Updated: Oct 7, 2021
As a Specialist Newborn Photography in North Ferriby, Hull, East Yorkshire I meet hundreds of new families. I hear their excitement, their birth stories and their worries.
The time just before and just after our babies are born and some of the most emotionally overwhelming times of our lives.
We have 4 children People said, “Oh by number four you know exactly what you’re doing.” And it’s true, some things fell straight back into place, things we’d forgotten about became the norm again. But other things were different each time. We were so excited to meet our little one, dreaming of holding them, dressing them in the gorgeous little outfits we had bought. Amazed that we had created this precious little being who we could feel kicking inside me.
I also remember feeling excited, scared, panicky, happy and teary all at the same time. Not to mention frustrated at the fact that I could no longer see if I had on matching shoes! It's natural, I'm sure all the daddies to be feel most of that too but coupled with irritability of not being able to turn over in bed without waking up to wee, and all the hormones rushing round making you feel that you have as much control over your emotions as you do your bladder it can sometimes become too much and before you know it you are a blubbering mess.
If any of this feels like your life then take heart on the fact that you are not alone. Talk to any mum or mum to be and they'll have similar stories. It's fine, you get through it, you'll probably even go on to do it all over again, I did 4 times, and I picked up some tips on the way to help make these months of mood swings a little more bearable.
1. Don't plan on your little one being on time.
They may turn up early or might in the case of my 2nd son be way, way over due and leave you thinking that they will never, ever come out!
Pack your bag early (get my list on what to pack HERE). Then forget it, get on with your life as normally as possible, plan coffee with friends, take gentle walks and immerse yourself in the new Netflix series. Even have a maternity session with me, to capture photographs of your gorgeous bump! Anything to distract yourself.
2. Don't listen to other people's birth stories, at least until after your baby is here.
As women, we like to talk about our baby's births. It's great that we share and helps bust myths and build friendships. But there is nothing to be gained by listening to scary stories.
3. Do not put too much pressure on yourself.
I was speaking to a lovely new mum in my Specialist Newborn Photography studio in North Ferriby, Hull, East Yorkshire. She was panicking about her baby girl gaining enough weight. As a solely breastfed baby the midwives decided that she was not going enough weight and needed to be supplemented with formula to increase her weight. Mum was so unhappy, she just didn't know what was wrong.
As a new mum you are learning a completely new skill when breastfeeding. Not only that but so is your baby! As I said to my lovely client, you would never start a degree in a new field after you had just run the equivalent of 3 marathons, working with someone else who knows nothing about the subject either. And expect to succeed the first week too!
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and precious journey. I loved feeding all 4 of my children but that's not to say it was easy.
If it's not right for you or your little one, get advice, there are some amazing support groups on Facebook for Hull and East Yorkshire, THIS one supports breastfeeding and THIS one is a great space for help and advice. And if you need to change, then don't panic. What matters is your baby is fed and has a mummy who can cope. So, if you supplement, express, combination feed, bottle feed or breastfeed, just do you.
4. Don't listen to well-meaning older relatives (unless you want too!)
Between my friends and I, we heard ever old wife's tale in the book. From "don't hug them too much, you'll make a rod for your own back" to putting 3-week-old babies to potties -yes, I was actually recommended this! Some advice will be welcome and some won't. Take what's helpful and dismiss the rest.
5. Don't sweat the small stuff.
This has become my mantra over the last 15 years. There will always be a "phase" your baby is going though. Something new to panic about. As hard as it is, don't get yourself in a state about things that don't matter. If you need an epidural, have one, if you need to give a dummy to your 3-month-old so you can actually get some sleep, do it. You are not a bad parent if you change your mind from the ideals you had in your head. Every family and every baby is different. What may work for your first may not for your second or third baby. Don't be afraid to ask professionals for advice if you need it and don't get hung up on the "ideal".
You are amazing, be proud of what you have done and remember, it takes a village to raise a child. And as tough as it can sometimes be, in my opinion being a parent is the best job in the world, followed closely by being a newborn photographer of course!