Having a baby was not a decision that we took lightly. It was literally years of discussing the idea, weighing out the good and the bad points. Deciding when was the right time and then ultimately beginning the process of trying.
My husband and I have been together for 17 years. We were high school sweethearts and so we had a long time to make up our minds about having children. We started trying in our early 20’s. It didn’t happen.
We tried over and over again, reading all the books, buying the ovulation kits, visiting the doctor. You name it, we done it. We were successful on a few occasions getting that little line on the stick to appear but unfortunately none of them stuck.
I was plagued with “women’s troubles” from a young age and so was under no illusions that it would be a difficult journey, however I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was. After two clear cut miscarriages and another 2 suspected ones later, we fell pregnant. We had honestly given up hope that it would ever happen for us, but it did. It didn’t however go quite as we had planned and our son was born very ill and very prematurely.
My boy spent 4 and a half months in hospital, growing from the tiny 1lb 9oz scoot that he was born as, to a healthy 8lbs 3oz when we left. It was a roller-coaster ride, and even more so when we got home.
Much like when we were trying to get pregnant, I had read ALL the pregnancy books. I bought the most expensive nappies and wipes available. Had all of the white and pale blue designer baby clothes washed, ironed and hanging beautifully in his nursery, which was fully decorated and already had a library’s worth of classic books housed neatly on the shelves. I had bought and prepped all of the pots and containers for making my own pureed food and I had planned every step of the weaning process and how I was going to tackle it.
Almost all of my planning and forethought was a complete waste of time. My son, having been a preemie had very sensitive skin, too sensitive for those expensive nappies and wipes I had purchased. His designer clothes ended up covered in vomit and poo stains. His nursery, albeit beautiful, wasn’t used for the first year of his life at home as he slept in his crib next to me every night. Those beautiful and expensive books I bought are now dust collectors, as he has very little interest in books due to his ASD. And those dinky little pots and containers I had bought for all the steaming and pureeing my own baby food, were thrown out when I realised that my ASD son was not only a VERY fussy eater but had several food aversions and food allergies too.
I bet you’re wondering what my point is?
Well it’s this… Give yourself a break!
Having a baby is the most wonderful, thrilling and heart wrenching time of your life. We build it up so much in our heads that it gets completely mind boggling. What they’re going to look like, when they’re going to speak for the first time, when they’ll take their first steps.
Then there’s the worries. How am I going to afford a baby, what if I can’t buy them those designer clothes, whats the best pram on the market, what if they don’t reach their milestones.
I may be a mummy to just my little boy, but he was my rainbow baby and so I believe I am a mummy to 2 other unborn angels. As well as this I have an enormous family and have been surrounded by babies my entire life. It doesn’t make it easier. Whether it’s your first time or you already have a team of tiny humans that scream mum at the top of their lungs… ITS HARD!
My boy is 2 and because of his condition, he has a very simple and structured lifestyle that my husband and I keep to. He eats pretty much the same breakfast every morning after his medication (porridge with fruit) and then its time to get dressed for the day.
After that he’ll play on his own for a few hours – which basically means he runs around the livingroom pulling everything out of it’s place.
He has lunch, if he’s in a good enough mood not to refuse it and then goes back to playing. When his daddy comes home from work at 5.30pm we have dinner together and then it’s bath time.
This is followed by some cuddling on the couch before he gets dried and has his skin moisturised. We’ve recently added Vicks BabyRub into the mix before bed. Matthew has trouble getting to sleep at night and this product is not only moisturising but is a soothing comfort for babies. It contains extract of Aloe Vera and fragrances of Rosemary & Lavender, all soothing scents. We use it on his chest and tummy and it definitely makes a difference. Matthew goes off to bed much more relaxed and ready for sleep.
By the time the bedtime routine is done and over with my hubby and I are exhausted. We, as parents run ourselves ragged all the time… making sure every single detail in our child’s’ life is perfect when in actual fact their needs are so very basic.
So here’s what’s important… And by important I mean this is all that your baby needs.
- love – kisses, cuddles, singing them nursery rhymes… you name it, just lots of it.
- clean/ warm clothing – even if that’s hand-me-downs from family members.
- food – whether that’s a boob or a bottle – FED IS BEST.
- a regular wash – in the bath or in the kitchen sink followed by a good moisturiser for their delicate little skin – we use Vicks BabyRub for Matthews chest & tummy and Epaderm for the rest of his body.
- a roof over their head.
- a registered GP – for when those snotty noses and high temperatures need more than Calpol.
That’s it. Everything else is just a bonus. When it comes down to it, all your baby really needs is your love, and if you love your child you will make sure they get everything else that they need.
I hope that any new first time mums reading this can take some assurances from what I’ve shared in this post. You can only do your best… And 99% of the time your best will always be good enough. I wish I was able to go back in time and tell myself the same thing… But alas, all I can do is learn from it and move on, making sure to give myself a break every now, pat myself on the back and remind myself that I’m doing the best I can…
And so are you!
Well done mamas!!!
*This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.