The New Mom
A whole new life
Looking at my bump, people thought I was having a boy, but I had a feeling I would have a girl. I felt great during pregnancy. I was healthy and enjoyed being pregnant. I’d read that you don’t need to eat for two so I consciously tried to eat well, and in my job, I kept mobile. That helped too. I had a little bit of queasiness in the first few months but nothing major. And no cravings for food – very boring!
In the months leading up to the birth, I wondered, “What will her personality be like?” I did lots of reading and also went to the childbirth classes at BJU which were really helpful. I talked to friends that had been through it. I think I read more about the birth than what to do afterwards. Thank goodness my mum was there to help.
Mo, my husband, was brilliant. He was the only one who changed Sophie’s nappies in the first few weeks. My labor with Sophie was about 14 hours. It was pretty relaxed at the beginning, but then it got really painful.
I like to think that my exercising during pregnancy helped – I was swimming two or three times a week right up to her birth. During the delivery, Dr. Brooks, Kathy (a trained midwife) and my husband were by my side – they were a huge support.
The biggest surprise for me so far has been that babies don’t know how to sleep. I’d read that babies sleep all the time but mine didn’t! I used to dread the hours after bath time, wondering when would she learn to sleep … but she did. We followed some of the Gina Ford method, doing the whole sleep routine consistently from the first day back from hospital – it was tough at the start but after three weeks she was fine.
Breastfeeding was also difficult in the early weeks, so I got some help from La Leche League and a lactation consultant, Bronwyn Smith, visited me at home. I can see why so many women give up breastfeeding in the early months – it can be painful if you don’t get help early on.
For new mums-to-be, I’d say: Read as much as you can, ask questions and be prepared to get some advice, especially about breastfeeding. As Westerners, I think we have a “gung-ho” tendency not to reach out for help sometimes. I talked to experienced friends, my mum gurus and I also made some new mum friends through my pre-natal yoga group and weekly mother/baby group. You can say, “My baby’s not sleeping” and friends will say, “My baby’s not sleeping either,” and you feel much better.
Since becoming a mum, I now understand how all-consuming it is. I respect all mums. I appreciate my mum so much now. Everyone has a mum that’s done so much for them. I’d never really thought of that before. And seeing Sophie’s first smiles in the morning … I could look at her all day. I’m willingly letting her take over my life. As told to Angela Snowball.
Jennie Grierson is the mother of Sophie Ke-Ying.