My name is Helen and I’m a working mum and parent to Small Boy – a two year old who is the light of my life and easily the best thing that’s happened to me. I live in South Wales with my husband and cat that suffers from OCD. I blog at www.welshmumwriting.com when I can grab twenty minutes to my self.
Tell us something we do not know about you?
I’m a geriatric mum. I just turned 41 when I had Small Boy. I don’t often talk about it as age isn’t important, but I do want other women to know that if you are an older mum, you’re not alone and it’s not that uncommon anymore.
When you were a child yourself… did you have opinions about the sort of mother you may be?
Not really. I never really gave it much thought. I suppose I thought about it more in my teens, when I thought I’d be liberal and laid back. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get married, but I remember thinking that I wanted to be a mum and that I’d probably make a decision to have one on my own.
How was your first pregnancy? Did it go smoothly?
My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at five weeks. It was devastating. My pregnancy with Small Boy was the second and that went remarkably smoothly until the end, but it’s all relative. He’s happy and healthy and I had a good delivery so I’m not complaining.
How did you plan your birthing process?
I went to a National Childbirth Trust birth preparation class and listened to lot of podcasts and read a lot of books on hypnobirthing. Because of my age and some medical issues ( a wonky womb and IVF) I was under the care of a consultant for my whole pregnancy, but had hoped I could have a midwife delivery in the midwifery led ward of my local hospital. I held onto that hope until the end, but then 3 weeks before my due date I was told Small Boy was breech. A week later I had a Cesarean. That was a great success and the whole team in theatre were amazing.
What is your most vivid memory of this time?
In some ways it felt like a blur. It was summer for most of my pregnancy. I wore a lot of maxi dresses and flip flops. My skin and nails looked great. I felt amazing pregnant. It was frustrating in some ways as I was on “no exercise/no housework” rule so I felt amazing and super fit but wasn’t allowed to do anything. I loved being pregnant!
What do you remember of bringing your baby home?
Relieved as I was desperate to get out of hospital. I had a huge struggle with breastfeeding. Small Boy wouldn’t latch and my milk didn’t come in so they kept me in hospital trying to help me feed, but in the end I had to come out and mix feed. I remember thinking ” I want to get out of here”, but also ” I don’t even know how to make up a bottle, I’m meant to be breastfeeding, how will I manage?”. It was wonderful to be home though and as soon I got in I felt relieved. My first day in hospital in the post surgery ward was wonderful but the two days after that had been hell.
Do you remember the next time you left the house?
I do. Because of the C-section I couldn’t manage to get the pram out of our house on my own as there are steps, and I couldn’t drive. It was nearly two weeks after and my husband took me and the baby to a tea rooms and we had lunch out. It was fabulous. Although it was October the sun was shining and it was a mild day. It was amazing.
How would you describe this time?
The first two weeks seemed like a real fight. It was exhausting. I was still trying to breastfeed as much as I could and was up on the hour every hour feeding for 40 minutes at a time, with Small Boy wanting feeding again 20 minutes later. When I wasn’t doing that I was attached to a breast pump. Nothing was working. It was full of lactation consultants and support groups. I was about to lose my mind and then a midwife said to me that I’d done my very best and nobody was going to judge me for stopping breastfeeding. Once I’d accepted that it just might not happen for us, I felt a lot better. Despite the sleepness nights, Small Boy was happy and only waking every few hours for a feed. Once all rested it was fab! Although it can seem difficult when you’re in it, the difficult times do pass and you will learn to deal with the lack of sleep. They were joyous times, particularly after 6 weeks when I could start driving again. Small Boy and I went out and about meeting our other mummy and baby friends a lot.
Do you remember what questions you were asking back then?
Mostly stupid questions about if he was a “good baby”, whatever that is, and “does he sleep?”. I ignored most of them.
How did you answer these questions?
“He’s a baby.”
What did you miss from the life you had before you became a mother?
Alone time. I’m an introvert so for me it’s essential to have quiet time to mentally recharge. I’m never alone now and that can be difficult.
For you, what was the best part of what was happening at the time?
Just being with my Son. I’d waited so long for him it was just amazing to have him. Watching him sleep and his little mouth pursing was amazing. And the cuddles!On a practical note, knowing that I didn’t have to worry about money or time and that I could enjoy my maternity leave with my son. Because we had been trying for a baby for so long, I’d put aside some money. Also, it was good that he was still at an age you could put him down for a nap in the moses basket and he wasn’t going to go anywhere – now he’s a toddler he is on the go all the time!
Tell us about your [figurative] crutches at this time? (apart from chocolate)
TV streaming subscriptions. Being able to watch something decent at 3am became incredibly important.
What do you say to expectant mothers now?
Do what you think is right for you and your family, unless someone is telling you it’s actually dangerous. There’s no right way to raise a child. As long as you’re all alive and fed then it’s a good day.
What your family is like today?
We still just have Small Boy and as I’m 43 and he still doesn’t sleep through a night (he’s two) I’m not sure we will be having another. He was a miracle and a blessing so I don’t feel like there’s anything missing. We are lucky to have him and I feel blessed as it is. We still live in the same house, although we only have one cat now. We did have two others but they passed away.
How do you spend quality time together?
We like to get out as much as possible. We all love food so going out for a walk or to a farm and then eating out as a family features a lot. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy an occasional day in building towers with building blocks.
How is your life different now, compared to when your child was an infant?
It’s more limited in some ways. I’m back in work and so everything is a lot more scheduled. It’s much more of a juggling act, particularly as he’s older now and has his own views on what he will and won’t do!
How can our readers connect with you?
Follow my blog at www.welshmumwriting.com or on any of my social media channels.www.twitter.com/
Would you like to tell us about what you do and why you do it?
I blog because I want other working mums ( and older mums) to know that they aren’t alone in being stressed or under pressure. I blog because I’m pretty good and making time and money work for me so I like to share those tips – another pressure that all parents want to minimise. I also need a creative outlet. I used to write fiction and had several books published but that’s one plate I just can’t find time to spin right now.