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Ok, so the title made it sound more dramatic than it really is but it pulled you in didn’t it! “No” might be a bit of an over exaggeration, what I’m really saying is – not yet.
With my first baby I had an extremely difficult pregnancy battling hyperemesis gravidarum followed by a traumatic birth that I was left in shock by for a very long time. The first few days and even weeks of his life are a complete blur, I vaguely remember going with the motions of the hustle and bustle of visitors traipsing in and out fondling with this new little human that had just very chaotically entered my life but I also very distinctly remember feeling like I wasn’t really there. I would sit watching, smiling and nodding along to conversations feeling like I was watching down on somebody else’s life from afar just wishing they would all go away.
People mean well, of course they do, and they’re excited to see the new arrival they come with cards and flowers and gifts and joy but then they all just disappear after the first few weeks and you are left feeling confused and alone.
That “newborn bubble” never happened for me, I actually took a really long time to come around to what had happened and started to bond with Toby. I didn’t get the rush of love, the instant unbreakable bond that everyone tells you about. A lot of which I know now is because of the birth trauma but I also know it’s because I didn’t allow myself the time I needed to heal, both physically and mentally. I had been through one hell of an ordeal, a 26 hour labour ending in an emergency section due to failure to dilate and maternal distress, the wound shortly after burst, and then got infected (sorry if you’re squeamish!) I was in a lot of pain, I was mentally and physically exhausted, I didn’t know what day it was and I didn’t stop and take it all in for quite some time. Instead I replied to every message in minutes telling people “of course come whenever you like!!” I don’t look back on those early days with the fond memories I would like to. Slowly throughout my motherhood journey I’ve learnt to speak up when something isn’t convenient for me, I’ve learnt it really is ok to tell people no sometimes. It becomes vital in remaining sane!
Almost six years on and due my second baby in a few weeks, I’m very aware of how important my mental and physical health is. This time I’m doing what’s right for me and my family, I want to enjoy every second, I want to understand what the “newborn bubble” really means. (Although, still not convinced it’s a thing but I’ll report back on that one!) I want and need to take things really slow. I want to study every little inch of my baby and really get to know each other. I really want to enjoy it this time. I want to give our family time to adjust, this is my second baby and I’m so aware of how much of a massive change this is going to be for our family, especially my first born, Toby. A child who often struggles with change, the weeks following the birth will be about us and nobody else. Readjusting to life together as a family of four.
Napping in the afternoons, staying in bed all day, watching movies, reading books and just enjoying our new little team member. Not rushing about worrying about if there are any clean mugs for visitors to have a bru, if the house is a mess or if I’ve washed my hair. Not pulling myself up when I’m not ready just to fuel someone else’s desire to cuddle my baby. Not overwhelming my child with a busy house full of people at what already feels like an enormous switch from reality. Because none of that matters in the grand scheme, those tiny baby days pass by in the blink of an eye, I fear with Toby that I missed them, I’m not going to allow that to happen this time. I deserve this time, I deserve a happy and positive experience.
There’s plenty of time in the weeks that follow for visitors and they will be welcomed with open arms once Dan is back at work and Toby is back at school and I’m all alone with a new baby, I’m sure of it! But those first few weeks – they are ours.