What I've Learnt... From The First Days Of Being A Mum
The first days of being a mum.
I gave birth to my first son in 2013 and like most new parents I was excited, nervous, full of wonder! I remember returning home from hospital, my son shrinking down in the car seat and me, not quite knowing what to do. Where were the grown ups? I had given birth, but I didn't quite feel like a mum.
The day after we returned home, members of our families came to visit. They understandably couldn't wait to see & squeeze the new addition. I sat awkwardly on the sofa as my baby was passed around cuddle for cuddle, sniffed, cooed at and showered with love. I felt traumatised. My baby, who I had carried for 9 months, who I had shared every movement, breath and heart beat with for so long, was no longer attached to me. Not only was he not attached to me, we weren't even touching. After a few hours everyone left and we went off to bed. I snuggled him into my chest and cried. He didn't smell the same. It might sound crazy but those first moments of sharing him left me shaken. I felt so raw, open & vulnerable. I wasn't ready to share him, but I didn't feel like I could make the decision not to.
It's a odd place, those first days. You're a parent but somehow it takes a little while to step into the shoes. To feel like it's ok to make decisions for the little life you created.
I gave birth to my second son just a couple of months ago and I knew from the moment we got pregnant that I wouldn't be ready to share him for at least a week. I needed that time to be with him before anyone else was, and now I'm mum enough to give myself that space. I didn't feel guilty about putting off relatives, or like I was being over protective and thankfully we weren't pressured to open the doors before we were ready.
There's a lot of pressure in our culture to have guests, to announce births asap and spring back, have visitors & hand baby over for a squeeze, however it isn't the same in all cultures. It used to be traditional in Japan for women to stay inside with their baby for the first 100 days and in Mexico, women have a 40 day period of rest called a cuarentena at home with baby & other female members of family come to support her by taking care of cooking & care for the house.
I learnt from those first days that it's ok to close the curtains and cuddle. To protect your baby bubble & that your needs as a family are the priority. Everything else can wait. It's such a cliche but you don't get those first days back and they are oh so special. So cherish them.