Becoming a Mother…

Day 2

This post has been a difficult one to write, in fact I started drafting it as ‘2 weeks with Bea’ and got not much further until now. I haven’t yet written about our new arrival, other than to introduce her because it has taken me time to find the words. How to start? To put my words into context, I would never have described myself as maternal – I don’t get ‘broody’ and I would even extend that statement into my pregnancy. I had very real fears that I wouldn’t like being a mum, or that I might resent my baby for the inevitable changes that were about to take place in my life. That probably sounds like I wasn’t ready to have a baby at all, but I had come to realise (much earlier, before we tried to get pregnant) that I would probably never ‘want’ to give up complete freedom to do what I wanted, lazy beach holidays cocktail in hand swinging in a hammock, regular dinners out or last minute plans. But I knew I didn’t want to go through my life without being a parent and building a family with Pete.

First Bath time // Day 5

So it has taken me by surprise just how different I do feel, now that I have a daughter. I should have seen it coming I guess, as everyone always says they fell in love the minute they set eyes on their child, but equally, some of my more honest friends admitted that becoming a mother was a shock, not least due to the physical ordeal and that it took them days or weeks to fully bond with their baby – I suspected I may be the same. In fact the change in me when I first saw Bea was seismic. I finally found the words yesterday when I realised it was like The Big Bang, everything changed in an instant. A whole new universe began and Bea is my Sun.

Now I look back at times I have offered well meaning baby sitting duties to friends with new babies, just to give them time to sleep or shower and they have refused. Now I understand that maybe they didn’t want to be without their baby, even for a minute. I remember trying to reassure chronically fatigued friends that expressing or topping up with formula so their partner could give a bottle while they sleep wasn’t a bad option if it helped them function better. Now I know how they didn’t want anyone else to comfort their baby if they could, even at the expense of their sleep. It shocked me how primal the urge is to hold her sometimes, how much it upsets me when she cries. If I sound crazy, I feel like it at times! I fell hopelessly in love with this little person before I even saw her, the second I heard her cry.

Even now, having written what is here, words fail me. No statement is powerful enough to express how I feel about her or how content I feel with Bea in our lives. I wanted to share these thoughts not just to hear from all the other mothers what they felt in those first heady weeks of becoming a mother, but to reassure those of you who (like I did,) wonder if they will ever be ready or willing to take that unimaginable leap into motherhood.

Tell me, do my words resonate with you or remind you of how you felt? Or do they make you feel more positive about a family in your future one day?


Note: This post is not meant to patronise those of you reading who have never wanted or do not want a family in future, merely to describe how I feel and speak to those who might feel as I did weeks, months and years ago about children in my future.

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37 thoughts on “Becoming a Mother…

  1. I completely understand where you are coming from. I have always wanted a family with my Mr but was worried that I would become miserable about giving up my freedoms and that I wouldn’t be mumsy enough. I also wanted to wait until I felt financially comfortable so as not to have the burden of money hanging over my head. But when we decided that now was the time everything changed. I adored my pudding belly and knew I loved my baby from day one. What I didn’t know or could ever understand was how intense that love would be. After three days of labour and a quick snip my little bear came into this world shocked and silent. The doctor put him on me and I burst into tears. I’m not a crier but I have never felt a bigger outpouring of emotion in my life. It is as you say indescribable. Love, luck & light to you and yours.

  2. Congratulations again!

    This is kind of why I now try to reassure friends not to worry about how they will feel when the baby arrives – not necessarily because it will all be wonderful but because it can be so unlike how you imagine it.

    Personally, I was kind of expecting ‘The Big Bang’ and I wasn’t disappointed. The moment Max was born still takes my breath away when I remember it – I pretty much become speechless thinking about it. I loved the newborn weeks, I was just so overjoyed. Despite swearing I would never have another baby after a tricky pregnancy, the moment Max was placed on my chest when he was born is the reason I know I will try to have more. (I think hormones have put a rose tinted glow on the pain of labour and delivery, ha!).

    He is now six months and although there have been rough spots (with less sleep than in the newborn days occasionally!), it just gets better and better – watching him grow into an amazing little person is, without a doubt, giving us the time of our lives.

