How do you learn to be a parent? Warning: just born baby pic.

I was going to write my birth story this week as I love reading others and thought it would be good to share. I didn’t.. Mainly because although it was an amazing experience and the most wonderful thing in the world happened as a result of it I don’t want to relive the birthing experience or scare my friends. Instead I will sum it up briefly before moving onto my actual topic ( how do you learn to be a parent).

So… my waters broke at home at 3pm September 15th just as we were about to go shopping and it was weird – anyone whose waters have broken will tell you that and totally not what I expected. After a quick visit from my lovely midwife I decided to pop to tescos to get some last minute bits ( she was 3 wks early I was unprepared) which was probably not my best idea.. But I got a tens machine which I don’t think I would have managed labour without even if I did scare the pharmacist by telling her my waters had broken.
By 12.30am I was at the hospital with contractions 2 minutes apart and by 9am Sept 16th the prettiest baby girl I’d ever seen was in my arms. It was not all plain sailing I was sick all through my labour which I kinda expected after 9 months of constant nausea and various other things but she arrived SAFELY and I was fine afterwards so that’s all that really matters.

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Fast forward 14 hours and I am on the ward finally alone with my little girl and this is when it starts to hit me.. I am in charge of the life of another person. Wow. Suddenly I realised I may have gone through the trauma of labour and the general horrors of pregnancy but I had no clue as to how to be a mother. Don’t get me wrong I read ALL the pregnancy/baby books, bought all the apps and even watched #oneborn religiously. I have younger siblings, nieces and nephews who I have babysat trillions of times but they all came with instructions clearly set out by their parents but now I was the parent and it scared me.
I sat on my bed with my baby who refused to breastfeed and wondered if I was already doing it all wrong. For those five LONG days and nights when Izzy refused to latch and I refused to admit defeat and go onto formula the thought that it was me that was stopping this natural thing from just happening nearly drove me insane. Looking back this was not helped by the fact that I was not allowed to go home and she refused to sleep in the hospital so I was the most sleep deprived I have ever been in my life. There were a million questions rolling around in my head like: how often do I change her nappy? When do I use nappy cream? What if I fall asleep when holding her? Will she ever sleep? Will I ever sleep again? HOW CAN I MAKE HER FEED? On the fifth day after lots of pumping, syringing milk into my babies mouth and convincing the nurses/doctors that I could keep this up at home Izzy gained weight! I was allowed to go home and that night she breastfed for the first time and pretty much didn’t stop for days. – I was so relieved.

Now 7 months later, I still have days when I feel like we are waiting for the real parents to turn up and quite often I just stop myself from calling my mother to ask what she thinks I should do – I still do it just not all the time. I’m learning, growing, becoming a mother myself and I’ve discovered I know what my baby wants and most times I know what to do or where to look for info if something goes wrong but who knows what new mums did before the Internet, twitter and baby centre existed. I have been very lucky in that I have a brilliant, supportive boyfriend who is so fabulous with our daughter and to have a great network of family and friends and I do wonder how other people cope when they don’t have such strong support as no matter what anyone else tells you parenting is the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done and I’ve done a skydive. 🙂 It is also the most fun, rewarding, happiest and emotional time I have ever experienced and I look forward to more and even at some time hope to have another baby so it can’t be too bad.

Sorry if that was one long ramble as I am fairly tired but once I started I couldn’t stop.

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