New Mum Jitters
My best friend is four days overdue with her first baby. Seeing her waiting has caused me to reflect on the momentous change a baby brings to your life. I was 25 when I had my first. I remember envisioning my life as a mum. Lattes with friends, sun baking while my baby sleeps and pounding the promenade with my fresh new Bugaboo pram was all I considered. I didn’t imagine the actual four year old girl here with me now, I didn’t imagine the strain of a child on my fresh relationship and I certainly didn’t envision the anxiety which started the day she was born and is still going on under the surface almost five years on.
When my first born Ruby lay asleep, I remember suddenly getting a panicked feeling that maybe she’d stopped breathing. I’d rush into her room and put my fingers under her nostrils to feel for breath. I’d sigh relief every night as this finger breath test became a nightly ritual compulsion.
The first day we brought her home from hospital, my mum came over with a giant bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne. Sleep deprived and anxious, my alarm suddenly buzzed. Two hours had passed since Ruby’s last feed. According to all my Google research I knew I had to wake her. Google told me newborns needed to feed every two hours and if they didn’t wake it was because they were too tired from the rigour of labour. Also, if they didn’t wake, a parent must wake them, or the baby could die…Yes, that’s how far down the google rabbit hole I went.
I had Ruby on my lap at one day old, soundly asleep. I tried all said techniques to wake her; tickled her feet, talked to her, sat her up. Nothing worked. Little cherub was out cold. My mum and partner looked at me, fragile, stressed out, trying desperately to wake a peacefully sleeping baby and said, “What are you doing?! Let the girl sleep!”
I snapped at my mum. What would you know?! I mean, she only had three kids herself and here I am with my newborn and 9 months of google research. The audacity! Fortunately for Ruby, my mum and partner had their way and the two hour feeding alarm was disabled. I was sent to bed without champagne for some obviously much needed sleep.
I know I’m not alone with any of this madness. Many mums I meet know the feeling. I was never anxious and was always carefree. I would lose or break everything. Now I have a living creature on my hands, which I love and adore so much, and life’s fragility is suddenly a theme that never leaves my mind.
She’s now almost five and while I no longer do the finger breath test I still harbour those same feelings of fear which is what pushes me to fiercely protect and care. I wondered when the feelings would leave me. I’ve realised they probably never will. This is part of being a Mum.
Keep your eyes peeled for Izzy and her pair of rugrats lagging behind or charging ahead, smiling ear to ear or bawling their eyes out. No matter how busy she may look, Izzy is always keen to stop for a chin wag.