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My Post Partum Journey: 'Becoming a Mum for the 1st time.' (The Innate Mama)

My Post Partum Journey: `Becoming a Mum for the first time.'

My First-Born Sofia arrived on Tuesday 3rd November 2009 at 11:55pm {just made it in time for cup day!} at 41+2 days gestation.

The Birth was everything that I'd hoped & planned for, 18 long hours in active labour and 18 hours of pre-labour pains. I had a natural physiological birth with little intervention; my waters were broken {to assist with labour progression} and internal dilation checks.

I had trained up my husband to help support me throughout the labour. With his amazing help & the midwives support I got through the long labour.

The last midwife I had 'Erin' whom was present during my pushing stage was absolutely

amazing & supportive. She was the reason why I was able to push my baby out within 2 hrs {it was so close to being a suction or forceps delivery!}

I was so very grateful that I was able to use my voice to speak up when needed throughout the labour and extremely grateful for Erin’s guidance, encouragement & powerful affirmations during the pushing stage. It was the right prescription I needed for a wonderful birth experience, although I do remember not wanting to do it again anytime soon!!

After birth I felt completely exhausted {felt like my body had been hit by a train!} But I was also very excited that I was finally a Mum. I was totally amazed that my hubby & I had created this little human & she was now earth-side.

I felt absolute admiration for all the women that had birthed before me and particularly my Mum, the bond between us had grown like never before in that one moment. The oxytocin was definitely in overdrive and I LOVED BEING A MUM!!

Being the first born in an Italian family we had lots of visitors at the hospital and at home, which at the time didn’t bother me as I was excited for everyone to see her. My body was slowly healing from birth, I had some grazes and hemorrhoids which were painful, and I could not sit down properly for 2 weeks {thank goodness for the inflatable cushion!!}

Breastfeeding went pretty well besides getting engorged breasts a few times & not knowing that the fore milk would make my little girl be “milk drunk’ and only feed for 10mins!!

Until I learnt to wake her up and let her feed for a full 45mins!!

Being 31 years old and breast-feeding in public was not accepted as much as it is now, I didn’t feel comfortable breast-feeding in front of people and would often cover myself up with a shawl whilst i was feeding Sofia.

I spent the first month of Sofia's life in my pyjamas not knowing where the day went and how on earth to be a Mum. I cried a few times to my Mum not realizing how much of a change/challenge becoming a Mum was. I accepted meals cooked for me quite gladly at the start but then knew it was up to me or my hubby to cook.

One of the worst days I had was when Sofia just would not settle, we had family over and all she would do was eat and scream constantly. I did not know what was going on with her as before that she had colic issues but on this day things were different, she would eat and vomit it up, scream more feed more and I couldn’t settle her. I was so stressed out sitting in the back room of our little unit {the hottest room on a hot day!}

Trying to work out what to do. I was crying because all I knew that she was in pain & and overtired & all I wanted was be alone so I could try to work out what I need to do to help my baby girl. If I had a voice, I would've asked for family to leave so that I could be more calmer & work out how to help her feel better. I recall speaking to breastfeeding association as I was concerned about not having any milk left and they told me you never run out of milk and you both just need some rest & fluids. It got to 10pm at night tired, stressed out and barely able to cope I sent my husband off to purchase some formula so she could get another feed as I felt I really did have nothing left to feed her. The formula did the trick for that night to help her go to sleep. After reading my breastfeeding association booklet I realized that she most likely had reflux.

A few days later the doctors confirmed that she had reflux and put her on a low dose of ‘losec’ reflux medication. It was a relief to finally know what was wrong with her and it wasn’t something I was doing or my breast-milk. I had to learn how to best look after a reflux baby

{I certainly mastered it after a little while} and tried to ignore negative comments like “Wouldn’t she just be better on the bottle?” or “Maybe your breast-milk isn't good for her.”

No one realizes that these comments can absolutely crush a Mum who is trying to do the best she can {she's never done this before} & feeding her daughter the milk that her body has created. Once we got into our grove, we found rocking her to sleep with a dummy or pushing her around in the pram was the best way to settle her.

When Sofia was about 2 months old I slowly started back at work 2 days a week 4 hour shifts, not something I wanted to do but was expected to do at the time as I was in a family business. I cried at the fact I had to go back to work and be away from my baby, this was supposed to be my time to be a Mum.

I must've been running on adrenaline! I would feed Sofia and then my Mum would come over to look after her, then feed her the expressed milk. I'd then come back home with breasts like a watermelon, pump & feed her again 1 hour later. Phew! It was full on and slightly stressful on those work days but somehow I managed. Although I did cope shingles later that year due to the stress my body was under and I didn’t realize.

By the time she was 5 months old we decided to do sleep training through a council run workshop with Sofia and within 2 weeks she was able to go to sleep on her own, which made her and us so much more happier and relaxed. I then started to really enjoy being a Mum watching her grow, developing confidence and knowing exactly what she needed.

During that time I was very grateful for the support I had received from my Mum, my husband & even my dad checking in on me every few days. Their support & love really did make all the difference.

Looking back now, I wish I did sometimes ask for more help, particularly with cooking/cleaning but I wanted to look like I could cope with it all because that’s what you do when you are 31 years old!

I now know differently at 42 years old!! I also wish I had a voice to say ‘No’ to things that caused me anxiety or stress and I definitely wouldn't have gone back to work so soon.

My Message to you beautiful Mumma's.....

You only have one go at each Post Partum period so please learn from my experience and

plan for this time to look after ‘You’ as much as you look after your baby.

Marisa x


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