If you are pregnant with your first child and just imagining what your life might be like once you join the ranks of those with children then you might have many preconceptions about what life is like and in particular how life has changed.
As a mum of a 6 month old, I remember being in this myself. In particular I remember really looking forward to baby cuddles and dreading the little amount of sleep I thought I would get. I also thought that i’d have to become one of those mums you see carting around giant amounts of stuff on giant prams and i’d always be running late to everything as it would take so long to get ready.
Some of these stereotypes might come to fruition once I have a toddler but for the most part many of them haven’t been the case. Instead here are the ways that my life has changed.
1. I have made lots of new friends!
Sharing the experience of being a first time mum with other mum’s with babies of a similar age is a fantastic bonding experience. I live in a small town where maternity leave of around a year is pretty typical so get to spend lots of time socialising with other mums all within walking distance. It’s fantastic. Before my baby was born i’d felt like i’d pretty much made all the friends I could, at least until I had a baby – because at least here it is like joining an exclusive club that only mum’s get to join, or at least women who are happy sitting around talking about babies sleeping patterns.
2. After the Initial Newborn Stage Sleep hasn’t been all that bad
I had been dreading the lack of sleep but it really hasn’t been all that bad. Something physically seems to change when you have a baby that means you need less sleep to feel good. I used to need a good 10hrs a night, but now feel fine with less. Also as we practice co-sleeping it really hasn’t been all that big of a deal when our baby wakes up at night as I can easily put him back to sleep while going back to sleep myself at the same time! I think one of the big reasons co-sleeping has also kept me sane is that I don’t keep track of the times and number of times my baby wakes at night. People who have to get out of bed and go to another room are going to be way more conscious of this and might start getting stressed out that their baby isn’t sleeping a set number of hours etc. It is also way more effort to get out of bed.
3. Finishing Anything is Really Difficult
My baby at least isn’t all that happy to spend long periods of time amusing himself. Even when he knaps it will be very likely he’ll wake up again and i’ll have to stop what i’m doing and put him back to sleep. This means that often i’m frustrated because i’ve just got focused on doing something non-baby related, whether that’s housework, sewing project, this blog, a youtube video, study…etc I really look forward to the weekends still despite being on maternity leave as it means my husband will be home and can spend some time playing or holding him so I can get some things done. He certainly thought i’d be able to do more housework while he is at work, but it just is too difficult really, and way more time efficient to just wait often till he is home.
4. I now like babies a lot more
Prior to having my baby I thought i was more a toddler or little kid person and that i’d be hanging out for my bub to get to an age where he could talk and I could reason with him. I was so wrong, little babies are wonderful, especially when they are your own. Mine is growing up so quick and i’m constantly pining for the days he was smaller whilst simultaneously trying to live in the moment and make the most of every second of him at his current age. I’m in no rush for him to grow up. They do so far too quickly! I’ve noticed now I also appreciate other people’s babies now more too.
5. I can’t watch a baby being born on TV now without feeling emotional
This one actually started while I was in about my 3rd trimester of pregnancy whenever i watched something like ‘One Born Every Minute’ on tv. I had also watched a lot of videos on youtube of hypnobirths etc in preparation for my own birth. The strange thing about this too is that I thought this would mean than when it came to my own birth i’d be really emotional. But actually I wasn’t, happy yes but no emotional. So i’m not sure what is going on there…
6. It took 6 months post birth but now I (mostly) feel like my old self
When i was pregnant i found it difficult to focus on anything except my baby. Thinking about him and planning stuff for him pretty much fulfilled the category of hobby at that time. And baby brain is absolutely real. It’s like a haze that prevents you from really focusing on stuff, especially anything complex, unless it is somehow related to looking after or planning for your baby. The first 6 months after he was born probably was pretty similar. That was all about just getting used to looking after him and is also fuelled by hanging around a lot of other mums with babies of a similar age so you just spend a lot of time talking about sleeping patterns, breastfeeding and brands of cloth nappies. The day my baby hit 6 months I could put in into creche for an hour while i went to the library to study and that day I felt a bit like my old self again – which by my definition means my brain felt a bit clearer and I could get re-interested in things again that didn’t relate to babies. The next day I had a dinner party serving Syrian food. Gourmet international cookery had always been a passion of mine but had been on the back-burner since pre-pregnancy as I just hadn’t really felt like spending energy on it, instead opting for microwave stuffed potatoes and basic pasta recipes. So to me that was a real sign I was back!
7. I get lots more cuddles!
I’ve always liked cuddles. Now i get to live in one big oxytocin swimming pool as i get so many cuddles from my baby (FIY oxytocin is a feel-good hormone that gets released when you cuddle or breastfeed :)). That is an absolutely amazing part of being a mum and i will be so sad when my son is grown up and no longer wants a cuddle.
8. Mother guilt
I already feel guilty that i’m not mentally present and appreciating every single moment i’m with my baby. That being said i’d go nuts if all i did was sit and stare at him and talk to him etc. I need to eat, read Facebook, do other things to stay alive and sane. I’m sure i’ll also feel guilty when I have to go back to work. The fact that this kind of guilty feeling as a name (Mother Guilt) means it must be awfully common.
So that about sums it up. Overall i’m absolutely loving almost every single minute and think my life is only the more richer and happier since having a baby. 🙂