pregnancy and the journey into parenthood.
Before falling pregnant, I had been working in a nursery. Childcare was something completely new to me and had occurred by chance when I found myself unemployed and desperate for a new job. However, I really enjoyed my time there and I think it took away *some* of the uncertainty of becoming a new mum.
using social media.
During my pregnancy and into my babies first few months, I found social media to be a really valuable resource. I became a member of a variety of closed Facebook groups: women who were at the same stage in pregnancy – with the same due date, right through breastfeeding through allergies support - something I would have struggled recognise if it wasn’t for the ladies who have shared their knowledge and experience on these platforms. I found the groups particularly useful in terms of requesting advice without judgement from women who’ve been in similar situations. I frequently use the groups to read posts from other mums and do my own research around the topics or ideas they bring up, that I might not have given thought to otherwise. Things like introducing solids, safe sleep guidelines, age limits and restrictions on toys and sleep-wake cycles. Of course, all babies are different, but it’s really useful to have an idea of what to expect from others that are going through the same stages as you and your little one.
One thing I found difficult as a new parent was the unsolicited advice from family members, acquaintances and strangers. Looking back, I definitely became more self-conscious during pregnancy, which made the ‘helpful’ advice offered by others seem more prying & judgmental than it might have been intended. After building on my own knowledge, and therefore confidence, I stood by my decisions and claimed back some independence post-birth.
the birthing experience.
Fortunately, my experience was fairly straightforward. My baby arrived 11 days early and I began my labour at home for around 12 hours. I was aware labour had begun but didn’t know how long it was going to take or what to expect. When I went into the hospital I had to go alone due to the pandemic and, once examined, wasn’t thought to be very far in my labour.
However, things progressed well, and my waters broke after about 5 hours. From there things happened very quickly and my boyfriend was invited into the hospital to be by my side. He was just in time, as within 40 minutes of him arriving, our beautiful baby boy was born. We didn’t find out the gender during the pregnancy so that was a really exciting part of the birth for us. We left the hospital the following morning with our new baby, ready to begin life as three.
I chose to breastfeed my son, and I was given access to support on this whilst at the hospital. Some babies have trouble latching or feeding when they’re born but luckily my son took to it well. We have had some challenges and hurdles further down the line in our breastfeeding journey and my current goal is to continue breastfeeding at least until we introduce him to solids. We had the support of a midwife after the birth - offered to all new babies - along with some standard screening tests for hearing loss and a number of other conditions. I’m very fortunate to say that my son has had a very happy and healthy start to life, especially in the midst of such a bleak year.
I am on statutory maternity leave, but my partner had to continue going to work in the hospitality industry. Luckily, I had the support of my mum, who visited almost every day after I gave birth. Having her around to make me a drink or bring me something to eat when I was trapped under a sleeping baby or feeding for what seemed like hours on end, was a lifesaver. Over the following weeks her help was invaluable as we began packing all of our things ready to move to a new house.
One thing I love about being a mother is watching my son learn and develop so quickly. It’s incredible to watch the changes he goes through and I love knowing it’s me and my partner that are teaching him about the world. He’s always laughing and smiling and some days he’s very vocal. I think he’s going to be a chatterbox like me, as I’m always talking and singing to him.
I was pregnant and gave birth during the pandemic, which has altered my experience slightly. I have relied on online support rather than traditional local mum and baby groups and my protective instincts were definitely heightened with the constant buzz around germs and infection putting me on edge. But now, as my delicate new-born grows into a happy infant those feelings are definitely easing away.
Daynah Owen is a mum to beautiful Teddy and owner of Nursery Corner, an online store for all things baby!
*This article contains affiliate links which earn us a small commission.