This morning as stood making the cup of tea I would probably leave somewhere in the house to go cold, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d never looked after a baby on my own before Jasmine. I literally have no job experience, imagine how overwhelming it would be to get a job as a lawyer having never studied law or a job as a photographer having never picked up a camera, bloody scary that’s what. Well that’s like motherhood for me, I once looked after my godson for an hour while my friend was at an appointment, I ended up putting a clean nappy on him back up front and calling my mum to come round and help. Well now my mum lives 230 miles away and no chance of popping over to help.
I was never one of those girls who yearned to be a mother and found someone to have them with. For me I could have happily lived without them, I didn’t get that material desire when I saw a baby, I thought they were cute but I didn’t feel I had to procreate in order to fulfil my life, it was the other way around for me. I found the person I wanted to share my life with and wanted to raise a child as the next part of our journey together. Don’t get me wrong I was never an ice queen, But I can name you at least half a dozen of my friends who are very maternal who, for various reasons, it just hasn’t happened for yet.
I was a bit awkward with babies, if I’m honest I didn’t know how to hold them, had many plans that we would continue going on city breaks and leave the baby with a trusting relative. I didn’t know about any baby stuff at all…. how to feed a baby, change a baby, colic, wind, sleep regression, leaps, cradle cap, what babies wear….. I could go on. I knew nothing other than what google told me.
It sounds corny but the second the doctor put Jasmine on my chest, I knew. I knew this tiny helpless alien looking baby needed me. And a woolly hat. I’ll be honest as I was to my midwife, I felt a bit weirded out by breastfeeding previously, but knowing how amazing it is for my little girl I thought I’d ‘try it’ – we struggled, she found it hard to latch on and I stayed awake all night with a midwife by my side encouraging me and the same the next day and night. God bless the midwives at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital. No, it wasn’t easy but I knew I had to power through. She managed to start latching but instead of the euphoria I was feeding her I was overwhelmed by excruciating, toe curling pain. But I continued knowing I wanted to for her. The pain continued for weeks, I cried, but she was thriving, I knew it was doing her good so despite the pain, the infection, the dairy intolerance which meant I went for weeks without dairy, chocolate, cheese, nothing – that was hard. As I write this I have been breastfeeding Jasmine for 6 months and I’m very proud, this is by no means bashing mums who feed formula to their babies, I’m just sharing what I consider to be a huge achievement for me.
And now, I’m a mummy. I know when she’s tired, hungry, frightened, happy or sad. I stay up all night if she needs me, I sing to her, laugh at her, rub her back and kiss her forehead. I can tell what she needs because that maternal instinct was there after all, I just needed Jasmine to bring it out.
‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ – William Shakespeare