Mama Time

Mama time is a strange entity. Since I have become a mother there have been many times I have watched the clock. Minutes feeling like hours as I waited for a babe to sleep/feed/stop crying, doing everything I could to love and care for such a little being, yet impatiently waiting for a moment when I could finally sleep/eat/do anything for me. Yet earlier this week as I walked away from ‘big school’ where I had left my littlest boy, for his settling in session, I realised I have now been a Mum for 6 years and 3 months. This realisation came as a real shock. How can it be that at times I have watched the clock so closely, yet so many years later here I am walking away from the school gates without a small person clutching my hand? The moment felt surreal. The mama time that I counted the minutes of so closely has actually slipped through my fingers like sand.

When I was pregnant for the first time I had been qualified as a Midwife for 7 years. I knew pregancy, birth and the postnatal period inside out. Professionally I had pretty much seen it all, but experiencing it personally was another thing entirely. I totally underestimated the effect of the transition from woman to mother would have on me. From the moment I saw my baby boy my heart exploded with love. He became my entire world. I completely immersed myself in being his mum. The pregnancy and birth were not easy, nor was establishing breastfeeding with a particularly sleep averse infant. I knew the script, I had seen this many times before. But to feel the script was a different matter entirely. I was no longer the one walking out the door to come back the following day to ‘check on the feeding’. I was the one left holding the invariably screaming baby. I knew this was all totally normal yet felt completely out of my depth with the relentless lack of sleep and the responsibility of keeping this baby, who I loved so much, safe.

As the days passed in to months I found my stride; I took time to rest, I made time to socialise, I put the baby books away and trusted my instinct. I learnt that mum really does know best. This is not to say I had motherhood sussed in a few months. Far from it. I just learnt some coping mechanisms and what worked best for me and our family. Some days were brilliant, when the planets aligned, and everything went smoothly. Other days we simply survived. When boy number two arrived I was better equipped for the transition from mum-of-one to mum-of-two, but there have still been challenges along the way. Every age and every stage seems to bring new and different challenges. My Cousin wisely advised me that ‘it doesn’t get easier, it just gets different’. I would agree, but time and experience helped me to develop coping mechanisms I needed to face the demands of being a mother. The sleep deprivation does ease, as does the relentless neediness of a newborn baby or toddler, which are mentally and physically exhausting.

As a Midwife I have often heard women voice the fact that they felt totally unprepared for motherhood. I fell in to this category. And really I was a woman who knew more than most what a life changing event becoming a mother is. Is it that the focus in our society is to have ‘things’ organised; decorate the nursery, buy the pram, wash the clothes, pack the baby bag. In all the practical preparations are we missing the opportunity to mentally prepare for the changes? Or is it that the birth is focused on so greatly that the postnatal period is forgotten? Is it that our society promotes organisation, getting in to a routine and getting rid of the baby weight as the epitome of modern motherhood, and when inevitably women fall short of this ideal it seems harder to cope?  Are we doing enough to prepare new mothers? Is it a combination of all these factors? Is there anything we, as individuals and as a society, can do to help? I don’t have the answers to these questions but as a Midwife and a Mother I feel they are questions that should be asked and considered.

As I walked away from the school gates I saw the irony that there have been moments when I have wished the clock to move forward, yet now it seems that time is moving too fast for me to catch up with. Over the years my patience has been tested to it’s absolute limit yet every tired, fed-up, frustrated, stressed and anxious moment has been worth it for the heart bursting love and soul singing pride I feel for my boys as I am watching them grow. That is what I want pregnant and new mamas to know. The hard work is most definitely worth it. With time, patience, love and support your children will grow, and so will you as their mother. This is the essence of Birthing Mamas Blog; a blog written to support women in their physical and emotional transition to motherhood.



24 thoughts on “Mama Time

  1. Well said Hannah! I felt the same about you and Howard, exactly as you have described. A generation apart but the same feelings, so much love,watching the clock, counting the months then ‘ oh no, slow down’ I’m already thinking ‘ oh no!’ as the two little grandsons join their brothers at school in September!!!

