Becoming a new mum is often the biggest change in a woman's life.
This week we warmly welcome the beautiful Daniela, new mum to a gorgeous baby girl, on our blog! Each woman will have their own unique experience of becoming a new mum, and we have asked Daniela to share hers. Read her personal journey as she shares what she has learned about herself and becoming a mum a long the way.
Thanks so much to Daniela for being brave and sharing her story, as well as for being so open and honest. We are sure a lot of women will learn from her experience!
The beginnings are always hard...
I was not utterly unprepared for what was to come. In the lead up to the birth, I refused to read too much into becoming a new mum so I wasn’t overwhelmed with information. I had a lot of colleagues and friends with small children and I really tried to listen to what they were saying.
As a close friend to some of the mummies, I have also experienced my friends suffering from lack of sleep, struggling with breastfeeding and I saw their bodies changing slowly to its previous form.
They say that the last month of the pregnancy makes it so hard to let you look forward to the birth. That was definitely the case for me! As much as I loved the baby inside and its kicks, I could not wait to get rid of the huge belly (I couldn't walk more than ten metres without an urge to pee). The last weeks my body got so swollen, I couldn't even really sleep either, so it was safe to say that I was not afraid of the birth anymore!
What never crossed my mind was that the birth is not the final achievement, but just a very painful beginning of the new phase. I knew when the baby was born that I won’t be able to sleep. I thought - I have done that before – can’t be so hard! But once I was in the hospital, hurting, bleeding and with my breast swelling and hurting, I realized that it's not my old me which has to cope with the new situation, but a damaged version of myself. When a nurse told me that I will now have to breastfeed every time my baby demands, which can also be every hour, I wanted to cry.
The first week after the birth I really had enough troubles coping with myself and all the pain I felt constantly, to be able to enjoy the baby properly. I knew I would prefer to deal with the situation on my own, just with my husband. So, I let the people know that I don't want any visitors.
It's now been a couple of months and I can still see some traces of my pregnancy on my body. In my pregnancy, I put on 12 kg and 8 I lost almost immediately after the birth. The rest is still there and seems to be fully concentrated on my belly. Seeing all the instagram models or the dutches from Cambridge being in their normal shape in just about a week is difficult. But it really helped me to surround myself with real mothers who are facing the same problems and whose weight stagnates just as mine and talk about that openly. It took me a month to be able to put on my wedding ring again and another month to fit into my shoes (and I realize I'm still a lucky one). There is a skin hanging on my belly, which was not there before and my breast is still painful and swollen. I'm trying to take it easy. I've read somewhere that the body was preparing for the birth for 9 month and therefore one can't expect the recovery to take just a week. I have been doing a lot of sports before the birth and I kept jogging until 7th month of the pregnancy which I thought helped me.
It is so embarrassing...
I remember packing for the hospital when my friend sent me a youtube video with an experienced mother packing for her hospital stay. The woman was packing three sexy sets of pyjamas in matching colours so that she can wear them in all possible combinations, sexy underwear and a make-up bag to be ready for the visitors and the first picture with the baby. I looked at my very functional pile of clothes and decided to at least arrive to the hospital in a nice dress. But as they say, plans often go astray… on the day of my labor, it got very cold and my labor happened to be a rather fast one. After a shower, I found myself standing naked in the bathroom unable to move because of the pain I felt. I had to ask my husband to dress me up completely, so I arrived to the hospital in an old stained T-shirt, my high school hoodie without any makeup and sweating like crazy. Sometimes between the pain I realised the way I looked, but I didn't have strength to do anything with it. May the moment be remembered forever thanks to the photos my husband took me!
Everybody has an opinion...
The same as in the pregnancy, like how some people touch your belly without asking (nobody touches my fat belly now), after the birth, I got so much unrequested advice from all possible views. Attending yoga class, I get reminded to visit a doctor to do something with a shape of my baby's head. Among colleagues I get told not to fuss with breastfeeding at all, then am told the opposite advice from other friends who breastfead till their child until it was five. The effect only increases if you have some of these friends in your bubble on social media.
It's still me...
It proved very difficult to keep up with my childless friends. I knew, it would be difficult but hey - it's not impossible! I'm really thankful to all my friends who still want to see me with or without my baby. It's actually very nice to leave my baby sometimes with its dad and be able to talk in full sentences.
Yes, I have a baby now who I need to think of first and maybe some of my features or opinions I didn't share before have come to light. But I'm not a completely different person. I would still like to keep a part of my past life. I believe children are just borrowed to us and one should still have a life if she wants to.
And then it all gets worth it...
It was one beautiful morning, when my baby girl smiled at me for the first time. And then again and again and again. It's a wonderful feeling when I see that she trusts me and she lightens up when I enter the room. I didn't all of sudden forgot all the tough nights we spent together walking for hours around the flat to help her fall asleep, but they didn't matter anymore. I know there are still hard days ahead of us, but I would do anything for my beautiful girl.