Separating ‘The Mum’ from ‘The Student’

It’s a lot harder than I anticipated.

I was worried, before SB arrived, that I wouldn’t be able to stop being a student, and I’d find it difficult to adjust to being a mum. Much to my surprise, I’ve found the opposite – I love being her mum. Everyone’s said I’ve taken to it like a natural, and if I can be big-headed for a while I’d be inclined to agree – it just feels like the most natural thing in the world. The difficulty is in going back to being a student.

I’ve got a couple of essays due in – one for the 30th of this month, and the other for the 16th May – and I’d hoped, what with thinking I had until the 28th, to have finished them before SB arrived. Of course, with her coming three weeks early, it threw all the plans into disarray – not that I’m complaining, I absolutely wouldn’t be without her! – so I’m left in the odd situation of trying to finish my essay with a two week old baby (two weeks old today!). I could apply for an extension, and I’m not necessarily opposed to doing that, but if I can avoid it I’d like to – the sooner I can get the work done, the better. I’ve got incentives in place – as well as finishing uni for the summer once these essays are handed in, we’ll be taking SB back to our hometown for the weekend, to see the sea and the beach for the first time and to see family. 

We’ve been discharged from the midwives and are meeting the health visitor for the first time today, which I’m a little bit nervous about – I’m not entirely sure what a health visitor does, apart from weighing the baby (and I really hope her weight is ok, we’ve been struggling with bottlefeeding but finally seem to have cracked it, so if there’s a problem, I may cry). I’ve heard a lot of horror stories – but in fairness, I heard horror stories about the hospital where I gave birth, and yet I’d recommend it to absolutely anyone, so you can’t always believe what you hear!

As for the physical recovery, it’s taking so much longer than I thought, and it is frustrating – I want to be able to get out and about and do everything I want to do, and I want to be able to walk around with SB without struggling, and get up and do her bottles and changes with ease, but it is a long process. The stitches are the most painful part – and from a slightly more vain point of view, I am worried about what my bits will look like afterwards, because the doctor made no secret of the fact that it looked a mess at the time, but I’m hoping that’s just because anyone’s bits would look a mess after pushing a 7lb baby out. Emotionally I think I did get the ‘baby blues’ three or four days in, along with my milk coming in (I can’t wait for that to dry up, it is sore and uncomfortable and inconvenient and useless too!), but I’ve been very lucky and so far, emotionally I feel great – going into everything with a positive viewpoint has been so important, but I know I’m lucky and that for some women, no amount of positive thinking can prevent them from getting postnatal depression.

D has gone back to work – only for a couple of hours per shift to begin with, so that we can both ease into it – him back into working, and me into looking after SB alone. The first shift was nervewracking, but I’m starting to get a bit more confident with her – it’s taken two weeks, but I’ve finally realised that yes, I can pop her down to sleep in the moses basket next to me while I get on with some work. Until now I’d been spending all day holding her, which is lovely but not exactly the best way of getting work done.

It has been a crazy, whirlwind two weeks, but it’s actually really hard to believe that she’s ever not been a part of my life, never mind that she shouldn’t even have been born yet, technically. It’s also hard to imagine her not being a girl – D and I were discussing it yesterday; it’s like we’ve known she was a girl all along. She’s never been a boy, not really (which is weird, considering we have both insisted she was a boy for the last 20 weeks of the pregnancy, based on nothing more than a feeling). She’s just a little sweetheart.

And just to show you the change two weeks can make, you saw her as a newborn in the post announcing her birth – now here she is, two weeks on.



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