Ain’t no Hood like motherhood. (19 months postpartum).

I’ve not written in a while. It’s hard to find the time when you have a tiny human (quite literally) snapping and wailing at your heels. Sonny is a big ball of energy – shrieking, laughing, crying, torturing the long-suffering cat. His only words ‘maaaama’ and ‘ooooh’. I’m dizzy in love with him though. I think I could gaze for hours at his perfect crystal blue eyes, his outrageous dark lashes, his chubby wrists, even his squidged up nose when he’s completely overwhelmed by his emotions.

After a fairly peaceful period of relative normality, January hit us hard. Sonny picked up a nasty tummy bug, but took it like a (little) man and fairly nonchalantly vommed as he toddled around grinning. We were equally bemused and horrified at this unexpected turn of events. Sonny, meanwhile, wasn’t that bothered by his bodily functions. While keeping an avid eye on his temperature, we put it down to a common childhood illness.

Unfortunately, the next morning, my poor husband announced he wasn’t feeling the best. This usually means my beloved needs to lie down for a few hours. This time though, it was more serious. It seemed the tummy bug had jumped ship from Sonny to Andrew. He took to bed and moaned a lot while making regular trips to the bathroom. I sighed, thinking another bad case of man illness. I got on with the day’s tasks but I started to feel a bit ropey around 7pm that evening. I swayed up the stairs and declared I was about to die.

Yes, I was also succumbing to whatever it was that had taken over the Gordon household. I climbed into our bed, feeling rubbish, riding the waves of nausea. Times like this, you need a few bathrooms. Still, even though we were feeling horrible, I felt grateful for the fact that Sonny was OK. That he was clambering on us and smacking us on the face as we were horizontal, wishing we had a magical fairy godmother to look after our darling child until we were both better.

Parenthood is the craziest, most magical thing that has ever happened to me. I’m incredibly grateful to have a son who brings me so much joy. He has completely changed my life. Becoming a parent awakens something in you. For me, I want to step up, be a great parent, the type that he will want to become in the future. Becoming a mum has awakened something else inside me, the need to emerge from the person I’ve hidden behind for too long, the weak, scared, insecure girl. I feel the best I’ve felt in a long, long time. I care so much less about other people’s opinions and it’s very liberating. I’m ready to live and it’s about time.

10 ways your life changes when you become a mum

You take on the most difficult role of your life

It’s long hours and there’s no pay. You’re surviving on your instincts and it’s hard, so hard. There’s little respite when you go to bed, as you’re constantly alert. You live and breathe your new job and you get very little thanks, especially in the very early days. But, it’s so, so rewarding.

You worry less about your own problems

This is actually a good thing if you’re a champion ruminator (like me). While self-reflection is good and healthy, it’s not good to obsess about every bump in the road. Having a baby means you put her or him first and there’s less room for your own worries and niggles.

You avoid drama like the plague

I remember the days that I thrived on it. Now, I shudder thinking at the frivolous things that used to preoccupy my mind. It’s part of growing as a person, but the only place you want to see drama is on Netflix, not your life. Once you cut out unnecessary worrying, you’re left with the important relationships in it and no bull.

Your social life dies

You might be up into the wee hours but you’re not wearing a bodycon dress and clutching a large glass of vino while teetering on killer heels. But, amazingly, you don’t miss it. Hangovers are a thing of the past. Believe me, a screaming baby and a sore head is not what you want to put yourself through. When you and your partner do get the very odd night to yourselves, you’ll spend the entire evening talking about your little monster, erm, angel!

You’ll have little to no disposable income

Money. You used to treat yourself on pay day, now the baby aisle is your go-to destination on every supermarket trip (and sometimes the household cleaning aisle). One of the plus side’s is that you can dress your baby up in a vast array of cute/silly outfits. You gotta to get your kicks where you can, right? Soon, they’ll cringe at the thought of you dressing them.

You don’t care (or care much less) about your appearance

Looking presentable take so much effort. A mum’s uniform should consist of a t-shirt and leggings. It’s comfort over style every time. Besides, you’re going to be covered in food, regurgitated milk, vomit and drool at the end of every day anyway. I’m not a complete neanderthal though, I still love wearing makeup and nice clothes on occasion. It’s good (and important) to feel like you every now and then and you’ll feel and look amazing when you have your face on.

