interesting breed – we doubt ourselves constantly, look for reassurance on an almost daily basis and feel guilty over every action we have a hand in …and yet, ultimately we believe we are the only ones who know what is best for our child. Like lionesses fiercely protecting our cubs, occasionally we may look to the rest of the pride for help, but mainly we alone are the ones we rely on to make the right decisions.

We all do things differently. Some mothers are convinced that rigid routine is the way forward while others fly by the seat of their elasticated pants; some mothers feed their babies by bottle while others are staunch advocates of ‘breast is best’; some mothers know every nursery rhyme that was ever written while others rely on the musical numbers from their own childhoods – in the end, the differences are irrelevant because that is what makes us human but the most important thing and the one thing we have in common is the mere fact that we are all mothers.

Every mother I meet has her own way, her own neuroses and methods and while a handful choose to judge the practice of their parental peers – shooting loaded looks when they discover that Rudy goes to bed whenever he chooses to go to sleep while their little one is safely tucked away at 7pm sharp every night – the rest of us acknowledge that there is no right way to parent, there is just the way we each know how.

Motherhood, and indeed parenthood, is a remarkable adventure and one I am honoured to be taking. Being entrusted with the welfare of another person and the opportunity to enable them to realise their potential, their dreams and their own happiness – it is a huge responsibility but one that is hugely rewarding and exciting. Every step is paved with scary moments and moments that are wonderful and we want to share every single one.

Though we are all different, and may agree to disagree on a number of points, the truth is that my best references for ‘mothering’ are my fellow mums. They are the ones I call on for support, advice and reassurance. Because it is their experience, whether 30 years worth or just 3 weeks, that is so invaluable as I learn from how they have handled everything from labour to teething to potty training and beyond.

There is no ‘how-to’ for being a parent but you can always ask for directions along the way.


26 and Pregnant: Mum’s the Word

In It's My Year, It's Only Words on 03/28/2012 at 07:51

So firstly, apologies for my delayed silence… I had a baby.

Yes, four and a half weeks ago I spent 27 hours pushing out my 8lb 8oz daughter, Miss Denny Lily (a.k.a the best thing to ever happen to me)! Four days past my official due date, and following a session of acupuncture and reflexology, numerous long walks, Indian food, sex and every other trick in the book, I went into labour. I won’t go into too much detail (this is not an episode of One Born Every Minute) but suffice to say, my “water birth” lasted about as long as I could handle the pain and then I was crying out for an epidural. The gas and air made me – the non-drinker or smoker or anything else in the substance category – completely high, which was a rather pleasant experience; so much so I was actually laughing through my contractions while I sat in the large birthing pool bath watched over by my husband and midwife! But the pain got too much so I ended up giving birth exactly as I said I wouldn’t – in a bed, strapped to a monitor, with an epidural… and boy, that was the greatest thing ever! I got to 8cm on gas and air alone but my marathon ordeal was too much for me and the pure bliss of pain free contractions after so many hours or agony was the ultimate relief.

Then came my reward at 3.35am – having convinced myself throughout the pregnancy that I was expecting a boy – it was the most incredible surprise to meet my daughter at the end of 9 months. Deep down I had wanted my first to be a girl and 26 years after my mother gave birth to me at the Royal Free, I delivered my daughter in the same hospital.

I had no idea just how overwhelming the experience would be but I am overcome with love for this tiny person who is quite honestly the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.

The first night we spent in the hospital, her and I, as she startled us by stopping breathing shortly after birth when I attempted breastfeeding for the first time (poor kid didn’t know what to do with herself when her mother shoved her double D’s at her face!). That night was traumatic to say the least – she cried, I cried, I called the midwife every 3 minutes to help me figure out what to do, my lovely ward-mate and one fantastic midwife helped me through and finally at 4.30am, after two days of no sleep she settled and I fell asleep with her in my arms.

Once home I lasted barely 24 hours before rushing back to the hospital when on day 3 she became drowsy after I administered myself with codeine to help the pain of after-birth. She was fine, I stuck to paracetamol from then on and the source of my hormonal overload made itself clear that evening when I woke to discover milk leaking from my breasts. Having a baby is life changing and I don’t use this term lightly – it’s terrifying, amazing, frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming, surreal, fantastic and unique for every mother and father.

Every day presents a new challenge but every day gets a little bit easier as you learn more about this little person you brought into the world and grow in confidence. My incredible friend who shared the post-natal ward with me that night comforted me with the knowledge that though I felt helpless and distraught at my own incapability that first night, I would become the expert on my child and I would know more about her than anyone and that despite the crying etc she loved me… and she was right.

Stay tuned as I reveal how I solved the issue of the supermarket shop, learned how to multitask and more…