    Enjoy these first few precious weeks x

    • Ha! I was so ridiculously broody for the first 2 weeks to have another Fee! It’s only been tempered by the realisation that I wanted to devote everything to her for a while, until the time is right for another. 🙂

  3. At 38+6 weeks pregnant, I’m trying more and more to imagine my birth and meeting my baby, but I find it so hard. I felt much like you before becoming pregnant and, although I love the little baby inside me already, I struggle to imagine that moment people describe and loving anyone that much. It both excites and terrifies me! But I hope it feels as magical as you’ve written about. Congratulations again – You look very happy as a mother!

  4. This has brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully said Rebecca. It makes me want to rush home and give my little one a big squidge. I felt very similarly to you. I was genuinely worried that I wouldn’t fall head over heels for my daughter like everyone says you do and that I’d be a bad mum, lacking in all maternal instinct. Thankfully that didn’t come to pass. The overwhelming need to have her with me and look after her myself actually made me a bit of a crazy lady in the first few months, but hey, I think I was allowed that.

  5. Completely identify with this. I was never further away than the next room for the first 4 months. And it was 7 months before I had an evening out! And no, this did not damage my relationship with my husband in any way. Our son is almost 2 now and my love for him knows no bounds.
    Its a totally primal feeling in those early months, like the cord us still attached and you can feel it stretching.

    • I know what you mean about the cord stretching…
      On day 4 post Bea’s arrival we had Pete’s family over and they were making dinner. We realised we didn’t have something we needed and Pete announced (cue proud smile) that he would take his daughter to the shops to get said item. (A 5 minute walk around the corner.) After a few moments fussing around him, escalating to me issuing ridiculous instructions which culminated with ‘Don’t take your eyes off her for a second’, I promptly burst into tears at the thought of her being ‘taken away from me!’ Pete then of course offered to leave her with me, but in a gigantic effort I pulled myself together as he had just as much right to take her and of course I trust him – after all he loves her just as much as I do. That didn’t make it any easier though! When they got back, all of 20 minutes later I cried again, for being such an awful parent that I would let her go like that after only 4 days! It’s a roller coaster!

  6. Perfect Rebecca, just perfect.
    You have managed to put into words precisely how I felt first time round, whilst I adored being pregnant the actually baby bit terrified me! (My first was also breech and c section, found late so I had v little time to come to terms with it and also felt like I was cheating – I still now 3 years later have feel the need to justify the decision when I talk to people)
    Primal is such a great word to use to describe those feelings, I just thought I was being a more extreme version of my usual control freak but it is so much more.
    Congratulations again to both of you and enjoy your beautiful squidy girl…have you managed to stop smelling her yet?! (Nothing not even freshly baked cookies beats the smell of your own baby?

  7. What a lovely post 🙂 My husband and I are just at the point where we feel like we maybe ready to start trying for our first baby, and its reassuring to know that there won’t necessarily come a point when we feel 100% ready, and that that doesn’t mean it’ll be a disaster! I look forward to experiencing the “big bang” for myself 🙂

  8. Hi Rebecca, Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter.
    I am in the latter stage of the first trimester of pregnancy and like you, I have never felt broody and have never been maternal. I just knew that after four years of marriage it was time for us to start a family, I couldnt imagine growing old with my husband without children.
    Im extremely nervous but also excited. I am so worried about the change in our lifestyle and my body (how vain, I know!). Thanks for your honesty. Seeing my husband so excited about becoming a dad fills my heart with happiness and I know having a child is the right thing for both of us. Despite all my worries, I am so grateful I have been able to get pregnant…the female body is a wonderful thing.
    Hopefully, I will take to motherhood like you have….thanks again.
    I would really love to see a future post on post baby bodies… X

  9. I remember the first day home after having my first daughter, Eska. I remember walking in to the kitchen, placing her in her moses basket that was by the patio doors, stepping back to just look at her and being overwhelmed with a feeling of ‘this is how it feels to know you would do anything, anything to protect a life’. I felt such a deeply intense sense of love and protection. It was quite a defining moment for me and my memories of it are crystal clear to this day. It felt like my awakening.

    Welcome to motherhood Rebecca, it’s the most amazing journey that will undoubtedly span the full spectrum of emotions but that is the ultimate gift in life, it truly is.

