The Parent I Was Before Becoming A Parent

It’s funny, isn’t it? Before you become a parent, you are full of idealistic preferences on what sort of parent you think you’ll be and what you think parenting will be like.

pre-baby beccy.

And then motherhood, or fatherhood, comes in it’s full glory and runs you the fuck over. “Choo choo, bitch. You thought wrong”, it says, as it flattens your expectations and your blob of an exhausted body to the ground. And in your cemented-to-the-floor status, you have to admit that they were right about how hard being a parent is and that it was easier to parent before you actually became one.

For me, the dark truth hit as soon as I became pregnant. My symptoms started about a week after conception. And I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Otherwise known as: haha your body hates being pregnant and you are going to spend a small eternity weeping into buckets and toilets, starving half to death, convulsing up your body weight in fuck-knows-what (since you haven’t eaten in days) in a possessed fashion.

Honestly, HG is a violent reaction to pregnancy, it hurts a ridiculous amount and I preferred my God awful induced labour to the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy (after that it was manageable with medication). It was vile. And I was thankful to be pregnant, but the 21 year old me who was hugging the bedroom wall at a 35° angle, trying not to be sick (again, please god, no), was so miserable and so isolated and so afraid.

5th June, 15+6
around 15 weeks pregnant 🙂

And yet, during my breadline pregnancy, I still managed to keep a romanticised view of motherhood. I’d like to add I knew it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows but I was imagining motherhood as if it was going to be this holistic, healing walk through a Disney movie. I had no idea of the horrors of attempting to breastfeed a baby with reflux or looking after a newborn for days at a time on my own. I had no idea that I’d hate babywearing, and that it wouldn’t work for me, or that the stairs of my flat would often prevent me from going out because it was such a mammoth task. I had no idea I’d have to choose bottle washing over eating, that I’d worry about SIDS constantly for the first six months-ish. I cried so much and I didn’t have PND, I had a severe case of exhaustion. It was hard in the ways I didn’t realise it was going to be.

I also had no idea that the love for my unborn baby would not even begin to cover how much my heart would burst looking at Reuben. I had no idea of the indescribable love that would flood through every single cell in my body. I still can’t describe it. My child is now at an age where he’s starting to misbehave and it’s still there; the disbelief that this beautiful baby is mine and I’d give anything to protect him. The thankfulness I feel when I look at him, whether he’s being an angel or a little shit, often is overwhelming. I feel joys every day that my pre-baby self could not possibly understand.

exhausted mama? yes. run down? yes. happy? yes.

But my pre-baby self, undoubtedly so, could not imagine being a parent at all. It’s not like babysitting at all. It’s not like looking after anyone else’s kids – and if you want to know why – it’s because they’re not yours. When the child is yours (I include adopted children here), it’s different, because the love you feel for them shapes an intricate bond. You hurt with them, you feel joy with them, when they’re testing you, it hurts. It all hurts. It hurts so much.

Nobody tells you how much it hurts watching your baby grow up and out of your arms, no matter how proud of them you are, it hurts. It breaks your heart, especially because all the hormones of the fourth trimester render you incapable of remembering the blur of new motherhood. All the days mash together in the roast dinner that is motherhood.

And it is a roast dinner, yeah? It is. You are the yorkshire pudding in a plate of chaos and you best believe you can hold your gravy if you want to survive. Otherwise, you’ll be a soggy messy, wondering why that mum on instagram has conquered parenting, cleaning and baby group in the time it’s taken you to get your baby sorted and finally have your breakfast.

My advice to you if you ever feel like that is to whisper good for you but fuck off and enjoy another cup of coffee in your pjs. Stop comparing yourself. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no set routine for your days and if you let go of it, you’ll be happier, I promise.

Routines for your baby are good but routines for you? They’re overrated in my opinion. Go with the flow, learn how to breathe when you’re overwhelmed, and care less about the state of the house. It’ll get done, okay? It’ll get done, but for now, snuggle your little one while they still want snuggles & ignore the pressure to Mrs Hinch your rug and Marie Kondo your knicker drawer – it doesn’t fucking matter. Tidy house, tidy mind, is a thing but you’re going to a miserable mama if you’ve lost your sanity trying to achieve instamum perfection.

photos taken around this time last year, the photo of reu in the blue hat is exactly 1 year ago today!

