The last 18 months have been a crazy and remarkable rollercoaster for me. Probably like a lot of you reading this.
I fell (very surprisingly but very brilliantly) pregnant on my honeymoon, and in the blink of an eye I had gone from cocktail-sipping, sun-bathing, retail therapy, career girl about town to Mrs married and pregnant.
I was surprised. I had thought that it might be difficult for me to have a baby due to some health problems, so when I saw those little blue lines I was amazed. And delighted. We kept it under our hats for a while, just to make sure that it was really true I think, to let it sink in, and to let it be our magical little secret for just the two of us. Once we had told our nearest and dearest it slowly began to feel real, and seeing that teeny flickering little shadow of grey on the scan reassured us that it wasn’t just a dream.
I waited to tell people at work, and I can’t believe nobody guessed as I shovelled food down my face to stave off the nausea and turned green every time coffee came close. Especially as I have a little secret, I’m a midwife.
Once I’d let the cat out the bag my pregnancy seemed to fly past, and it seemed that in no time at all I was getting ready to go on maternity leave. My best friend was pregnant too, we had lots of cute tiny clothes ready, I was doing a lovely yoga class, it was springtime and all of Cheltenham was glorious in bloom. Including me. I felt wonderful. I look back now seeing how very lucky I was that I enjoyed pregnancy, I know that there’s a lot of ladies out there who don’t (and you’re probably swearing at me right now!).
So, how was the birth? For me it was an overwhelmingly positive experience, I felt so proud and strong that my body had grown and given birth to this beautiful little baby, and that has stayed with me ever since. I found strength that I didn’t know I had, and I think that every new mum does and should be so proud of herself. It wasn’t all easy though – I was induced, monitored, worried when he got distressed, disorientated and exhausted; but I had two very special people by my side who watched over me and my baby and kept me going and him safe, my fantastic midwife and my incredible husband.
You’d think as a midwife I’d have known it all, but I didn’t. Here are a few little insider tips that I think worked for me:
• Trust in the people looking after you, they just want to keep you and your baby safe and your experience as positive as possible.
• Be open-minded and prepared to accept that there are two of you going through this and your baby might not have the same agenda as you!
• Accept help and advice in the early days, but trust your instincts – you know what’s right for your little family, but there is lots to learn.
• Don’t beat yourself up about it if things don’t work out as you’d hoped, whether it’s the pregnancy, the birth, feeding, sleeping, your body, the house work – it takes time to find your feet, just take it slowly and be kind to yourself.
• Seek out others in the same boat as you and support each other, a friend to lean on who knows exactly what you’re going through is worth their weight in gold.
For more information and support in pregnancy and as a new parent check us out at The Baby Journey.