A month in, and this is cause for me to celebrate!
Celebrate my little piglet's one month birthday. Celebrate the fact that she's growing and going well. Celebrate that my confinement is over. And celebrate the fact that I survived the first month of being a mother.
What can I say about motherhood other than I completely and utterly underestimated it. I underestimated how difficult it would be, how challenging it would be, and how fulfilling it would be at the same time. I had read profusely on the topic, and had friends who all told me what to expect but it was nothing compared to experiencing it all myself.
Here are a few observations that have stuck out to me the most:
1. You will feel like a failure and you will second guess yourself constantly. It doesn't matter how confident one is, it doesn't matter how good your baby may be, there will be moments where you will feel like a failure. I have felt this many times since lil A was born, for a multitude of reasons. There is nothing like mothers guilt. I have always been confident in every thing in my life and whilst pregnant, things were no different. I was told of how difficult it would be, how the lack of sleep would be debilitating, how helpless you can feel and I brushed it off blithely with utter confidence that I would excel at this... oh boy, how wrong I was!
2. You will be hugely emotional. I am not someone that cries frequently. I am certainly not someone that watches television and then cries over advertisements or shows. Since becoming a mum, I cry constantly. I am now highly emotional (and yes, the day 3 blues are real and wow do they hit hard) and cry over how amazing Ava is, how beautiful my family and friends are, as well as things such as seeing a hospitalised baby on a TV show. I'm an emotional wreck and feel happiness, sadness and all emotions in between 100,000% magnified.
3. Mothers instinct is real. Ava sleeps in her room, and has from day one - this was something that K and I were very strict on. We also do not have a baby monitor. I find myself waking before Ava even wakes in the middle of the night, or the early hours of the morning. Instinct makes me wake up a few moments before she utters her first cry - by the time she does, I am already out of bed and on my way. Mothers instinct is also evident in being able to read her facial expressions and tell apart her cries - I know exactly what she's thinking. One priceless example is one night when I saw her struggle with some discomfort and said to her: "If you want to throw up, just throw up" and then she proceeded to do so... all over me!
4. Laundry. Oh lord there is a lot of it. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I seem to be doing loads of laundry all the time. Good thing the weather has been good. And good thing we have a dryer for when it isn't!
5. You will miss them when they sleep. Even though entire moment of your day is spent focussed on this little being, and your entire life is centred around them, you put them down for their sleep and as soon as you do, you find yourself looking at photographs of them... because you miss them instantly. I do this all the time, and I can only imagine how hard it is for K who is at work all day - I make sure that I send him lots of photos throughout the day, but he has called me before to request more because apparently, I wasn't sending enough!
6. Fresh air makes everything better. This is true for both Ava and I. When she is fussy for no apparent reason, all I have to do is take her outside onto the balcony for some fresh air and she quietens immediately. She squints against the sunshine, she peers about at the change of scenery, and instantly is calm. For myself, being cooped up inside for a month thanks to confinement, stepping onto the balcony is a taste of freedom... it's a hit of vitamin D, it's a dose of normalacy, and it's never been more appreciated.
7. Do not be afraid to ask for help. This ties into # 1 - lack of confidence and feeling like a failure. I'm terrified as K is overseas for a week as of this weekend... but I am lucky in that I have family and friends around who have all offered their help - whether it be delivering food to my door, minding A for a bit during the day so I can nap, or staying overnight so I have company. I am sure that A and I will be just fine (apart from missing K like crazy), but it helps to know that there is a support network around me. I feel for all the ladies who, for some reason or another, attack this solo.
8. Your body is capable of some amazing things. Labour is nothing but a blur to me now. All I remember was that it took forever, and it hurt... but as to the pain, it has completely diminished in my mind. Has it scared me off having more kids? No way. In fact, literally moments after Ava was born, K kissed me, told me I had done amazing and then said "now you just need to do this two more times" - he is so lucky I still had a sense of humour and just laughed instead of punching him in the face! I was up and walking within an hour of the labour, and home within 2 days. My body took about a week to recover, and I've been all good ever since - an amazing feat considering what it went through over the past 9 months.
But the biggest observation? You will never ever experience such a deep and intense love. Special K is still number one in my life - I believe that for us to be the best parents to our kids, we should put each other first before our children - but you have a completely different type of love for your child. It is one that I can't even begin to explain.
Throughout the past month, I have appreciated Special K even more and our relationship has never been stronger. I believe hugely in ensuring that your partner still stays number one, and investing extra time and effort into your significant other when a baby arrives in the family, so as to not forget the original relationship. This brings me to a quote that I read in the material that we received when we went to the pre-natal classes: "Please take care of your relationship with each other, for what good is bonding if there is no family to bond to."
After all, without K, we wouldn't have our little A.