What I wish I’d known

shutterstock_445014115Every now and then certain pregnancy/parenting topics pop up that start a conversation, create a debate and then usually end up being labelled “mummy wars”.  I don’t buy into the whole mummy war thing – I’ve never personally come across it and I don’t know anyone who has.

Unless people are talking about me behind my back.

Anyway, one such topic that is back doing the rounds (or perhaps hasn’t ever stopped) is the whole c section versus natural birth .

How is this even a thing?

About 6 weeks after Charlie was born, I left our apartment building to go for a walk.  I met a neighbour in the foyer and god knows how but the conversation of childbirth came up.  He asked how the whole labour thing went and so I told him that I had a scheduled c section.  His response, and I’m not kidding, was “ooh, were you too posh to push?”.

Did he just say that out loud?

Oh yes he did.

I was too shocked that he’d actually said this to be offended.  I actually laughed at him.  I wear my caesarean scar with a shit load of pride because it is a very personal reminder of what my body had been through and what it was finally able to do.  My scar is the hallmark of a miracle and no amount of bio oil can take that away from me.

My c section was elective in that at about 7 months pregnant, my obstetrician and I started talking about birthing options.  A 42, I was medically deemed a “geriatric mother” (I know right? Yet I’m strangely not offended by this).  I’d put my body through the slog of IVF, I had a complicated pregnancy so in my head I figured I’d put my body through enough nonsense and that it didn’t deserve labour.  There was nothing natural about getting pregnant, nor staying pregnant so why the hell worry about wrapping it all up the way nature intended.  I was hardly going to get hung up on the finer details.  Medical experts got me pregnant so they could damn well close the deal for me as well.  It would never occur to me to not be anything but proud of having Charlie this way.  I didn’t feel regret leading up to the birth and I certainly don’t regret it now.  I knew that my status as a mother isn’t defined by how I delivered the baby.

This made me think of all of the other things I’ve done since becoming a mother that I stupidly and smugly said I would never do that I can now unashamedly admit that things didn’t quite go as planned.

Breastfeed. I sucked at it.  So did Charlie.  Metaphorically, not physically. Even the Lactation Consultant I hired had to concede that it was a bit problematic. I pumped as if I belonged at a petrol station, I tried and I sort of persisted, but not for long. Certainly not as long as others would have tried for.  I didn’t do it, I couldn’t do it and I don’t even remember feeling all that bad about it.  I remember feeling a bit slack for giving up so soon, but at no point did I feel guilt that I was depriving my son of anything.

As far as sleeping went, Charlie was a swing baby.  He spent his first 8 months having all of his naps in a swing. I swear I googled *baby naps in swing* *baby addicted to swing* *can babies get addicted to swings* every single day. I was in a permanent state of obsessive worry about our swing habit.  If only I’d spent more time napping when he napped and less time on google because he never did become addicted to the swing.  So if you are reading this because you have come across this blog post because your googling the words baby, swing, addiction – here’s the thing – don’t sweat it.  Your baby will not spend the rest of their life in a swing.  Oddly enough Charlie will not go near the swing at the park so go figure.

When Charlie first started solids the kitchen looked like a god damn Golden Circle cannery.  I pureed everything in sight. Never was I going to give him a store purchased pouch thing. But I did. Often.  I can’t even remember why which is good because it’s so bloody irrelevant.  He was especially fond of the Heinz Bolognese in a jar  Bloody awful stuff.  But fed and alive is the name of the game.

Screen time.  I allow it and I don’t think much about this because shit has to get done, like cook dinner.. I am happy that Peppa is distracting him because when the stove is on and the oven is on the last place I want Charlie is near by.  As irritating as she is, Peppa is a welcome and safe distraction.  We spend a lot of time doing activities, imagination play, park dates, music classes, play dates.  Screen time is just another thing.  I remember when MM and I were sans child and we would go out for lunch or dinner and witness parents give their child a phone or ipad to distract them.  Shoot me now because I actually said that we would “never do that.”   Was it my jealously of those parents that made me so ignorant and such a smart arse?  I hereby apologise to any parent I ever judged before I became a parent.  Only today, MM and I were out with Charlie for a “family day out”.  We’d selected a reasonably family friendly looking place (the criteria is simple – do they have pasta on the kids menu and do the waiters look like they work and walk fast?)  The only way we were getting Charlie to sit still in his high chair was because we put Go Jetters on the ipad.

If you are looking for parenting advice this isn’t the website for you.

Here’s some advice though.

I wish as a new mother I didn’t care about all of these things that I cared about so much in the early days.  I cared so much that I would worry about them constantly. Sometimes the anxiety around such stupid shit would take my breath away.  Crazy.

Looking back, none of it counted.

A wise woman once said “Bugger that crap” and she lived happily ever after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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