I AM not
sure there has been another week when my life changed so utterly.
The loss of my mother six years ago shook me. I knew I would never be the same inside but I was able to go back to my life and continue with familiar routines.
Bringing baby Callum home from the hospital in February 2017 was utterly life-changing. His vulnerability and total dependence on us was enough to make me breathless. Our responsibility for this helpless little being was total when we left the hospital doors.
I arrived home to flowers, chocolates and photos already in their frames of that first shot of Callum in my arms. It was a wonderful beginning.
Then reality kicked in and it became apparent how unprepared we were, even in the practical arrangements of the home. We have no family support close by as Gary is from Australia and I am from the east coast. Added to that, we had a substitute public health nurse who operated with a no-nonsense, pull-yourself-together policy. She left, I had a meltdown, and Gary and I had our first blazing row.
It was awful. I felt like such a failure. Wasn’t this time supposed to be filled with joy and happiness and togetherness? I was obviously overloaded with chaotic hormones.
The nurse was right about one thing though - we put the word out for no visitors until after the first week. People respected this and it really helped. By the second day we had a better grip on the household arrangements and had something of a system. I was breastfeeding, which took up every ounce of my mental and physical energy.
Being older first-time parents (I was 43 and Gary 45) makes things harder in ways. You are not as adaptable, you think of the consequences of everything and you struggle to let go of your old life. I remember sitting up in bed at 3 a.m. on the third night home feeding Callum and suddenly thinking, 'What have I done? Why did I do this? I had a perfectly nice life and there is no going back'. Probably not a thought you should admit to, but there it was.
Of course, the abiding and overpowering emotion of that first week was love - being in love like never before. No one had ever captured my heart in this way and by doing so little.
Mummy Mania – Diary of a First-Time Mum is a new monthly blog, written by Barbara Daly, from Louisburgh. You can read her column in our print edition on the first Tuesday of each month.