Lititia was the cutest baby being born at 5 lbs 9 and after threatening to arrive at 30 weeks, she managed to stay in there until 37! I was frightened by how much love I felt for her and often didnt know how to handle that level of emotion! The first few months of her life, maybe even the first year I just kept expecting someone to come along and say “sorry, we made a mistake actually. This baby is for someone who actually knows what they are doing!!! ”
I never thought about having children when I was small and even know still find it sometimes strange having 4 people call me Mum. When i first fell pregnant I must admit I didnt really read any books and didnt tell anyone until after my 20 + week scan! It was almost unbelievable that an actual person could be inside of me! Even during labour ( which when I had horrid pains I thought I had food poisoning, I still never thought it could be labour!) I thought they would probably just find i had wind or something to make my belly swell. Which actually didnt swell much at all as I was still wearing my size 8s. One leg wouldnt fit that now!!! But im getting off track. I had no morning sickness, didnt feel kicking until nearing 30 weeks and really had nothing to feel pregnant about.
So when she finally came out, which was a very quick but traumatic birth which I didnt realise at the time as I had no interest in hearing womans birth stories, I expected to be an instant Mum just like all the other Mums Id seen at hospital visits or in town.
I had no idea what to do! I was “encouraged” to breastfeed even though I didnt want to. I know its best etc….. but for me it wasnt something wanted to do. I couldnt feed her in front of anyone at all and remember crying ina toilet in Plymouth trying to feed her sat on the loo and experiencing lots of pain as Id gotten mastitis too. I had to stay in for a few days as I was hopeless at it! and then i didnt know how to even put a nappy on! Im not kidding, i didnt even know how to open it!
Then she cried and i was looking for someone to pick her up or do something. then I realised that person was me! Its a shame i didnt realise I had to hold her head!!! Luckily I realised in time. It may sound like I might have been a Mum who was so overwhelmed I felt detached, quite the opposite. I felt so much for her and such intense emotion I had no idea how to handle it most of the time! I didnt want to tell anyone as I just assumed they would think I would know how to be a Mum. I didnt sleep for the first year (and we still dont but thats another post!!) for fear something would happen to her ( i had no idea about cot death until the midwife gave me a leaflet and then I watched every second!).
Of course if anyone would have asked if I were okay, I would have said yes anyway as i wanted to be a good Mum. After all Id given birth so of course now I was a Mum, I should just know how to be one. I didnt. i am not a natural Mum and I have to work at it every day. My children are my whole life. Literally. I do everything with them and never go on a night out. I still want to be a Mum they can be proud of. Now Lititia is nearly 15 next week and we have survived, grown together and I wouldnt have changed it for anything! I love being her Mum but I wish someone had told me that it is perfectly okay to not have motherhood come naturally. To not know if babies drink water or what they eat when they wean or that they cant sit up at a few weeks!! we as Mums need to know its also okay to not bond instantly and feel that instant love and it is also okay to feel overwhelming love and it is okay to ask for help and advice. Its also okay to not breastfeed and to say you dont want to, I bottlefed 3 of my children and Lititia after I felt able to say I wanted to with the help of a lovely midwife, and I am as close to all of them exactly the same and the same as mums who did breastfeed and although the health factors are of course there, a happy Mum is a happy baby.
It is perfectly fine to not have a clue and not to feel we are a disappointment or a failure!