    I am so happy for you and Pete, it’s wonderful to see you with little Bea – treasure these beautiful first few weeks and months, they pass by far too quickly. xXx

  10. There is nothing like a mother’a love. It excludes everything else. My son is 10 months and I can practically touch the bond between us. I was never a “broody” person either but motherhood changes you completely and utterly. You will never again be the person you were, but I think it’s a good thing. All the things I said I would never do, I do with happiness now. Best thing ever in my opinion, I love my son with all my heart. X

  11. Brilliant post – you have captured it very well.

    My daughter was born last week and as a mother already I had serious concerns that my heart did not have enough room for another. That the intense and overwhelming love that I already have for my son meant that I couldn’t possibly feel the same for her. Also, her pregnancy was more difficult (not medically) than my son’s and so I worried that I would fail to bond with her on the outside as I had failed to on the inside.

    The moment she was placed on my chest, with her deep blue eyes staring up at me – I was besotted, utterly and completely. The genuine concerns I had vanished and my heart has happily accommodated the same giddy and intense love for both my children.

    Congratulations and welcome to motherhood!

  12. I felt the same. I never realised how much I would love Evelyn or how little I would care about my “old” life. She’s 11 months next week and this week I had my first “night out” – 2.5hrs at a friend’s house less than 5 mins away! This is partly because she’s a bad sleeper, but mostly because I never want to be without her.

    I’ve ignored those who have told me it’s good/healthy/for the best to be away from her. I start back at work in 3 weeks and she’s already started her settling in sessions at nursery, which I dreaded but which she loves! I’m so glad that we’ve had nearly a whole year together & glad that I didn’t leave her. We’ll be separated enough when I’m back at work, and the fact she’s happy in nursery is, I believe, because she’s so secure. All babies and parents are different, but what I’m trying to say is do what you want and what feels right, not what others tell you. You’ve got the rest of your life for date nights.

    Enjoy every minute!

  13. Thank you so much for this post Rebecca. I’ve been reading your blog for the last year or so but have never felt brave enough to post before now.

    I am very newly pregnant and have had similar worries about maternal feelings and life change. Ive also, somewhat selfishly I guess, been worried about the changes to my body. Though I’ve been consumed by anxiety this piece has really helped me.

    I’ve never felt 100% ready but, like you, couldn’t imagine not having a family. Obviously, everyone’s experience is different but it’s so reassuring to know that not only am I not alone but also that so much can be a wonderful surprise.

    Congratulations to you both on Bea – she looks utterly adorable!

  14. Hi Rebecca

    What a lovely post, and a beautiful, munchable dot Bea is!

    I hope you don’t mind, but I think it’s worth saying that not all mums feel this way immediately, and it can be very disconcerting to be more ‘rabbit-in-the-headlights’ than ‘doting-mum’ in the early weeks as culture and the media set us up for glowing, stardust-bathed maternal bonding, and in reality it can take time. I was the first among our friends to have a baby, many of my best mates want to stay child-free, and my first baby (a girl) had colic (crying all day, every day for almost 16 weeks) and it wasn’t until I had my son two years later (no colic, a bit more social support, no dramatic change in identity from career woman to mother) that I realised how early days and weeks can be blissful (albeit still exhausting). I felt love for my daughter but was very distressed by my apparent inability to soothe her (on reflection now there wasn’t much else I could do), the exhaustion due to a lack of social support and endless crying, and felt like I’d made a huge mistake having her, and craved my old life. Thankfully this passed, but if anybody else out there is feeling that way, I’d just like to reassure them that it gets better, you are a good mum, and unfortunately, babies don’t all come out behaving in the same way, what worked for your mum/someone in your postnatal group/the lady in the supermarket might not be right for your baby, and trust your instincts, don’t give up, and tell people how you feel, and seek help if you are feeling low.

    But fortunately it isn’t like that for most people, so enjoy!


    • No I don’t mind at all – thats exactly what I expected and I think it still would have been a totally normal reaction if it had happened like that. Also, Bea has been a delight to have (90% of the time!) and I am very aware that my feelings may not have come so easily if I had struggled with her. Still now it’s easy to feel inadequate and overwhelmed when that little face screws up with a cry and you don’t know why or how to fix it.