It might be hard to let go of the parent you wanted to be. I found it hard. But I had to realise that I was given a set of skills to work with in my specific situation and all I could do was hold on, and get through it the best I could.

I promise you, you’re doing a fab job, okay? Bad parents don’t worry about being bad parents. Good parents do. Chill out a bit.

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡


This Time Last Year

I remember the way I felt this time last year. The way the air felt, the white noise of something mechanical humming at night (I still can’t figure out what it is), the way the lights across the city seemed crisper… It all reminds me, like the most wonderfully enchanting memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m remembering with rose-tinted glasses. But I know for a fact, also, that I remember that the person I was before Reuben was born felt a kind of excitement, naivety and apprehension that I’m scared I will never feel again.

The selfie I took before heading to the hospital to be induced.

I remember feeling dreadfully uncomfortable, completely DONE with being pregnant and massive. And moreover, I was done being told how massive I was. As if I couldn’t tell!? I was sick of the sickness, the acid reflux, the endless peeing, the pain I was feeling around my ribs, the ridiculous amounts of discharge and the sweating. You know, I was still trying my best to cherish my pregnancy but I think I spent more time trying to film baby kicks than I did actually appreciating the moments (something I will remember if I’m lucky enough to have a second). I would rest my hands on my bump, take endless photos, but by 37 weeks I was done. So when I was offered an induction days before my due date, I leapt at the chance.

I’d seen a lot of inductions on One Born Every Minute and I’d read the leaflet but nothing could have prepared me for the days that followed. I felt like I’d been in hospital for a week before I was actually induced – in a different hospital – on my due date.

But my mind seems to have fixated on the little details of the hospital I was supposed to give birth in, when I was waiting to be taken to delivery suite to have my waters broken. In all honesty, it was quite lovely but I was so impatient and being in a hospital bay all day waiting around was driving me a bit nuts. I wasn’t very well prepared, I hadn’t brought much to entertain myself – which is probably why I remember the space around me in vivid detail. From the way the light hit the blue flooring during the day, to the way the overhead lamp created a calming ambience at night. I remember bouncing on that big purple gym ball for hours hoping labour would come on spontaneously but I now realise, it was doing very little for me, and it was probably making me all the more impatient.

I was offered a transfer to the other hospital where I had a bed on delivery suite waiting for me on my due date, a few hours after my mucus plug went, and I jumped at the chance. I now wonder if my experience might have been different if I’d have stayed at the hospital that I wanted to give birth in. But nevermind, what good are what ifs? No good at all.

So there I was, in the delivery suite of this other hospital, taking a quick video of the room for my Instagram. I was telling people I’d no longer be replying. Although I did later on, at some point, I can’t remember when. And I had no idea what was coming as far as the syntocin drip was concerned.

I love that before they broke my waters and put me on that drip, I was blissfully unaware saying “whatever happens I’ll deal with it, as long as baby is okay”. I mean, that wasn’t a bad mindset to have but… Yeah… the girl on the ball in her nightie who just had her waters broken, and the girl on the bed who just got given the epidural were a couple of hours apart, and I can assure you the girl on the bed felt like she’s been through a kind of hell that she knew had changed her forever. The rest of it was a breeze though, if that’s any consolation – it was to me!

I gave birth to Reuben just over 12 hours after they’d broken my waters, and it was incredible. I felt the love instantly – it was euphoric! I felt the rush of love which I’d heard people say is indescribable and I was so relieved. I was so, so happy. When I had been waiting to push, I remember thinking “this is it, my dream is about to come true, I’m gonna meet my baby!” and that was an unforgettable moment too.

