How becoming a mother has changed me forever

It’s almost mother’s day in the US and this has me reflecting on the great impact that mother’s day has had on my life. The person that I was when I found out I was pregnant, feels almost like a stranger to me. Being pregnant, giving birth and learning how to be a mother has been one of the most incredible, tough things I have ever done.

Here are some ways that becoming a mother has changed me forever.

 

I appreciate time so much more now

I find it so hilarious that one of the last posts I wrote on this blog was how I used a day on my holiday from work,to travel one and a half hours away from my house, one way, just to get food that was twenty five pence. In contrast to that life, where it kind of seems like I had a bit too much time, the other day I managed to go on a ten minute walk alone and it felt absolutely luxurious.

bloom blooming country countryside

The indulgent days of watching a whole series in one day, whist eating an abundance of junk food are well and truly over!As I look after my daughter full time, her schedule is now my schedule.She wakes up at 5am? So do I. She decides not to have her oh so sweet afternoon nap and instead run around the house? Me too. She is teething and wakes up 6 billion times a night? I am in there!

When I do happen to get time to myself I treasure it. Hold on tight to it and evaluate how best to use it.

I am so much more grateful for all of the awesomeness in my life

I feel like the sleep deprivation and lack of time to look after yourself, that goes with having a baby is like going through SAS training; it strips your life down to the bare minimum which means anything added is noticed and anything good is amplified.

sea people service uniform
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

When sleep deprivation becomes standard, having a nap feels luxurious. Having people in my life who get me with no effort and think about my needs before I even have a chance to is such a blessing. Even things that I ashamedly never used to pay attention to like being able to have a cup of tea or having a home with food now make me feel really grateful.

I do not do things that make me feel bad

Probably linked to now having less time, I now do not engage in activities or hang out with people who are good vibe suckers. When I had more time than trees have leaves, I would do things that would make me feel crappy. Yes it didn’t feel great but I had plenty of time to rid myself of the bad vibes later. Now that really isn’t the case. I have to be as emotionally intact and mentally sound as I can be to look after my daughter, so now engaging in things that do not feel wholesome and good is really not an option anymore.

I kind of wish I respected my self and my time before having A but I’m so thankful I got there eventually.

I am so much more confident

Honestly, the idea of giving birth terrified me so much, that I began having panic attacks whilst pregnant ( I’ll probably write another blog post about this). However, when it came to it, it was fine. It was bearable, I survived. Nothing bad happened and a part of me even actually enjoyed labour.

Having A forced me to face a challenge, when I used to be the kind of person who avoided anything that scared or pushed me too far. Giving birth was something I could not run away from regardless of how much I ruminated about it. My daughter was growing inside me and eventually she would 100% definitely need to come out.

Being forced to face this fear taught me how much life can be added to my life when I do the things that scare me.

Going through pregnancy and labour, also helped me to become aware of my body’s strength, abilities and power. My body was no longer something that annoyed me because it didn’t look or act how I wanted it to, when I wanted it to. My body became an amazing, super vessel which could look after me whilst also grow a whole, amazing, intelligent human being.

Now I feel like I had acted as though my body was a scrappy bit of paper, when in fact it was a multi million pound winning lottery ticket.

 

Have you found that you have changed since becoming a mother or doing something radical? If so, how?

This post was originally published on my other passion project, Cultural Magpie, check it out if you’re into travel, exciting things to do and commentary on all things culture.

I hope that you’re having a great week

Nat xx

Filter Free Mama, all rights reserved 2019

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#Mama Moments: Watching the rain

So today it was raining. I sat A on my lap by the glass porch doors and together we took in the weather, as though it was a captivating film. I loved watching her little face beam in awe as the drops slid down the panes of glass and splattered all over the patio tiles. I’ve always appreciated the simple things in life but having a baby has really helped me to see beauty in things that I stopped noticing a while ago.

#mamamoments

A Wake Up Call: Time to start teaching my own child

So this blog post has been in my drafts for 6 months without getting published. This meeting was a pivotal moment for me in how I see my role as a mother and how I interact with my daughter, so I’m going to dust it off and publish it. Lesson learned, I will try very hard to make sure blog posts do not just fester in Open Office.

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So today I had a bit of a wake up call. A and I were at baby group; she was crawling around, exploring some books and I got speaking to another mum. Her daughter,who was notably older than A, was an absolute angel and I couldn’t help but watch her in awe. She would play with toys calmly, walk carefully around all of the other sprawling children and lovingly pat my daughter.

She exuded intelligence, great manners and a well developed character. My teacher antenna, which is usually very accurate, calculated that she was around three years old so I was even more astounded to discover that she was not yet two.

I spoke to her mum to try to work out what the secret was.The- not- yet two year old prodigy had older siblings which tends to boost development, however there was something else there. I dug further; her mum worked in early years and used what she had learnt in her job with her daughter.

The pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit but this left me feeling disappointed in my self. I am a Primary School Teacher and have been so for almost seven years, most of my experience has been in the early years foundation stage. For some strange reason I did not think I could do much of the early years stuff I had learnt with A as I am used to teaching those who are at least three years old.

I told the super mum this, she looked me in the eyes and said with her East African twang ‘Do not undermine her, she can learn, just do things at her level’. Now thinking about it, it seems so obvious.

I did begin on the path of at least thinking of using my carefully cultivated teaching skills with A. I made sure I had a copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance for example but I never did anything with it beyond having a flick through and recalling my memories of all of the activities it helped me to plan.