  2. What a beautiful read. This actually made me cry, as i sit nursing my 8 week old across my knee, i realised that here i am wishing for the day to come when my boy will sleep through the night or when i will actually have a routine in place but not actually ‘thinking’ that when that day comes he will be so much older from now and the day i take him to the school gates is not that far around the corner. Time is precious…. Superb read, please keep them coming!! #watchthisspace

  3. Hannah, just over 11 years ago you saw my tears as you helped me on my journey to meeting my first born and today I’ve read your blog and the tears have flowed once again because you’ve hit a huge nail on the head with this opening post.
    Today I walked side by side with my now 11 year old baby and had to leave him at his ‘big school’ and as I turned and watched him disappear through the entrance to his grammar school and I realised he has only really been leant to me and now my little boy is on his journey to becoming a man. Mentally I was not prepared and I held it together until I got back in the car and the urge to cry consumed me and the tears dripped.

    The challenging days may have often felt long but the years have been far too short. It doesn’t feel like 5 minutes ago you were supporting me through my labour and the alien post natal period of readjusting to life as a mama.

    Mama time is a beautiful idea and you are a wise, wonderful woman and I love your writing. Good luck with this venture and keep the posts coming!

    1. 11 years?!! It certainly doesn’t feel 11 years ago! I dread to think how I will be when the boys move on to secondary school! Thanks for your lovely comment x

  4. So well written Hannah and so true- I felt completely overwhelmed when I had Finley and found it hard to adjust to having this helpless little person who was completely reliant on me !! – infact I remember you telling me that the problems just change !! It’s so true! It’s stuck with me!

    some people just seem to seemlessly slot in to being a mum and others find the transition a lot harder – I wonder why that is??

    Keep writing!! It’s great!

    1. Thanks Beccy. I think there are so many factors that affect the transition to mama hood. Type of pregnancy, delivery, personality type, baby related variables (feeding and sleeping issues) and many other factors come in to play I think. Perhaps we will never know the real reasons. But I hope to create a site where Mums can feel supported.

      Thanks for reading and commenting xx

  5. Loved it han!!! Well done, you write things so beautifully!!
    its exactly how i feel today. I looked at arch sleeping last night and remembered all those late nights wishing time away and now hes off to pre school. Being a mum is the best thing in the world, but its hard and only now im a mum have i really fully appreciated what my mum and dad have done for me.
    looking forward to your next one x

    1. Thank you Ali. Being a mum certainly has given me a better appreciation of what parents have done too! Glad all went well today xx

  6. ‘Transistion from woman to mother’ – love it! That takes so much to get used too and I can totally relate ! Can’t wait to read the next one x

  7. Love this Han and it’s so true! Very timely for me doing the baby and toddler dance! Loving the naps for just an hour of being able to process my own thoughts… and then realising while I’m having the longed for hot cup of coffee and a bit of quiet that another phase has passed and getting all nostalgic! Motherhood is the greatest gift. It brings a new intensity to every emotion – and you’ve summed it up brilliantly! This understanding is just one reason why you’re a brilliant midwife and friend! Can’t wait for next blog xx

  8. Beautifully written….think all mummy’s will relate to this. And it will help all ‘mummy’s to be’ to prepare for the great adventure that lies ahead. Keep going! X

  9. Beautifully written Hannah – brought tears to my eyes. It made me think back to all those years ago when I had Rachel and Phil. I had just the same feelings. They too grew up too quickly. I went through the upsetting times when they started primary school, secondary school, university, then leaving home for good. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was really hard. Where had the time gone? But then they became parents themselves – Phil dad to your beautiful boys and Rachel mum to a beautiful little girl. We are going through the same cycle all over again. Yes, time does fly by too quickly but you will never forget all the magical moments you’re children give you so enjoy this wonderful gift of being a mum. Xx

  10. Nearly 4 months in to being a mama to little Arthur, and this rang so true. I used to think the Birth was the biggest thing. It’s a tiny tiny fraction of what was to come, and the absolute love is incredible isn’t it? I feel like an entirely different person! So looking forward to reading your blog xxx

  11. As a midwife of almost 9 years, but a mummy of only 6 months, this was a lovely comforting read. If anything, other then preparing me for motherhood, I feel my career at times set me ridiculously high standards that I put myself under pressure to meet initially. I spent my pregnancy preparing for the worst and wish in hindsight I’d allowed myself to enjoy it more. On the other hand since becoming a mother I’ve absolutely loved ‘living the script’ that I know and love so well, and that has dominated my life and identity for so many years. It’s been nice to be on the other side, and I now try to remember to savour every moment after waiting for this time, and holding the hand of so many others during theirs. Beautiful blog that I’ll be reading more of. Thanks X

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