So is it any wonder that I feel this way now that Reuben’s 1st birthday is a day away? It’s so bittersweet. I feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel my heart aching so badly when I think back to it. I know this is common in mothers but I never really hear or read anyone talking about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel cheated out of enjoying those newborn days, maybe it’s because I had a vision of how I wanted things to be during pregnancy and it wasn’t like that. It’s not like my expectations were high but when you’re poor and feeling unsupported through both pregnancy and your newly made mother days, it’s very hard to feel like I got anything right at all back then… I don’t know. I guess I am overly critical but when I think back, I have regrets and I find myself saying “here’s what I’d do differently”.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe Reuben’s been on this earth for a year now. He’s turned into my little best friend & he makes me smile all the time. Even though we have been poorly recently, there’s still been smiles. And I’m far from perfect but I know I’m a good Mama.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and wistful about this time last year but don’t worry, I’m also concentrating on making this year’s memories count! Reuben’s presents are ready for Thursday, the flat is looking nicer than it ever has done (apart from the kitchen right now) & I’ve even put the Christmas tree up!

I love motherhood, it puts a kind of joy and resilience in my soul that nothing else can. I mean, there’s obviously sadness and mum guilt in there too BUT! Let’s focus on the good!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

Next Time (Part II): what to buy.

Following on from my recent, emotional post about my wishes for the next time I have a baby, I want to continue on with a similar but less emotive post. This is more about providing information. I think that this might help any expecting or new mothers/fathers wanting a bit of advice on what to buy for their baby, and also it will refresh my memory in years to come.

Of course, this is personal preference but I remember going through many videos and blog posts about what I needed for my new arrival… so I’m going to try to be helpful. This isn’t going to be an comprehensive list by no means but hopefully it highlights enough of the right things.

These items I think are a waste of money:

  • Smaller sized, ‘newborn’ bottles.
  • Wipe warmers
  • Nappy/diaper bins
  • Nappy/diaper/changing bags (so overrated in my opinion, I think a big bag and possibly a bag divider works better)

These items are essential if you want to make your life easier:

  • Comfortable places to sit: if you can’t get a nursing chair (even if you’re not breastfeeding), make sure the places you’ll be sat for long periods of time are comfortable because like it or not, you’re going to be sat down a lot – especially if you’re breastfeeding. Think pillows, think good back support… I didn’t realise how important it was until I had Reuben.
  • Talking of where you are, are you close to a table of some sort? You’re going to need somewhere to put drinks, snacks, their bottles, wipes, cloths… you get the jist. It maybe worth curating a kind of basket close by so that everything is to hand and you can carry it where you need it.
  • Nursing pillows. Breast or bottle, these make life easier. I didn’t have one with Reuben and I really *really* should have made it a priority. I found myself using normal pillows so often and they just didn’t do the job well enough.
  • Get a good bottle steriliser. Microwave sterilisers are just as good as the electric ones and take the same amount of time to load up.
  • Places for your baby to sit. There’s no guarantee your baby will like them but bouncers, swings, rockers… they will help you gain your sanity if they’re happy to sit in one for a while. Then you’ll need activity centres, ‘jumperoos’ and walkers. But it’s basically there to entertain them whilst you get things done… or just sit, and breathe, and get some food/drink/take a sneaky nap.
  • Baby monitors. I don’t have one, but it’d make life a lot easier if I could check a monitor when I hear ‘phantom screams’ rather than rush across my flat with soapy hands to see my perfectly happy baby sleeping in his cot.
  • Look into a postpartum basket for the bathroom too. I was very lucky and I didn’t need quite a few of the things but many, many women do.

These items you need:

  • Comfortable clothing: whether it be loungewear, your pjs, tracksuit bottoms… whatever you’re comfortable in.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, invest in a good breast pump (manual is fine but it’s hard work), breast pads, breast shields, and especially nursing bras and clothes that will allow you to nurse easier. You want to make sure you’re kitted out. I wasn’t, and it contributed to me giving up. Breastfeeding is already hard enough so invest in this. The milk may be free but the equipment certainly isn’t.
  • It really does help if you make meals to store in the freezer, it’ll make life a hell of a lot easier to know you’ve a healthy, homemade meal that can be easily reheated when you have ten minutes to either shower, nap or eat.
  • Luxuries for yourself. Have nice things, okay? You deserve them. Every shower, no matter how rushed, should seem like a luxury occasion. Have candles. Have fairy lights. Have hot chocolate. Have a glass of wine if you want. I don’t care what anyone says, being a mother is really hard, you need to treat yourself. That includes taking breaks and accepting help.

