The moment I discovered I was up the duff, I totally embraced my pregnancy, taking on the challenge of growing a baby as if I was an Olympic athlete. I ordered books (I highly recommend The Gentle Birth Method by Doctor Gowri Motha), cut out gluten and sugar (it apparently helps eliminate any swelling), exercised, had my husband – much to his delight – give me thrice-weekly olive-oil belly massages and attended a four week hypno-birthing course.
All efforts were made to grow a beautiful, healthy baby while keeping my body in tip-top condition and, most importantly, have a smooth, natural birth. And it paid off. Ten months later my daughter arrived in the world via a dimly-lit water birth pool at a bouncing 7lb 7oz, with no drugs in sight and a body that recuperated quickly. That’s 10 months of training for the birth compared to zero months preparing for what is possibly the most life-changing role I will ever take on. So on my very first Mother’s Day, here’s my personal experience of what becoming a mother is all about…
You will feel like you’ve been smacked in the face with love the moment you see your baby’s little face. What you thought was love doesn’t come close to the all-encompassing, dizzying, belly-flipping, heart-bursting emotions you will now experience.
It’s hard to admit, but you will love your baby more than your husband.
You will stare at your baby’s face for hours every day. Forget about Instagram – look at my baby’s Cupid’s bow!
One tiny smile from your little cherub will erase the worst of days/ sleepless nights/ projectile vomit on your silk Chloé blouse.
You heard the rumours about postnatal hormones but you didn’t realise that for the first week post-birth you would cry every day on the dot at 7pm.
You now see your own mother in an entirely new light. She really did all this? For me?
Every mother you now see is superwoman and every mum of twins is superhuman.
Last night’s pizza constitutes breakfast and five chocolate Hobnobs equals lunch. Gluten-free what?
Twenty minutes late is the new early.
For 32 years you’ve massively underestimated what you could achieve in a two-hour period. But at the same time it can take three attempts and four hours to leave the house.
When you leave the hospital after giving birth you will look five-months pregnant and you won’t care one iota. If there's one time you can allow yourself to embrace a wobbly bum and flabby tummy hanging over your PJ bottoms it’s now.
The myriad of pregnancy symptoms don’t stop at birth. Your body assumes a whole host of new ailments, from bumpy skin on arms and legs to night sweats and more.
You’re clinging on for dear life to your pre-motherhood identity while trying to navigate a whole new persona.
You’ll be surprised how quickly your mama instincts kick in – who knew you could soothe a purple-faced crying baby in 20 seconds flat?
If there was one word to describe a day looking after a baby, it would be relentless. But it’s also joyous.
Your iPhone memory will be backed up with videos and photos before your baby is one week old.
Typing a column with a 4.5kg baby clinging to your shoulder like a tree frog is no mean feat.
It doesn’t matter how many books you read, courses you attended, stories you were told – nothing will ever prepare you for the overwhelming, beautiful, challenging new role of becoming a mother.