Every day I wake up and look at little Farah and pinch myself. I am in awe at how wonderful she is, her presence has brought me a new lease of life. A newfound being and little does she know a VIP into the most exclusive club ever, The Mommy Club. It's been 9 months since my glorious human entered this world, here are the 10 things giving birth has taught me so far.
Your birth will not be the same as everyone else’s.
During my pregnancy, if you’d have asked me if I was scared about giving birth I would have told you straight up, no! Heck, that was a big fat lie. On the outside, I was as calm as ever but on the inside, I was totally having a breakdown! One Born Every Minute episodes, antenatal class after antenatal class, Google image/Pinterest searches of post-baby bodies and birth story after story, I was convinced giving birth was going to be the most traumatic experience of my life. Fast forward to my due date and I had literally memorized Farah’s eviction notice, she wasn’t ready to leave! Long story short, I delivered at 40+3. I had a very small show the night before and was booked in for a sweep that morning. THE SWEEP WAS AWFUL!!!!!!!!! After the sweep I literally felt ‘a bit weird’, the doctor had told me I was 5 cm but it was lunch time and I was due my daily walk and salad from Wasabi so I went home. I was timing what I believed to be contractions (mild ones!) on a baby app I had. The app was literally telling me they were 2 minutes apart so I thought it would be time to, as they say…'Call the Midwife'. I went in and I was only 3 cm, I did some walking, window shopping, more eating and finally decided I wanted to go home at 9 pm. Fast forward again, but this time to 1.45 am on Friday 7th April, we arrived at the MLU (Midwife Lead Unit (I was low risk)). My waters hadn’t broken, I was 5 cm and although I was in pain, I was dealing with it. One hour and a half later and a lifetime of Gas & Air baby Farah was born at 315 am. Was it as bad as I thought? Hell No! Anyone that asks me what it was like my simple reply is “If I could, I would give birth every day!”.
Breastfeeding isn’t easy.
Unfortunately, I missed the breastfeeding part of my antenatal classes so when Farah was born I was literally winging it! On the TV shows and in the books they say ‘…as soon as the baby is born to start feeding; this helps deliver the placenta’…apparently. I say apparently as I am not 100% sure of the facts but I do know that it does contract your stomach muscles, thus probably helping with the delivery of the placenta. My first few days of feeding were so painful! It was such a new experience for me and it felt so weird! It took me the end of the first month to finally get used to it. That’s when I first got mastitis! FML, I was literally sobbing my heart out in the shower running hot water on my swollen right boob. Being the lover of YouTube that I am I searched for things like ‘How to get rid of Mastitis’ and ‘The worst kinds of Mastitis’. From what I saw I didn't have it that bad but trust me it was enough. I had several cases of blocked milk ducts, moments where I did all-nighters because the health visitor told me Farah was underweight and needed more feeds and, moments where I had pumped so much my nipples basically looked like antennas. But let’s face it, its all for a good cause; the best cause. They say breast milk is the best and only food baby needs for the first 6 months of life. It’s not for everyone and I know some lovely ladies are either unable to breastfeed or simply choose not to. I breastfed for 6 months straight and I am so glad I did, not only for the experience but for the sheer fact that Farah has CMA (Cows Milk Allergy) and we only found at when we tried to give her formula (Aptamil). Had I found out any earlier I think I would have been an emotional wreck!
Not everyone ‘Snaps Back’.
Since losing 40 kgs at the age of 21 I have been obsessed with my weight. The thought of gaining any weight seriously mortified me. When the doctor told me that I might gain up to 10 kg during pregnancy I gasped but thought OK, I can do this. I tried to follow all the celebs by working out, eating sensibly, getting enough rest, blah blah blah. Honestly, that lasted for 3 days. I was working full time; doing 12 hours days, sleep was nonexistent and I ate everything I could see! As soon as I gave birth I whipped my XXL (I know! I was once a Small!!!!) waist trainer out and squeezed my jiggle in. It killed me. I was pushing my body to the limit and I was ignoring all its attempts to say no. 9 months later and I am nowhere near my original pre-baby weight. Some days it bothers me, some days it doesn’t. My mission now is to make a sizable dent in my weight and at least shed a few pounds by Farah’s first birthday in April.
Baby stuff is so expensive.
I think when you're pregnant you expect to dig deep into your pockets and spend a fortune. I didn’t start shopping for anything until I was at least 6 months pregnant. Purely because I was so scared something would go wrong I didn’t want to jinx anything. As soon as that fear started to settle my purse practically yelled at me every time we went near a mall or a baby shop. Before I gave birth, I had convinced myself that I had everything I needed. As soon as Farah arrived I realized I barely had what I needed. Firstly, Farah was ‘small’. 6 lb 13 oz to be exact. All her 0-3 clothes were massive, newborn swamped her so we had to rush out and buy tiny baby clothes. By the time she had reached 6 months, she had just started to fit her 0-3 clothes. In that space of time I had spent a near fortune on nappies, nappy cream, water wipes (OMG these are a killer, but amazing!), breast milk pouches, nappy sacks, baby grows, sleep-suits, scratch mitts and more!
