Becoming a Mother was everything I expected and nothing like I thought it would be. Or more to the point nothing like ‘I’ thought ‘I’ would be. The fact that its taken me the best part of 7 months to even write this blog is testament to that!
You go to your antenatal classes, talk to your Mum friends and own Mother and scour the Internet while pregnant. Soaking up information about the birth, becoming obsessed with what piece of fruit your beloved baby bump is on par with this week and reading all about the changes to your body. It’s a magical time for lots of women, including me, you feel special, a guardian of the most precious cargo. You almost float (as much as someone who looks like they’ve eaten 3 footballs can) around in a happy bubble. But nothing can truly prepare you for what happens next. Becoming a Mum. One minute (or some 19 hours..) you’re writhing around on a hospital bed wishing that you’d never got into this mess in the first place. The next you’ve got a baby, an actual tiny human to keep alive.
Forget the hamster you loved back in 1999, the plant you neglected when you first moved to uni halls, or even the dog you’ve loved and looked after for the last 4 years. This is the big league now, the final, and it seems like you’ve skipped the training for the last 10 seasons. HELP.
When I was pregnant I worried about Postnatal depression, I was terrified I wouldn’t feel that initial rush of love, that bond, it scared me so much and kept me awake at night. I worried I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, everyone told me how hard it was, how painful, how I shouldn’t feel disappointed If I couldn’t do it. I prayed that the baby would be healthy, as every woman does. These were the things that occupied my worry list during those long 9 months, but I should have saved my energy – they were fruitless and there was LOTS of worrying to come. Worrying is what Mums do best.
Not everyone feels that initial rush of love, we are all different, and there’s nothing wrong with not feeling it. Sometimes it has to grow but for me it was overwhelming. I actually thought she was never going to come out, we didn’t find out what we were having and when she was put on my chest, I was so sure I couldn’t actually give birth that for a couple of seconds I had no idea what it was that had been put there, sounds crazy but birth isn’t a normal situation. Then the huge surge of relief, it was over, the gruelling marathon was done and I had a baby, a healthy daughter, it makes me cry just thinking about it. I was so happy and so in love I didn’t know what was happening. She latched on straight away, and most of my fears about breastfeeding disappeared, certainly over the next few days, it seemed my Daisy was a pro at breastfeeding and she would show me the ropes.
We stayed in hospital for 5 days because of hospital infections, we were both on antibiotic drips, I don’t think I slept more than an hour or two the whole time but I was so happy, the hormones, the adrenaline, it’s crazy. I could write for days and days but there’s simply not enough time so I’ll try and summarise as best I can.
Nothing can prepare you for Motherhood, for the way that you will feel, for the almost animal instinct to protect, the fierce love you have, that burns constantly and only increases as you get to know this little person. The personality your baby has, this tiny human that you both made. Nothing can prepare you for the first 3 months, for how hard it is, how bone-wearingly-exhausting. It takes everything you have and then comes back looking for more, like a bailiff with a never-ending debt. You will find strength you never knew existed and weaknesses you only feared you had. No one can prepare you for those hormones, the rushes of emotion, the anger at your partner, the feelings of loneliness and loss of self-esteem. You will doubt everything, you will question if you’re cut out for the job, you will wonder if you will ever sleep again. These things are real and terrifying but here’s the kicker, here’s why people go back for more, and more, and sometimes even more.
There’s nothing greater in the world than this love, this baby, THIS IS IT. It’s everything, it’s why we are here and you understand that now. The meaning of it all. This is what life is about, looking after this little person. Before her you were just slowly moving towards the end, now you’re experiencing life again from ground zero, through eyes which stare with wonder at even the most simple of things.
The support you both receive will take your breath away, the kindness of everyone. We had so many gifts, cards and visitors. It was just unbelievable – because babies are such a precious gift, and people want to soak up a bit of that magic. Our families have been amazing, we’ve made great friends, my Mummy Mafia through NCT, our group chats and weekly meet ups have kept me sane, we talk about poo almost daily but that’s what you need, some friends who aren’t afraid to look at a pic of your babies nappy on a Friday night and tell you it’s fine. My own Mother, the love and support she has shown, it just takes my breath away. She hasn’t stopped loving me and helping me from the day I was born, I couldn’t do this without her and even if I could I wouldn’t want to. I know now why she does it; I know I’d do the same for Daisy in a heartbeat.
I now fully understand how much my own Mum loves me, and I’m so sorry for all the things I’ve put her through – sorry Mum, I really am. I haven’t been able to say this to her because we don’t really talk about feelings, we just show how much we care by our actions. I understand now, how when I was really sick, and didn’t want to be here anymore, how there are no words that could capture how horrendous that must have been for you. A living nightmare, a walking hell. I’m so sorry. So very sorry I felt so low that you received that call and had to come to the hospital that night, because that’s not what a Mother should do. You bring your baby into the world that way, you shouldn’t have to say goodbye. But that’s why I write this blog, because mental health is so important. I write this blog and talk about mental health because Mothers, Daughters, Brothers, Sisters and Fathers should be able to talk about mental health, so that no one feels like there’s no other way out.
So welcome to Motherhood, It’s been a roller-coaster but I wouldn’t change any of it. My friend Micha once said to me (in our group chat, on a bad day for me) “There’s no way to prepare for the job that is Motherhood, it’s horrible and wonderful and frankly too much to deal with sometimes” I couldn’t agree more!
At the beginning I existed mainly on biscuits, because breastfeeding makes you HUUUNNNGGGRRRY and biscuits make me happy. I’ve eaten if not my bodyweight, then Daisy’s, in biscuits over the last 7 months, so this recipe seemed apt!
Maybe you’re about to give birth, maybe you’ve recently had a baby, maybe you’re just a lover of the biscuit (and who isn’t?) then this is a must make, you get to eat ALL the biscuits, with added cakey-ness. WIN!
Biscuit Tin Blondies
Cuts into 24 squares
250g butter, diced
380g soft brown sugar
100g white chocolate chips or white chocolate chunks
300g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
350g biscuits, 100g roughly chopped and the rest left whole, whatever you have in your biscuit tin!
Heat oven to 170C fan. Line an approx 25 x 35 cm roasting tin with baking parchment.
Melt the butter in a large pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes, until it foams, smells nutty and turns golden. Take off the heat and add the sugar and half of the chocolate and stir until melted and evenly combined. Tip into a bowl and allow cool for 5-10 minutes.
Beat the eggs into the cooled butter mixture, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then fold in the flour using a large metal spoon or a spatula. Stir in the rest of the chocolate and the chopped biscuits. Spoon into the prepared tin.
Arrange the whole biscuits into the top of the tray bake, cook for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden. Cool then cut into squares once cool.