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Meeting this little girl today changed all that. I am not going to try to make A one of those kids who goes to university at 10 years old, if that happens great (though I’m not sure if that life so young is so great for social development) but that is not my aim. However, meeting this girl and her mum has made me realise that I need to at least to try to use some of what I have learnt on my own child. Now I feel so silly that I overlooked purposefully using my teaching skills on my daughter. I am not going to make it seem like school, she is no where ready for that and when school comes she’ll have plenty of super structured learning in a pressured environment. However she is now interested in pens for example and pencils to grab them out of my hand as I write. I’ve let her dabble in mark making a little bit but the teacher side of me knows about resources and activities that can enhance her development even further so I will use it.

I have dabbled a bit in activities that have drawn on my teaching skills and knowledge but from now on I’m going to consciously do this.

I have now decided but every week I will focus on an area of development that A seems to be interested in or could do with developing. I will make the activities fun, easy going and in line with her interests. I feel like the ‘new mum, oh my god what am I doing?’ side of me has gone and the knowledgeable, experienced, conscientious Early Years Teacher side of me has emerged out of hibernation. I’m looking forward to looking after my gorgeous A with my teacher brain plugged in a bit more often.

Update on A

Age 9 months and 3 weeks

New skills: Crawling, lifting herself up whilst holding onto everything and anything

Recent i love being a mum moment: snotty, wet kisses all over my face yesterday as she held onto me

Current Quotes: ‘The hand of god can be in our lives in unexpected ways through unexpected encounters’

© Mummy Blossom 2018

#Mama Moments: A’s first injections

So recently A had her first injections. Being a curious little munchkin, she was just simply really happy to be in the nurses office and contentedly

close up of white syringe
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

sat lapping up her new nurse-related stimuli.

As the needle went in her chunky, little thigh there was silence. She had dealt with it amazingly well. Suddenly she let out the biggest wail I have ever heard from her tiny lungs and her face went a worrying shade of red. As the second needle went into her thigh, she wailed even louder. The entire time she cried, she looked at me as though I had betrayed her.

#mamamoments

No Panicking: How I kept calm in the days before giving birth

Just before giving birth I have to admit that I was a bit of a mess. Somehow all of the scary stories I had ever heard about the big boogey man of labour were right at the fore of my mind. My friends who had never given birth were especially skilled at brewing my fear . They were forever hinting at scary details about labour that they swore were a certainty.

It’s not surprising really that as my due date came and went, that I went into a form of hibernation.

I turned off my phone; no more annoying excited ‘so has it happened?’ calls. I tried to avoid meeting anyone I know; no more talk about how I looked as I though I was about to ‘pop’ which I translated as’die’. Instead, I created a kind of Pre-labour, Anti -Panic Attack Retreat. As my husband woke up for work, so did I. I ate well, trying to avoid anything too sugary as I swear it is not good for my anxiety. I started my day with nothing but utter positivity in the morning; Buddhist talks, Joyce Meyer sermons all courtesy of Youtube. I took positive, cheerleader- esque notes and wrote my favourite quotes in a book which I took with me into labour. After well and truly slavering myself in utter positivity, me and my bump would bumble through Humpty Dumpty style yoga, focusing on poses that were said to be the antidote to anxiety.

 

I offended a few people who wanted to talk about the impending day by telling them that I was not talking but instead hibernating, but frankly, I didn’t care.

phone pic blog

I did not want to go into labour needing  tranquillisers because I had let fear take over.When the time came for me to go into hospital, I was 100x calmer than I ever thought I would be.

Incredibly, giving birth turned out to be one of the best experience I have ever had and thankfully not as scary as I had built it up to be. Staying calm before labour definitely helped.

My top tips for staying calm before labour:

  • Do not talk to people. Ha! Only joking. Talking to people can not be avoided unfortunately. But make sure you stay away from people who make you feel anxious about labour, they’ll survive if you do not speak to them for a bit.

  • Make a soothing bag full of things that will keep you calm if you go into labour. My bag included lavender oil, a tens machine, my book of positive quotes and a yoga birthing position guide.
  • Exercise. When you can just about breathe because your organs are being squeezed by your bundle of joy, exercise may feel like it’s impossible but just knowing I attempted exercising helped to make me feel good. Listen to your body but I think it’s worth doing something, even if it is just walking around your kitchen a couple of times.

  • Do things that make you feel positive– I wrote quotes and listened to positive talks. That also means avoiding negative stuff-I could not even watch some adverts or shows that I used to enjoy pre-pregnancy like Orange is the new black because they just made me too emotional.

  • Try to make sure you have a way of releasing any overwhelming emotions– talking to my super positive friend whose mum happened to be a midwife helped me lots.I also re-discovered my diary.

    © Filter Free Mama 2016

Caught up in Hurricane Motherhood

Hey lovelies,

I have been gone for a hot minute (or couple of months).

I have given birth(!?!!) and now have a gorgeous, incredible, actual, real seven week old daughter.I have missed blogging and finally feel that I can get back on it.

In the next couple of blogs I will give you the 411 about what how the birth went. Once you’re all caught up, I’ll let you know about what mummy adventures and discoveries my days now hold.

Honestly guys, becoming a mother has been incredible. It was something I was so so scared about but it is turning out to be the best, full stop. Looking forward to sharing this all with you and hopefully getting your comments/advice/general musings.

Lots of love

Nat