During most of my pregnancy, I was mostly excited to become a mum, but it still didn’t feel very real if I’m honest. I felt pretty serene and in control (before antenatal anxiety hit me hard in the third trimester). I’m working on feeling that calm again post-partum, but I’ve found my parenting doubts difficult to stifle at times.
Just before I became a first-time mum 15 weeks ago, I had all the usual concerns like not getting enough sleep, becoming a dazed zombie and so on. But there was something much bigger as well: the fear that I might somehow ‘lose myself’ in motherhood, along with all the travel, family and career dreams I’d been harbouring for years.
I’m all for anything that will inject some structure into our day, so I was delighted when BookTrust sent me some goodies as part of their 2017 Bath, Book, Bed campaign. Together with Jo Frost, BookTrust’s aim is for us all to achieve a better night’s sleep… and what parent wouldn’t be interested in that?
Not long after becoming a mum, my thoughts turned to the kind of person my tiny baby would grow to be. I felt as though I could sense a few of his personality traits very early on, at around six weeks of age — so to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and projecting random characteristics onto the poor boy, I turned to Google.
Like all kinds of parenting, single parenting comes with its own set of challenges. With just 14 weeks’ experience, I’m not going to pretend I’m some kind of single mama expert, but there are a few things I’ve learnt that I wish I knew from the beginning:
No amount of reading and research can truly prepare you for parenthood. Even the things you accept as universally shared experiences, like having no time to yourself in the early days or that initial rush of overwhelming love for your new little person, are completely different for everyone.
Right on cue, he turns three months and he sleeps through the night for the first time three days later! They say the three to six month period is the easiest time to establish sleep habits, because it’s the holy window where babies aren’t yet in their ‘separation anxiety’ phase but are ready to take cues from us. Fingers crossed this wasn’t a one-time-only affair…