Sleep is definitely a thing of the past.
I must admit, I feel very fortunate with Farah. From about 6 months she has near enough sept straight through the night. I don’t know if this is because we switched from Breastmilk to Formula or because we co-sleep. Either way, she is a very good sleeper. With that said, I often find myself needing and wanting more sleep. Earlier on, Farah would wake up at 12 am, 3 am, and 6 am for her feeds. Now I’m back at work (9 am to 6 pm!), Farah tends to want to play her life away until 11 pm. When she is finally asleep I find myself catching up on my daily dose of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat and Daily Mail. I’m finally probably dozing off at about 1-1.30am and if it’s not for waking up with a foot, hand or butt on my face I probably would never get up for work!
Preparing Baby Food takes a long time.
Due to Farah’s CMA, I told myself I would make all her baby meals from scratch. I blame Pinterest for inspiring me, all the other moms make it look so easy! My first attempt was pureeing every vegetable I could find in the supermarket. Cue the death by boiling of Miss. Sweet Potato, Mr. Beetroot, Mrs. Carrot and Mr. Pumpkin. My first attempt almost turned into a disaster when I turned the blender on without the lid! *Schoolgirl error* I made enough to feed a small army and then I realized I needed more ice cube trays…honestly, like WTF! Before I knew it I had spent 4 hours cooking and trying to find space in the freezer.
I now like to think I am somewhat of a professional when it comes to Farah’s meals. Gone are the 4 hours puree days and I can now share my meals with her as long as there is no dairy or egg. Her current favorite is Pasta with Chicken, Red Kidney Beans and Tomato. Let me know If you want the recipe is so simple but she loves it!
Teething involves a lot of biting!
Farah started teething at about 3 months. I didn’t know it was teething at the time, I just thought she dribbled a lot. By her 5th month, she was literally biting everything! My fingers, my cheeks, and her teething rings had all taken a good beating. Then one morning 2 teeth had randomly popped up at the bottom out of nowhere. There were no tears or tantrums just teeth. Those lovely little pegs weren’t ready to be alone and by her 7th month, Farah started to bite more. Carrots and Celery were a dream for this and again, out of nowhere 4, yes 4 teeth popped out at the top! I am currently going through an endless amount of bibs and Farah’s cheeks are all red and rashy…I can’t wait until all her teeth are out.
Doing your hair is a luxury.
For the first 4 months after birth, I had my hair in a protective weave style. And to this day I thank God for it because the effort it takes to do my hair now if so draining. Since then If I am not going to work I very much proudly own the bed head look. This look serves me all weekend where this and my ‘I’m a tired mom’ face tries to act like I have my sh@t together.
Being on time is a thing of the past.
Was I ever on time? Erm, unless it was for work I was probably late going anywhere else. I genuinely thought it would be quite easy to go places with a baby considering most of the time when Farah was first born she slept. Ha, I was so wrong! Anytime I even thought about going out all hell broke loose. The first deliberation was, who baths first, me or Farah? Honestly, it seems so simple but I had to consider the fact that if I got dressed first she could vomit, poop or pee on me or worse the shear stress would make me sweat like hell. Then it would be what do we wear? Will she be warm enough? Will she be too hot? Does she need shoes? Yes, madness. Then, what do I wear? Will my breast pads show through this? Will I be able to feed in public in this? Do I still look pregnant in this? Do I look like I’ve lost weight in this? Heck, is this even clean?! Yes, again madness! If you think I sound mad then I salute you as you are far more organized than me. Once Farah was washed, dressed and screaming the house down I would put her in the pram carrycot and jump in the shower. It sounds bizarre but this is literally the only thing that would calm her. I am convinced she knew we were going out and showering with the door open for some reason calmed her down. So, that’s both of us ready but we couldn’t leave! Why, because I still needed to pack her bag. More questions: do I have enough nappies? Do I have enough wipes? How many changes of clothes do I need for Farah? How many changes of clothes do I need for myself? I won’t continue as I’m sure you can see where this is going. All in all, it used to take me 3 hours to leave the house. Now, I can do it in about 1.5 hours!
It’s all worth it.
Despite all the projectile poop, projectile vomit, booger sucking, sleepless nights and doctors’ visits I can honestly say having Farah is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. Life changed drastically when I found out I was pregnant, my pregnancy wasn’t the easiest, however, in the end, I have a beautiful little warrior who has inspired me endlessly. If it wasn’t for Farah I think I would still be dreaming about starting my own line, dreaming about building a brand and putting myself out there for criticism. But in the end, you have to start somewhere, and her innocence proves that. Every day, I look at her and she has this look in her eye, a look of hope, joy, questions. I imagine what she is thinking, ‘What will we do today?’, ‘Where will we go today?’, What are we going to do now?’…these thoughts tell me that she trusts me. Trusts me to do whatever it takes to make sure that her world is the best world.