Hi Beautiful Mumma,
Firstly, thank you so much for dropping by and taking the time to read this little blog. I am so happy that you are here and hope that you enjoy the read :)
Secondly, apologies that there has not been regular blogs, this will be (hopefully) the first of monthly blog posts to come. These blogs will cover any topics relating to pregnancy, motherhood, having children to checklists, handy tips and even the deeper issues. We will from time to time have special guest bloggers to keep it fresh and offer many perspectives.
With that being said our next blog installment is all about the struggles of becoming a mum. As we all know, being a mumma us not easy. It can take its toll and be very consuming. It can be the best thing that has ever happened to you whilst being the hardest by far. My beautiful, strong and inspirational bestie Desiree, is this months blogger. I would like to personally thank Des for her time to compile this amazing body of writing and to be completely honest and fully transparent. This raw honesty and truth shines light on the fact that it is not all sunshines and rainbows, however there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Read on for Desiree's words...
My name is Desiree and I had my first child, a beautiful daughter Ivy on January 17th, 2019. I’m lucky enough to be Sarah’s best friend and have experienced being pregnant at the same time as her and then becoming a Mum alongside her with our daughters Ivy and Isla being born just 5 weeks apart. When Sarah asked if I’d be interested in contributing to a blog about becoming a Mum and the challenges that are involved, I didn’t hesitate with taking on the opportunity to do so. Honesty is something that has helped me work through the hard times and if I can help just one person by them reading what I have to say then that is amazing!
Despite a reasonably straightforward pregnancy, Ivy, a very special blessing, was born prematurely at 32 weeks due to reduced foetal movements and pre-eclampsia. When she was born, her umbilical cord was coiled from top to bottom and I was told that if she had of been born even an hour later there could’ve been a very different outcome. I had gone to the maternity ward at the hospital for monitoring due to reduced foetal movements and had an abnormal ultrasound in which no limb movements were detected. Consequently, this resulted in myself requiring an emergency caesarean under a general anaesthetic due to the urgency of the situation. Absolutely nothing could’ve prepared me for the events that were to unfold on the day that Ivy was born and I’m still coming to terms with my traumatic birth experience and adjusting to becoming a mother to this day.
I first met Ivy 12 hours after she was born and for the next 34 days whilst Ivy was a patient in the Special Care Nursery, I was in pure survival mode and found the experience to be completely bewildering and overwhelming. During her time in the Special Care Nursery, Ivy continued to exceed all expectations however, I constantly felt like I was grieving. I felt guilty and saddened that she was born prematurely and that I didn’t get the birth experience that I’d hoped for. However, then I would feel guilty and miserable for feeling this way as I was of course extremely grateful that I had a healthy, thriving baby despite being born prematurely and under such circumstances. I was constantly wanting and wishing to be able to change the events that had occurred, to be able to go back, and make our story and my journey of becoming a Mum unfold in a completely different way. I had been too busy surviving and getting through each day in hospital that it wasn’t until a couple of months after Ivy had made her quick entrance into the world and we were now at home as a family that I was beginning to feel the true weight of our turbulent journey and face head on the challenges of adjusting to becoming a Mum for the first time.
Personally, becoming a Mum for me, despite experiencing such a roller-coaster of emotions, has overall truly been such a wonderful and rewarding experience. At times it has been an enormous challenge and completely and utterly exhausting. It is full of complex emotions of love, happiness, exhaustion and constant worry. It truly is a lived experience and it is hard work! One of the most challenging aspects that I have found is accepting that your identity literally changes over night. Your life becomes so different to how it was before having a baby. You and your partner have much less, if any time together anymore as a couple, there is absolutely no such thing as personal space, showering and drinking hot cups of coffee become extremely rare occurrences, you may not see or talk to your friends as much and some days you might feel as though you don't have any type of life outside your home. However, I have come to realise that to Ivy I am absolutely everything that she needs. I am enough and I am the most important thing in her entire world right now.
The feeling of having the exact same routine each day – literally keeping a baby alive, preparing meals, doing dishes, the never ending laundry, cleaning up mess and toys, not being able to shower let alone go to the toilet alone, only to turn around to see the house looking the same again the next day can be completely relentless. It can also be extremely isolating being at home all day with a baby who constantly cries, won’t sleep and/or only wants to be held in your arms – making it very difficult to do anything at all and leave the house. There have been days when I personally have felt like I’ve literally been drowning under the weight of everything - the overwhelming love, the huge responsibility, and the major life changes that I could never, ever have prepared for. However, little by little, I’ve found my feet and if you’re reading this and are experiencing similar feelings you will find your feet soon enough too. Just remember, as your baby is growing, developing and learning every single day, so are us Mum’s.
Over the last year, I have experienced emotions that I never have before. I found myself in a very dark place, full of anxiety, stress and depressed. I was not enjoying being a Mum at all. I made the decision to deal with my heavy emotions so I could be the best Mum to Ivy and wife to my husband Jamie that I could be. I have had several sessions with a psychologist, psychiatrist and am currently taking antidepressant medication. Speaking about my experiences has helped me tremendously to heal. I still have my days as we all do however, am in a much better place emotionally and physically than I ever have been before. There are not many who know the depths of my experiences over the last year and that is honestly because I have felt extremely ashamed of how I’ve felt. However, the more that I have and do open up, the more I realise that there are so many Mum’s out there who have experienced similar experiences or felt exactly how I have.
If you take one thing away from reading this, please know that you're no less of a Mum if you struggle, aren't coping or feel lonely and you're definitely no less of a Mum if you need help. I have realised that my feelings are valid and the only way to work through them is to accept that. Loving your baby does not have to mean that you enjoy every moment of being a Mum and your feelings are always valid. Us Mum’s are all just doing the best we can. I'm so grateful for my family and how far we've come over the past year - I’m very content and am enjoying being a Mum now more than ever. To every single Mum out there reading this, you are doing an absolutely amazing job. We have the hardest, yet best job in the whole entire world!