      • The “How do I fix this?” bit gets easier as they grow. I love it now they’re bigger and I can almost always make it better (and they come running for kisses and cuddles). I may change my tune when the teenage years come along, though… x

  15. From someone who at 31 feels undecided about motherhood but who at the same time felt it was right to end a relationship with someone who absolutely didn’t want a family, this has made me feel so much better for not accepting that uncertainty as confirmation that it probably wasn’t for me. I sometimes find it hard reading about other peoples *successful* family and relationships because the prospect of a boyfriend/husband let alone a family at this point in time seems/feels almost impossible but this post has certainly encouraged me to have faith in my recent decision and to go on looking for someone who like me might be unsure but who is also receptive to the prospective of starting a family. Thanks so much for articulating your fears/anxieties about becoming mother and very many congratulations.

  16. Rebecca, this is absolutely beautiful. There is a lot of stigma around not feeling particularly maternal and it’s reassuring to hear that you even felt that way during pregnancy. Not all of us are hard-wired to want to pop out babies, even though we do have the vaguer, broader desire for a family in general, and with all that’s involved in bringing a child into the world (er, and looking after him or her for the next 18 years), it’s pretty daunting when you just don’t feel it. In fact, it seems insurmountable until the point you just decide to go for it, what the heck, and then spend 9 months freaking out about meeting this new person. So thank you for your honesty and enjoy beautiful Bea and your new family xx

    • Having a baby is a pretty big deal. I think it’s normal to obsess over the decision and it’s implications. And to be honest, although I wanted to share this, as much for people who weren’t sure as those who were, or were already mums, I don’t know if reading something like this would have reassured me, so convinced was I that I would be immune to a baby’s allure!

  17. This is a lovely post. I have to say I didn’t feel a rush of love when Megan was born, or at least not in the way I expected. I expected to feel pure clean love, the way I would kill someone for harming my sister, I thought I knew what maternal meant. I didn’t. What I feel for her is too much to put into words, it isn’t as simple as love, it’s primal, deep, overwhelmingly huge. It isn’t a straightforward as I thought it would be, I thought I would love her simply but it’s way more than I anticipated. The strength of it knocked me sideways, and I have to admit I was somewhat overwhelmed for the first fe days of her life.

    That said, I totally love handing her to my Mum/sister/Dad to hold while I shower or nap. Partly because showering makes me feel human, and lack of sleep led to me having anxiety attacks in the first few weeks, exhaustion plus overwhelming emotion = crazy-ass anxiety relapse, but partly because I love to see Megan in the arms of her wider family, and to know how much she is loved, already.

    KL xx

    • I hear you! My Mum/sisters have watched Max here and there for a couple of hours since he was a couple of weeks old do I could shower/sleep etc etc.

      And since he was about 3 months old I have gone out one evening every couple of weeks (leaving him in the very capable hands of his Daddy) because I realized that I was only ever talking about babies and spending time with other Mums with babies and it was driving me a bit mental. Not sure I’m supposed to admit that but that short time away from him every so often makes me appreciate our ample time together!

      Leaving him is always hard but made easier by the fact he’s asleep and doesn’t know I’ve gone. Because of course he is always an angel when Daddy is in charge!

  18. Really beautifully written and I hope to feel like that one day.
    Congratulations she is completely completely gorgeous.

  19. What a lovely post. I’m very happy for you and it is brilliant that Bea is so loved. I’m one of those that doesn’t have the urge to have children and,at 35 in a months time, probably never will. I don’t begrudge you anything to do with your wonderful bundle of joy. Enjoy the following days, months and years as she grows.

  20. I’m a fifty year old follower Rebecca – I loved your honest and heart warming post. I look back at the early days of having my 3 as genuinely the happiest and most fulfilling days of my whole life. I was never broody before having child no 1, she was not even planned but although I never had the intense bond you describe ( I was more than happy for hubby to take over for an hour or two!) I couldn’t believe how utterly womanly and fulfilled I felt for the first few weeks of their lives. It was my favourite period of parenthood! Enjoy every second with your gorgeous girl!

