If you’ve ever Googled “can you die of sleep deprivation?” at 4 am, you want to read this interview.
Can you tell us about your birth experience?
Well to be honest it was rather horrendous. I naively went into it thinking I would have a water birth and try hypno-birthing for pain relief. after all I thought, I had a high pain threshold and how bad could it really be if the human race is still thriving with most women happily having had more than one child? Don’t get me wrong I thought it would hurt but I wasn’t really prepared for just how badly it would hurt or how crap I would feel afterwards.
To start, I went overdue which was rather depressing but apparently quite normal. For your information – curry and pineapple juice to induce labour do not work but feel free to try them if you’re overdue and it makes you feel better! My contractions started on a Wednesday night at ten o’clock, they were coming every 5-10 minutes at first and didn’t end until my baby boy arrived sixty-two hours later. Yes I did say, 62 hours. It was NOT like mild period pain either, it was sixty-two hours of agonizing contractions.
I’m sorry if I scare anyone with my experience. Every birth is different and it’s important to know that if your birth doesn’t go like the ones you see on the TV then you are NOT a failure.
The next day I felt like crap but decided I was being a hypochondriac. After all Kate Middleton was walking down the steps of St. Mary’s hospital in her four inch heels, without a single hair out of place only twelve hours after giving birth to Princess Charlotte! So I started to try and stand up and tidy our hospital room but the doctor came in and told me to lay down. Apparently I wasn’t being a hypochondriac and did actually require a blood transfusion. After three nights I was finally out of hospital, I so envy the women who have fast labours in the birth pool.
How do you feel about sharing and giving parenting advice?
I’ll give advice if someone asks for it or if I find out something really cool. For example, the other day I found out that the Maxi Cosi car seat handle folds right back to make the car seat into an upright seat which is great when visiting other people’s houses. That is revolutionary information for me and I will happily offer it right up to other parents! However I won’t offer advice on more serious things – like sleeping patterns and feeding, if it’s not asked for. Everyone has to find their own way of doing things and no one thanks an interfering busy body. Generally speaking, if your child is happy and healthy there aren’t really any right or wrong ways of doing something.
Whats the worst parenting advice you’ve ever been given?
When I’m exhausted from having been up all night the last thing I want to hear from anyone is “sleep when the baby sleeps”. Aaarrgghhh!!! Don’t you realise that if I were able to do that, then the baby wouldn’t have any clean bottles or clothes and there would be no nappies or milk in the house? What’s more, when would I eat? It really is the most ridiculous advice ever.
Pre-motherhood, where would we most likely find you?
At work. I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking forward to maternity leave since before I was pregnant!
If you have a baby free day/evening what do you like to do?
I haven’t had a child free day/evening that hasn’t required me to be somewhere for somebody else yet. So if I were to have a free day/evening I would probably have some quality me time. I have kept a diary since I was nine years old and played the piano since I was a teenager. So I’d probably spend the day writing and playing the piano, which I haven’t had the chance to do since the baby arrived.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a Mother?
Motherhood in itself is a massive challenge, I certainly have not found it easy! Firstly there’s the feeling of failure when anything you wanted to work out, doesn’t. Like breastfeeding for example. Then there are the sleepless nights which are so much harder than I ever imagined. I remember googling “can you die of sleep deprivation?” at about 4am one morning. For the first few weeks I would tell people how I felt and they would say “oh but it’s all worth it though isn’t it” and I would be thinking “well no actually, I don’t think it is”.
It does however get a LOT easier when you start getting more sleep and I can now happily report all the crappy times have definitely been worth it. There’s nothing greater in the world than seeing your baby smile at you.
What kind of Mum did you think you would be?
The kind that sets a good example, is firm but fair and is always available, whether that be for cuddles, chats, bedtime stories or lifts home in the middle of the night.
Did you turn out to be that kind or completely different?
The proof will be in the type of person my baby grows to be. If he grows to be a good, decent human being who works hard, helps others and is happy in himself then I will know I was the type of Mum I wanted to be.
Where have you found the most support to be for first time mothers with new babies ?- family/ friends/ toddler groups etc?
A couple of my close friends have been a massive support in providing me with reassurance when times were very hard at the beginning. I am also a fan of online baby forums, such as BabyCentre, and Netmums , where you can chat to other mums about problems. It’s so important not to feel alone!
How will you be celebrating Mothers Day this year?
It’ll be my first Mother’s day so I’d quite like to do something special, maybe go out for a walk in the park and then out for a Sunday roast dinner with my husband and baby boy. I’ll also be visiting my Mum too, of course!