The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Giving birth to JJ was a bit like being born again myself. Everything after he was born was a new first, there was the first drive home, the first night at home, the first bath, the first walk, the first projectile vomit and so on. The first night at home with JJ was something else. I don’t think that I got much sleep at all, constantly having to check that he was breathing and that everything was okay. I got up every 3 hours or more to feed him. James was great at getting up with me, he would edit photographs on the desktop at the livingroom table and I would sit in the sofa breastfeeding JJ (there was no nursery yet). I remember that I used to be up around 4 in the morning and 90201 used to be on TV, followed by Charmed- more than once I nodded of in the sofa feeding him, but luckily James kept at eye on me. I thought that I was tired during the pregnancy, but nothing could be compared to this!
The first days as a mamma were so full of new experiences and emotions, it was a lot to take in. Friends and family were very keen to come and see JJ. We decided to take it very slow with guests, mainly because we wanted to get to know our son and not be disturbed too much. Also because I was recovering and honestly did not feel like having too many people around. I am the type of person who wants to be able to entertain and take good care of guests, but I just did not have the extra energy for that those first days. Also, I just was not very keen on others holding our baby! I remember feeling like that very soon after JJ was born, I thought that it would fade quickly. It actually lasted the first few months and to be honest, I am still careful. I loved seeing JJ with his daddy and did not mind my parents helping us out, holding him and cuddling him, but anyone else I watched closely. Now you might think that this sounds like the beginning to becoming an overprotective mother, but try to see it through the eyes of a first time mother. Do you know of any other species who just lets others hold, touch and put their scent all over the new baby? I reasoned with biological science in this case. I did bring the subject up with the health visitor when she came to see me; she was lovely and put my mind at ease completely. I was simply adjusting to being a mother and this was a motherly instinct kicking in.
As a first time mamma it was not always easy to speak my mind at the beginning. I remember having a good conversation about this with my mother, telling her that I did not want to upset others when they wanted to hold JJ, change him and so on. I remember her telling me, that JJ was my son, he was not a pet or a stuffed animal, he was a human being, who I was responsible for. This might not sound like the most lovely of conversations, but it made perfect sense to me. From then on I had the courage to tell people to support his head a bit better, to put the nappy on less tight and so on.
The recovery from the birth was quite a lengthy process. During the birth I got a second degree tear. The midwifes chose not to give me stitches, I don’t know if stitches would have made the recovery easier or not. It took me 5 days after the before I could go to the bathroom for a well, number two! Everything below was just so sore. Having waited that long was not good either and after a few days I got prescribed laxatives which I wish that I had actually taken as soon as I got home from the hospital. You live and you learn I guess! My best advice for anyone who has a tear and finds going to the bath room to sore is to keep a bottle of water next to the toilet. Pour the water over you as you pee, I promise you this will dialute the urine and make it less sore. I can’t remember who told me to do this, but whoever it was – thank you!
Now after having mentioned a few of the aftermaths of giving birth and beginning my life as a mother I want to tell you about the good as well.
You don’t know true love until you become a parent. This might sound cliche, but I believe that it is true. When JJ was born it felt like my heart grew a size or two, I know that this is not physically possible, but emotionally it surely is. Those first days the feeling of love for this little boy just grew and grew, and to this day they still grow. I have always known that I wanted to be a mother and somehow I think that everything in my life up until now had been a step in preparing me to become one. From the beginning I have felt confident that me and James were doing a good job, JJ was very content, growing and sleeping like he should.
Some of my favorite moments with JJ those first days was nursing him and him falling asleep in my arms. I remember feeling him breathing on my chest, stroking his cheeks, kissing his tiny nose and inhaling his new baby scent. I am also guilty of sometimes taking him out of his bed just to give him a cuddle, because I had not given him one for two whole hours!
I am proud of several of my achievements in life, but none of them make me prouder than being a mother. I honestly believe that my two James’ are the best things that ever happened to me. During those first days as a mamma an enormous feeling of proudness started growing inside me. I had done it, I had given birth to this beautiful and perfect little boy! Everytime I looked at JJ I was just so proud that he was mine, that I got to be his mamma. I remember taking him for the first walk, it felt a bit like walking around with a trophy. Going out for the first coffee date with James and JJ, I remember thinking that if I was someone else and saw those people with that cute baby, then I would have liked to be them. This feeling of proudness is still with me and I consider myself so lucky to be living a life that I absolutely love!
The aftermath of birth only lasted a limited time, the crazy hormones calmed down after a while and eventually I was back to my own physical self (actually in an even better shape than before!). Emotionally I will never be the same, I am still so full of constantly growing love and proudness. I have feelings now that I did not have before and they are gently shaping the mother in me.