Emma Jones About Giving Birth And Parenting

Would you like to tell us about your pregnancy experience and the birth?

My pregnancy was a lot easier than I expected, although maybe I had really low expectations! It surprised me that I felt really well and I still had a lot of energy for things. For the majority of my pregnancy I carried on working pretty hard, seeing friends, exercising and generally doing everything I enjoy. It was only really the last few weeks that I wanted to flake out on the sofa and that I found it quite an effort to move about. It did get a bit boring not being able to go out and have a bottle of wine though, I won’t pretend I didn’t miss that.

In terms of the birth, I had a planned c-section and, for me, it was a really positive experience. I was lucky to have an obstetrician I trusted implicitly and I think that really made a big difference. Although, I won’t lie, day two was complete agony. I’m talking doubled over trying to walk. The morphine helped tremendously, I should have had that earlier. I remember sitting in hospital being concerned about just how long being bent double might last, but I made a speedy recovery and I was always able to look after my baby. Within the first week I was picking things up, pushing the buggy - I even made it to the pub on day four! Likewise, I was cleared to drive within a few weeks. You can get great leggings that have a highly elasticated band around the middle - these were the best thing ever.
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How did you find coping with a new baby in the first three weeks, three months, six months?

The first two weeks were a breeze. My baby mostly just slept, fed and looked cute. I had one afternoon of being totally irrational and crying when my milk came in, but other than that, I loved it and would do it again next week - it was such a magical time. Week three, one hour before my mother arrived (thank god), the baby started crying and didn’t stop. Colic. He screamed for several hours at a time, one night through an entire dinner party start to finish and onward until 5am. I was googling ‘colic’ to find out how long this was going to last and yielding horrifying results. Luckily it did not last eight months. It got steadily better from week three and was probably done by the time he was three months. And by three months it felt like I had most things sorted out, and had figured out routines that made everything quicker and more manageable. That all changed at six months when he started on solids; I was almost reticent to introduce solids because it felt like so many chores to fit into the day, but I found it quite rewarding once I got started and cooking gave me a sense of achieving something.

What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of motherhood?

The most difficult bit, probably getting to six or seven months and not having had a full night’s sleep. I’d probably let some bad habits creep in whilst he’d been teething and by six months he was waking more, not less, at night. by seven months I was at the point it was becoming an issue for my own sense of well-being, I couldn’t remember things and was starting every day feeling shattered. I realised that I really couldn’t let it go on, so we started sleep training using the advice that had given to me by of one of my NCT friends who had had a sleep counsellor - it changed everything in two days. It was such a turnaround for the books that frankly it was a bit like a miracle! He’s eight months old now he sleeps pretty much 7am-7pm.

What do you find to be the easiest?

The enjoyment of spending time with my baby, I really enjoy his company and I didn’t expect that - I had thought the days might feel quite lonesome.

What would be your main tip to first-time mothers?

Consider following a routine. I followed a routine from day one; initially I saw a routine as being organised and allowing me to maintain some sense of control over something I knew nothing about. However, on reflection, those are things that you could choose to layer over the top of a routine: most humans follow a routine of eating and sleeping at certain times, no matter how organised or controlling you may be by nature.

What was the best piece of equipment you bought/found most useful?​

A Sleepyhead. When I was busy buying everything I was struck by how many places I seemed to need for the baby to sleep - a cot, a Moses basket, a pram. Having bought all these, when I then bought a Sleepyhead I immediately felt ridiculous for having wasted money on another alternative place for my baby to sleep. It was hands-down the best thing I bought, such that I bought additional mattress covers because I couldn't face the thought of not having the Sleepyhead for him to sleep in. In many ways it’s nothing more than a giant pillow, but if you are following the advice on not letting your baby sleep alone for the first six months it allows your baby to sleep anywhere you are - on a nearby sofa, floor, table etc. My baby loved it more than the Moses basket (although I still used the Moses basket at night next to our bed) and he slept in it until six/seven months, using it to make the transition to his cot.

What do you find is the hardest situation with a young baby?​

Releasing that sometimes, if your baby has colic, no matter what you do they are not going to stop crying. And that none of the anti-colic medicine really works!

What did you find was the hardest and most difficult aspect of being an expectant mother, when it came to researching and obtaining information prior to the birth e.g. necessities, products, equipment?​​

There is such an enormous baby market now that there is almost too much choice and it’s really difficult to differentiate between the different products. I think I spent three weeks alone researching which cot to buy.

What do you do with your young baby to keep her/him entertained as the weeks go by?​​​​

I give him a running commentary on everything I’m doing - I’m not sure how interesting he finds it, but he is starting to try to speak back to met.

What did you find was the hardest and most difficult aspect of being an expectant mother, when it came to researching and obtaining information prior to the birth e.g. necessities, products, equipment?​​

There is such an enormous baby market now that there is almost too much choice and it’s really difficult to differentiate between the different products. I think I spent three weeks alone researching which cot to buy.

What do you do with your young baby to keep her/him entertained as the weeks go by?​​​​

I give him a running commentary on everything I’m doing - I’m not sure how interesting he finds it, but he is starting to try to speak back to met.

What did you find was the hardest and most difficult aspect of being an expectant mother, when it came to researching and obtaining information prior to the birth e.g. necessities, products, equipment?​​

There is such an enormous baby market now that there is almost too much choice and it’s really difficult to differentiate between the different products. I think I spent three weeks alone researching which cot to buy.

What would you do again and what would you not do?​​​​

I would still do a lot of research into everything I bought – apart from maybe one thing, I feel as though I made the right choices. I don’t think I looked forward to the first few weeks/months enough, not because I was worried, I just didn’t know what to look forward to - I would try to look forward to it even though I didn’t know what I was looking forward to.

Would you have another child?​​

I’ve only ever imagined myself with a son, and I’m very happy with my boy.

What would you do again and what would you not do?​​​​

Look forward to it, you’re lucky to have such magical moments to come.