Arriving home with a newborn baby presents a steep learning curve. No matter how strong your maternal instincts may be or how many books you’ve read or how much advice you’ve received, everything has to be tried for the first time. There is the first feed and the first bedtime and the first waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night. I remember the first bath and the apprehension I felt about whether I would be able to perform this ‘tricky procedure’ as well as all the nurses had shown me in the hospital. I prayed that I wouldn’t accidentally drown my baby or get skin cleanser or shampoo in her eyes and make her cry. Now in my own home, alone, I had to have everything so well organised and at my finger tips. The amount of paraphernalia one needed (according to the books) just to get a baby clean! You pretty soon learn to adopt your own method without the need for all of what you had previously learnt in the Hospital or read about.
You will experience sleep deprivation, you will have cranky days and exasperating ones. You will even sometimes wish (usually at 3am in the morning) when you are dragging your weary body carrying your darling trying to rock her to sleep that you had never become pregnant in the first place. You may as I did go through dislocated hips and double reverse nappies or harnesses. You will suffer with them as you watch their tiny bodies wracking in pain with coughs, sore throats or colic. You may experience almost physical pain when you cradle their tiny bodies in your arms as you take them for their first inoculation. You will not have much peace at meal times (for some unknown reason that is the time that they usually choose to ‘act up’). You will think your brain has turned to mush as tiredness consumes your body and rational and logical thinking is taken away from you.
But you will get through the exhaustion and the not so pleasing memories and you will experience insurmountable joy watching these tiny creatures that you created begin to crawl, wobble, stand, walk and become unique individuals.
Yes becoming a mother is the most satisfying, rewarding ‘job role’ us as women can undertake. So embrace it, enjoy every miniscule moment from the day you find out you have a child inside you, because as we are told, but never really understand, they grow up all too quickly.
**My Memoir The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available on Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**