When I had my first baby, Jake, I had already been a midwife for 10 years. My experience included working in hospitals and visiting new mums in the first week after discharge. I had also studied lactation and qualified as a child health nurse. With all my professional experience I should have been well prepared for life as a new mum. Breastfeeding did come easily (I joked he must have heard me teaching new mums how to feed ?) but even as a midwife I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster that is mothering!

I was not prepared for the overwhelming feeling of being tied to my baby who cried whenever I gave him to anyone else. He didn’t seem to sleep in his bassinet the way the CaFHS nurses had trained me to train other mums. He made so many noises I hadn’t recognised as a midwife swanning in and out of mothers hospital rooms. I was terrified of falling asleep with him in my bed so sleep deprived lay on the sofa with him to feed. This was much greater risk of SIDS than laying on my firm mattress in bed!

No one ever warned me of the tension you feel that you can’t simply “pop” down to the shops for a quick carton of milk. The resentment you feel that your partner goes to work, goes to the toilet and has uninterrupted coffee breaks. No one told me it would be the first time of my life when I would actually forget to eat meals! Having said that, I was fortunate to have a supportive husband who took 6 weeks off work and cooked amazing food for us. I also had a mum who was excited and happy to help.

My professional life probably made me a little too blasé about some illness and much too overreactive to others… I under-reacted when my son had an anaphylaxis to peanuts and over-reacted every time he had a temp or a cough… although I under-reacted during what we later found out was his first asthmatic episode, believing his blue lips were due to the ice block we had given him to make sure he was well hydrated ?

So you see, even as a ‘professional’ it took me some adjusting! Bringing home a new baby be it your first, second or fifth is a big change. Be kind to yourself, accept the help of others, and don’t stress out if your baby doesn’t follow the rules of that book you read – after all baby certainly hasn’t read it ??