Well Cameron is a day shy of 7 weeks old and curled up in my wrap sling asleep after a fussy morning. He’s so perfect and I can see his little chubby hands clasped together that he’s rested his head on.
Being a Mum is amazing. Having Cameron exceeds every expectation that I had. I’ve never known a love this fierce or felt anywhere near as protective as I do. I’ve never been able to stare at someone like I do to him & I swear my smiles are bigger & the world is brighter.
That being said, motherhood can be very challenging – particularly with regards to the choices you make or are forced to make.
Whether you like it or not, you have expectations regarding parenting from the moment you fall pregnant. You know that it may not happen the way you want it to but I know I still thought deep down that it would.
I expected to have a complication-free, natural, vaginal birth with no pain relief. I also expected a short labour because of my family history. But what I got was a (beautiful) 18 hour labour and (vaginal) birth, with pethadine and gas and merconium in my waters.
I expected to bond immediately and have that perfect snuggly newborn stage with no worries. However, what I experienced was PND and anxiety attacks which affected my interaction with him (particularly at nights) for the first three weeks of Cam’s life.
I expected to breastfeed – I breastfed for the first week, formula fed for 20 days then relactated and now (for various reasons) I exclusively pump and feed Cammy bottles of my expressed breastmilk (I hope to do this for a very long time – but who knows).
Now this is not to say that I’m unhappy with any of this but just that it is amazing how life pans out and you truly cannot plan for it. I wouldn’t change a thing because it has made me the Mum that I am now – the person I am now.
You really have to mother how you want to mother and try to minimise guilt. I feel guilty that I have PND/anxiety, that I formula fed for the 20 days that I did, and that I can’t breastfed from the breast (although he comfort suckles at the breast and gets my milk via bottles). But that’s my journey.
My baby is a breastfed (via bottles) baby, who wears cloth nappies, who is worn a lot in slings, who co-sleeps and will never cry himself to sleep.
THAT doesn’t make me a great Mum. What makes me a great Mum (and all other mothers who do a variety of things) is that I chose to do those things with his best interests in place, I create a safe and happy environment for him and love him with all I have. The rest is irrelevant. So long as your baby is safe and developing happily then you’re doing a great job.
It’s so hard to have PND because you’re your own worst enemy AND you have to deal with everyday mother-guilt. I think every Mum judges themselves though. Just know that how you parent your baby (within reason obviously, LOL) doesn’t determine your ability to mother.
– I’m hoping to update my video blog soon. Taking the footage isn’t hard it’s the editing/uploading/etc that is the difficult so I don’t know when I’ll have one up 🙂