Your immune system will takes a serious beating

Carrying a baby for nine months takes its toll. I’ve no idea how I got through the first six months on virtually no sleep and ding meals. It’s important you do look after yourself, as best you can. Invest in a juicer, meditate and ask for help. I’ve felt crap for the past month, but it’s forcing me to pay attention to my diet and mental health, which is a good thing.

You’ll know the true meaning of exhaustion

Imagine feeling constantly hungover. That’s what the first year of your baby’s life is going to feel like. This could get better or worse depending on your little darling. You might get lucky with a ‘good sleeper’ but prepare for onslaught of sleep deprivation. It ain’t pretty and you will probably count on one hand went you get a decent night’s kip.

Hey, it’s not all bad…

You are the centre of your baby’s world

It’s good to be needed. Despite what it seems, your efforts aren’t going unnoticed. You are looking after a little human being, who will grow up to be a big human being, who will touch the lives of many people. That’s pretty awesome.

You’ll experience the greatest love of all

You will feel many extremes of emotion as a mother. From frustration to desperation to pure and utter joy. But, the most incredible feeling of all is love. There is no love purer or more ferocious than the love you feel for your baby. You will literally do anything for them.

Having a baby changes you beyond recognition – it also changes your relationships. But, parenthood is an incredible, beautiful, terrifying journey but it’s also so much fun.

Bite-size first aid for mini-sized humans

When you have a baby, every fibre of your being is geared towards protecting your precious little bundle. It’s a natural instinct, but sometimes you need a little help in knowing what to do in an emergency. It’s utterly terrifying to think you’ll ever need to use first aid, but it could save your child’s life.

Having come across Mini First Aid on Facebook, an invaluable resource for me as a writer, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. Now, while it would be beneficial for Sonny to know what to do if I trip myself up, or knock myself out on a door frame, (I’m incredibly clumsy), this course is about protecting your little one, obvs. There isn’t a certificate or qualification at the end, something far more valuable – knowledge, which is priceless.

If the face is red, raise the head. If the face is pale, raise the tail.

Let the learning commence!

Run by friendly and very knowledgeable coordinators Ruth and Jodie, the two-hour course was held at Whalley Fine Art Gallery on the Belmont Road. A small group of people, mothers, fathers and grandparents attended. The course comprised of a number of important topics including CPR, broken bones, burns, choking, head bumps, bleeding, febrile seizures and even spotting the signs of meningitis.

Be forceful if you know you’re right.

The course opened with listing the items you would have in a first aid kit at home and some of the contents may surprise you. Interestingly, a credit card is also ideal for removing bee stings. Who knew? CPR was next. It’s definitely not something you want to dwell on. But, if you your baby isn’t breathing, would you know what to do? Jodie used visual aids and did demonstrations. The floor was opened to anyone who wanted to try CPR on the baby and child manikins. I tried CPR on the baby manikin and it’s nothing like what you see on Casualty. There is a technique to it and I found it really beneficial to practice. There is also a well-known children’s song that you can do compressions to. Another section I found very helpful was dealing with choking. As I prepare to wean Sonny (he’s almost six months!), I’m terrified of this happening as babies can choke on pureed food too. At least now, I’ve a good grasp of what to do until professional help arrives.

Let’s face it, accidents happen. From boiling pots, hot straighteners, even hot running bath water, danger is everywhere. I was alarmed to be informed that a baby can be burned by tea after 20 minutes. One thing that was put impressed upon was that, even in an emergency, you should remain as calm as possible. You won’t be any good to anyone if you panic. Also, always, always trust your instincts and go with your gut. Be forceful if you know you’re right.

I was worried that Sonny would play up  during the course but thankfully, he entertained the group with regular burps, yawns and epic grunts. I should have been mortified but you have to see the funny side. I’d definitely recommend this course for new mums or for those who’d like a refresher in first aid. It would also make a thoughtful and potentially lifesaving Christmas gift! And don’t worry, children are quite resilient, so don’t be rushing off to wrap them in cotton wool, which incidentally should never be used on burns! 

Sonny keeping himself entertained.

For more information and to book, visit:

http://www.minifirstaid.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/minifirstaidbelfast/