These are things your baby needs:

  • Plenty of vests, sleepsuits, etc. Every list out there will tell you that you need about a weeks worth of each. But what if you have a sicky/refluxy baby like I did? Well, you’re either gonna have to do their laundry every day or you’re going to need to buy a lot more of them. If money is tight, focus on those basics over outfits. Your baby will look like a newborn for all of five minutes, so embrace the sleepsuits for then at least. I swear, with my next, they will live in vests and sleepsuits until they are 6 months old.
  • Sleeping bags and swaddle blankets (you can get ones with velcro to make it easier) are so much better than anything else because you know they’re safe in them. Definitely prioritise them over blankets. Blankets are still important, but you want to make sure you’ve got these in the right tog for the season, to keep baby safe and warm whilst s/he sleeps.
  • Muslin cloths. Lots of lots of muslin cloths. Bibs, too, they’re good. I didn’t really use bibs at first as I prefered to tuck a muslin cloth under Reubens’ chin.
  • Every list about what your baby needs is right, all those basics… from socks to bibs, from hats to rompers… you need them all. And if you think you’ve bought enough in the first size and 0-3 (baring in mind Reuben never fit into first size) then go ahead with the 3-6 month clothing. You have to remember… you will be constantly buying for your arrival because they grow and develop so quick. But let’s just focus on the newborn stage for this list.

Things I recommend:

  • Buy a baby wrap or buckle carrier. I can’t properly recommend these because I only bought a stretchy wrap and I didn’t really get my use out of it. But I wish I’d gone to a sling library earlier on and discovered what would work best for me and my body type. They’re so convenient. I can imagine it be better if you drive to the shops and you don’t want to be pushing a pram and a trolley.
  • If you can, a car seat that lasts from birth into the toddler years (or maybe even beyond) is an investment and will save you lots of money.
  • Really think about the kind of pram you want. Look into the handlebars so you can push it along comfortably? Will it fit properly on the buses if you’ll be using public transport a lot? Does it fold up enough to fit into your car boot? Do you want to be able to utilise it to carry shopping home? If so, what’s the basket space like? Will your changing bag/bag you’re using for nappies and bottles sit on it comfortably? It’s a lot perhaps, to think about, but really you just want to consider how much you’ll be using it and where you’ll be using it? The range of prams out there is overwhelming but thinking about these things should help you narrow it down.
  • Look into cloth nappies/diapers. Now I have started using them, I realise that it’s not as complicated as I thought it was and it’s really not grossing me out like I thought it would… so I think I’d prefer to have done it from the start. Disposables are great in their own right but it’s good to consider the amount of nappies you’ll be buying and thus, the amount of nappies that will end up in landfill.


You need to do what works for you. You know yourself best and you will know your baby better than anyone else. The way you want to parent is up to you. The way you want to do things is up to you. Someone could disagree with my list and that’s absolutely fine. For me, I think I’ve realised that there were things I prioritised wrong when having a baby and things I wish I’d done differently. I think that most parents feel this way. And if this helps nobody, at least it’ll jog my memory if I’m fortunate enough to have another one day. I feel like I’ve probably missed out a very important section but for now, I think this list is pretty good.

With love, Rebecca xo



Next Time (Part I)

Next time I find myself pregnant, I can’t promise I won’t stress, but if I’m lucky I’ll stress a little less. I’m too aware of what could go wrong but I am hoping I won’t be stressing over what I get to eat this week. I hope I don’t have to eat beans on toast and jacket potatoes 3 or 4 times a week again. I hope when I crave something I can go get it. I’m hoping I won’t get Hyperemesis again but if I do, that’s just something I know I have to get through. Suffering last time didn’t effect my bond with my baby, I doubt it would again. Hopefully it’s not any worse, if anything I hope I don’t get it at all. But no matter, I’ll find a way to manage its only important that my baby makes it.

Next time, I do things a little differently. I know what’s more important when you’re buying for little feet. I’ll take into consideration the weather and how I’m choosing to feed. I’m going to do cloth from the start now it’s not so overwhelming and I’m hoping I’ll be able to afford it. Ah, affording it. No matter how you want to dress up pregnancy and giving birth, the truth of the matter is its all expensive. Hopefully this time I won’t be crying because I want to buy a baby swing and pretty muslin cloths. Hopefully I can buy more new, or at least well cared for second hand. The stuff I can’t afford now.