  21. That first paragraph you wrote is exactly me!! I also didn’t feel particularly broody and certainly didn’t want to give us my lovely holidays. But as much as I loved my old life I would never want to go back because going back would mean no Annie and that is something that doesnt bear thinking about. She has brought us immense and utter joy! (That’s the only word I can think of that describes it!) I remember thinking in those early days how much I didn’t want her to grow up and I still feel a little bit like that even though I love the stage she is at now (almost walking and babbling) It just goes too quickly.

    In fact i was talking to my friend about it a few months ago. She is almost 35 and debating whether she is ready to have children and whether she might regret it once she had them. I said to her – regretting it just isn’t even an option, you will never regret having them, you may in hindsight think you had an easier life (!) before but once they get here you will never want to go back. (Obviously just my opinion but that’s how I feel!)

    I don’t think I left her at all in those first few months but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. We didn’t have any date nights etc as I was bf and she hadn’t taken a bottle at that stage. I didn’t mind at all though and I really thought I would. It surprised me! That said I do now relish the opportunity to walk down the road without being weighed down by a changing bag and pram sometimes! Its like being free!!!

    Lovely post – I am so happy for you.

    Rachie xo

  22. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it was my husband who first held Calum the moment after he was born and not me (cord and placenta problems in the birthing pool), or something else, but I was certainly in the “it took a day or so to bond with baby” camp. Don’t get me wrong, we wanted to be parents, and I was so excited for the birth of our baby, not knowing the sex really helped me through labour and pushing as I was so excited to meet them to find out if it was a boy or girl, but it took a good 24 hours for me to realise and comprehend that I was now a mother to this tiny being lying beside me in a plastic box. Now, just over two years on, I can’t imagine life without him. He’s a smart, funny, gorgeous little boy who brings us so much joy, and the unconditional love I feel is amazing – quite overwhelming at times. But hubby and I still have the all-important couple time. He was quite small when I left him for the first time (2.5 months and I was away for three nights for work) but I called Hubby and Mum and Dad THE WHOLE TIME! I also had to leave for long periods at the weekends due to Marathon training soon after birth (a month or so), but in the end, it’s all helped shape who he is – I believe he’d be a totally different character if i hadn’t have let that cord stretch as far as I did early on. Returning to work after 6 months also contributed to this. He’s a confident little boy who is easy and affectionate in people’s company. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

  23. So many congratulations to you both, your daughter is beautiful.
    This post resonated with me so much. I too was not particularly maternal, having been a career girl all my life and never really feeling I could manage that life and a baby.
    And then along came my daughter Etienne and from the moment they handed her to me to cuddle, swaddled in a little towel, for skin to skin cuddles, my heart literally flooded with overwhelming love. I sobbed my eyes out when I first held her. And that sense of being fiercely protective to the point of nothing else being important, has never left. She’s now four, about to start school and those feelings are stronger than ever.
    Being a mum has been the making of me. I never imagined for a moment I’d say that.
    Motherhood is overwhelmingly emotional, its the hardest thing I have ever done in my life (and I speak as a former BBC news correspondent at the cutting edge of stress and demanding schedules!) but it’s also the most amazing thing I’ve ever achieved. I’m honoured to be the mum of this little life, full of promise and hope who has enriched my life beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
    Good luck to you both as you venture into the new life together as parents. There really is no other journey like it xxx

  24. This is a beautiful post Rebecca. I wish I could say I understand this feeling, but I don’t. for me growing to love my baby has been a slow burn. I felt distinctly underwhelmed when he was plonked on my chest at delivery, and it those first few sleepless weeks I found it a blessed relief to relinquish the responsibility to a trusted other for a few hours while I rested. I did have the same anxieties about why is he crying, how do I fix it though. I’m afraid I have’t enjoyed the first few weeks of motherhood at all, and I had no doubts during my pregnancy at all, in fact it was something I’d wanted for several years. Thankfully, there is now light at the end of the tunnel and every smile and giggle melts my heart just a little bit more.
    Feeling like this made me feel I must be a rubbish mother, and I felt like the only person not to immediately love their baby overwhelmingly, until one of my friends told me she had felt the same, and I wanted to represent that view here too.

  25. Thanks so much for this post Rebecca, it’s moved me to tears.

    I have always known one day I would become a parent but like you, love my life and independence too much. I have always worried that I wouldn’t bond with my baby, or would make a rubbish mother. You’re words have given me hope and reassurance.

    Thank you my love x

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