I’ve been going through the thousands of photos (no exaggeration!) I took of Reuben when he was a newborn and it sparked a lot of memories. It’s strange because such beautiful, cherished moments become blurry as time goes on. However, it’s made me realise there’s a lot I’ve forgotten about.
Here’s 7 things I have forgotten about the newborn days:
1) Oh the torment of hunger! First and foremost, keeping it light, I suddenly remember the hunger. Trying to find time to cook or make something, and then eat it? And what about if you need that ten minutes to nap, or shower? What then? I spent a lot of the newborn days absolutely starving and my best bet was to make toast, pot noodles or chicken nuggets or hope I could devour them before Reuben awoke. It wasn’t healthy, it was survival.
2) REFLUX. Oh my, the first three weeks of reflux…. it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. I would feed Reuben and keep him upright and he’d throw up and throw up until he needed another feed. At some point I was told this wasn’t normal and I switched him onto anti-reflux formula three days after stopping breastfeeding. He still had sicky days of course but oh goodness, getting out of the house at all, with a baby that won’t stop throwing up? Horrible! Especially when trying to get out of an upstairs flat with the shakes. I had the shakes for ages after giving birth, thinking about it, the hunger didn’t help.
3) On a not so nice note, there’s the unrelenting fear of your baby passing away. When you’re pregnant and when you have a newborn, the fragility of life has never become so clear to you. You hear about SIDS constantly. When your baby is finally placed in your arms, that’s not end of the worrying – I would wake up constantly through the night when Reuben was sleeping to check he was still breathing. I’d also think I was holding him when I was holding my quilt and I’d be panicking and crying searching for him in the covers when really he was sound asleep in his moses basket. I still check on him now, but it’s not so intense, I don’t have to wake up frequently to make sure. I think that comes with confidence that they’re safe and realistically, no harm should come to them. You should never take a baby for granted though, so I will probably always be doing this.
4) The hormones. The overwhelming hormones. I’m talking about the crying because you’re in love with your baby, crying because you’re happy, crying because you’re afraid, crying because you’re tired, crying because you’re hungry, crying because you saw something about midwives on the telly. There’s lots and lots of strong emotion coursing through your veins and it takes you on a very wild ride.
5) How tiring it was. I am very much used to Reuben sleeping through the night now, I’m a lucky mama, I know not all babies do. But I do remember the days when this wasn’t the case, and when he had to be attached to me 24/7 (or so it felt that way) and it was hard. Any time he wasn’t, I was rushing to get something done or sleeping. Mentally, it was probably more tiring than it was physically.
6) But perhaps the saddest thing, to me, is that I cannot for the life of me remember what that newborn smell is. Isn’t it weird that one day they just don’t smell like a newborn anymore? I miss it and yet I can’t remember it. I just know it was damn good to take a deep sniff upon your babies head when they were new and breathe them in and it made everything else irrelevant. All that mattered was you and your baby determined to get through this journey together (in one piece at least haha!).
7) And last but not least, and this is very much a personal aspect of something I’d forgotten… how hard it was to not have the money to be supporting myself, let alone Reuben. It was a struggle for the first six weeks or so and it caused a lot of stress. Stress that I really shouldn’t have had to feel during such precious days. I often talk about how something feels stolen from me when I think back to Reuben being born and that’s one of them. You see because I lost my job when I was pregnant, I fell deep into my overdraft through my entire pregnancy and I didn’t get out of it til Reuben was around two months old. It was hard. When I imagined myself as a mother in the future, that’s not something I expected myself to be going through but it’s a struggle I have learnt a lot from.
Three things I haven’t forgotten however are:
1) How precious the cuddles are… I mean I still love nothing more than snuggling up with Reuben but when he was tiny, idk, it was just so lovely. He felt like he was all mine and I was his world and I loved it.
2) The feeling you get when you finally meet your baby. For me, it was an instant rush of love and honestly, I don’t think there’s anything more euphoric. I often take myself back into that moment when I want to relax. It creates a pang in my heart but it’s very grounding. It refocuses me.
3) How hard it can be to take care of a tiny person when you’re in pain (need I say more), I mean I don’t know about you but my spine still hurts!
So if you read this, thank you very much! I decided to actually do it very late at night because I was waiting up for a shopping delivery. Hell to paying more than two quid for a delivery slot! Haha.
Take care, with love (or whatever I usually say!),