One would think that after 40 weeks of an expanding belly, crazy mood swings and throwing up whenever I smelled mince cooking, I would have probably figured out the end result of my pregnancy.
And the funny thing is, I thought I had! In my mind, I knew that at the end of my pregnancy I would go in to labour, have my baby and become a mother but nothing on this earth could have prepared me for the moment the nurse handed me my daughter.
That moment I actually realised I was a mother was the most overwhelming moment of my life – so far. After 29 hours of active labour and all kinds of complications, that is saying something. I brought a real life human into this world, from that moment onwards, anything she did would be my responsibility or worse even, my fault. I was entirely responsible for keeping this tiny, precious, gorgeous little thing alive.
And that was terrifying.
Now, I’m not sure how it is in private hospitals, but at the government hospital I was at, the nurses are so so so incredibly busy, it’s kind of like ‘Okay cool, here’s your baby, just shout if there’s something seriously wrong and you fear for your life or hers, kthanksbye’ until they discharge you, so I really did have to figure it out on my own. THANK YOU MATERNAL INSTINCTS!
Becoming a mum honestly changes the very foundation of your life.
It changes who you are as a person.
It changes your relationship with your partner/co-baby-maker.
And it’s hectic.
All of a sudden, your entire world revolves around this tiny little blend of you and the person you love. Things you used to care about, you don’t care about anymore. Things you thought you would never care about, you care about. Every single second of your day is dependent on every single second of your baby’s day.
Worrying about sudden infant death syndrome, the ‘breathing-checks’ throughout the nights, not knowing what temperature the bath should be, stressing whether your baby is too hot or too cold, not knowing if your baby has eaten enough for her size in one sit down and just generally not knowing what the hell you are doing – these are all some of the prominent factors in the first three (okay, maybe a little longer) months of motherhood.
Something that was easier to deal with than what I probably expected, was my new social life. Or rather, lack of one. Well-meaning friends who spoke of themselves being the surrogate aunty – suddenly vanished. No more going out for a wild night of partying, no more just randomly hanging out with friends, no more jumping in the car and just driving somewhere.
My life consisted of keeping my house clean, my baby alive and my fiancé fed.
And I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
My first few weeks of being a new mum are a bit of a blur. I had a couple of complications and a nasty infection post Ceaser, so I was pretty much mummed downed (this is like manned down, but for mums) and was pretty much unable to do anything but breastfeed in bed – and I hated it. I had all these mom hormones and impulsions to morph into ‘Supermom’ coursing through my veins, and I was bedridden. I would get out of bed (this took about 20 minutes alone) grit my teeth through the pain and overexert myself doing mundane tasks like washing clothes and cleaning the house. Due to my silliness – these actions would land me in bed, or at the doctors and I would be mummed down even longer. I am so incredibly lucky that Daddydaims was as hands on as he was, still to this day – he has changed more nappies and prepared more bottles than me #respect
Something that blew us away was the most incredible support system that came with our new title of parents. My mom would drop everything when I called her, and show up at my house with painkillers and her ‘granny hat’ firmly in place. On the more trying nights, Matthew and Talia would spend the night on our uncomfortable couches and take the night shift so Daddydaims and I could rest. Our own parents, grannies, aunties and uncles showered us with fantastic tips and advice. For you all, we are so thankful and love you to bits!
As with many South African mommies – My maternity leave was unpaid. Therefore, because of the amount in my savings account – I only had 5 weeks of maternity leave, and after that I was back at my full-time job! What a trying time. It was incredibly difficult handing my baby over to a caregiver at such a young age, and I felt like I missed out on a lot of that all-important bonding. If I could go back – I would have turned a blind eye to the dwindling amount in my bank account and stayed on maternity leave a little longer, and enjoyed those precious early days with my daughter.
As tough as those first three months were, they were some of the best of my life.
They say you will miss them, and it’s true.
I implore you to make the most of those first three months, no matter how difficult, because you will never get that time back.