Next time, I will invest in comfort, I will invest in equipment. I want to try to breastfeed but I didn’t have the support, physically or emotionally the first time around. I gave up for many reasons but the support bit was the part that caught me out. I don’t want it to be like that second time around. Now I know about the hunger and the thirst, about the backache and the latching, I think I’d be more resourceful about what the money goes into. I want it to work. Sterilising bottles when you desperately need food or sleep is enough to break your heart. It’s not dramatic, it’s the way it is, and I wish I’d known it from the start.

Next time I’ll share less and concentrate on the moments that I’ll share with my partner. I’ll watch my belly move instead of trying to capture the wriggles and kicks. Lord knows that’s the reason I’ve forgotten most of it. Don’t get me wrong, taking pictures is great, but I don’t need to tell the world every step of the way. I probably won’t have time but I need to remember that it’s far more precious to me than it is to any friend or follower.

Next time, I’ll trust myself more. I did with Reuben but I was unsure with all the opinions and picture perfect images of motherhood going around. But I knew, and this time, I think I’ll trust myself from the start. Babies may be fragile but they won’t fall apart if I don’t follow the rules. There should be no rules. I know I take very good care of my baby and do everything in their best interest, I don’t really care for the stuff you see on Pinterest. It’s not where reality lies.

Next time, baby will be planned, I’ll have saved, gotten healthier because now I understand that as much as unplanned babies are loved and wanted (my child as prime example) there’s no way I would want to struggle again. And if I want something for baby in a sale, I want to buy it. I don’t want to sit and sulk at home, wondering if maybe I’ll catch it next time. I don’t want to scrape by. It may sound materialistic but honestly it’s upsetting. You can’t enjoy yourself when you’re living on empty.

Next time I’m going to cherish those newborn moments more. The dishes will eventually done, the laundry can wait a bit longer, nobody cares that the floor hasn’t been vacuumed and forget about the social media for now. You over share and most people just don’t care, so I’ll post but be mindful that it doesn’t matter that I didn’t post today’s photos today. Instead, holding my sweet new cherub before he or she grows out of my arms is what matters. They stay small for not long at all. They grow so fast. It doesn’t matter that the days last forever and the nights are exhausting, it’s not like this for long. Not in the long run it’s not.

Next time I won’t just be able to focus on my new baby because I’ll be a mother of two. I need to remember that it’s not all about the new one. My Reuben will want attention too. So i will buy a baby wrap or a baby carrier so I can get on with what I need to do. I know it’s as important as a very comfortable sofa or a nursing chair. I know now that baby needs very little at first, a lot of it is about supporting you.

Next time we will have more scans, next time we will buy maternity dresses and pack the hospital bag better. Next time we will understand what a post natal ward is like and we will prepare for that eventuality too & hey you might not be so unlucky this time if you have to stay. It’s all about taking each day as it comes, from the two lines onwards, and trying not to be stressed. It’s about aiming to be calm parent, but to cry if you need to. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be really hard but you know you can do it. You know what’s what this time around. You’re going to have support and you’re not going to scrimp on basics, you’re going to make home made frozen meals too because you didn’t last time (being cocky weren’t you?) and you knew you’d messed up. Take advantage of the convenience of the modern world too, who cares if you have a microwave meal for dinner? Who cares if you order your groceries to your door? It’s what’s best, it’s what’s easiest, it gives you more time for what’s important and going out for better reasons.

It’s going to be ages before we have a next time. I don’t know when Reuben will become a big brother, or if he ever will… The truth is, nobody knows what life will bring. But if there’s a next time. Yes, IF, there’s a next time. I know what’s important next time. There’s things I do differently and there’s things I’d do the same, ultimately I’ll try my best, but you can guarantee I’ll still complain.

I know it’s too soon to be thinking about this, and I can’t assume I’ll get a next time either. It’s crazy because I know how hard it will be (well I actually have no clue but I can imagine because having one is hard) and life is very unlikely to follow my plan. But in an ideal world, here’s my next time.

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca xo