Mitchell was born in October of 2002, after a normal healthy first-time pregnancy. I was not a smoker and I gave up alcohol as soon as I discovered I was pregnant. I walked around my suburb every day to keep fit and I took folate tablets as the doctor prescribed. At the age of 29 I was excited (and nervous) at the thought of being responsible for another human being. Everything seemed to be just as it should be.
My husband, Anthony, and I did everything we could to prepare for this life-changing event. We read books, checked websites, made lists of names and lived on one income for a full 12 months so that we could get used to life with only one salary for a time. We asked each other about our families and whether there were any health issues or concerns to worry about. Nothing.
Fast forward now to those first few months of life with a baby and my, how our life had changed. Discussions now were all about feeding and sleep times and poop! My boobs always hurt and I was miserable because breast feeding just wasn’t easy at all for me. I never realised that it was going to be difficult to do. I just thought you whipped out a breast and stuck the baby on it! How wrong I was.
Not long after I gave in and began using a breast pump. I can still remember sitting up in the middle of the night, tired and angry at having to listen to the sound of a machine doing what I thought my body would do naturally. I was sad that I couldn’t enjoy that special bond between mother and child and felt like a failure. It was tough but, at least Mitchell was getting the benefit, so I persisted each day for four long months. I couldn’t wait until it was over.
The days and nights became a routine of feeding, nappy changes and sleep deprivation but it was what we expected so the journey felt normal; although we were the first of our friends to have children so I’m sure it was all a bit bizarre for them. They were still enjoying living it up and searching for someone to share their lives with. For us, it was about Mitchell now.
Mitchell grew and developed as expected and we loved having him as part of our family. Every week he seemed to pass another milestone as he grew more into our hearts and minds. My husband and I began to find comfort and ease with our new roles as parents and the love we had for each other had deepened immensely. It’s true what they say, parenthood really does change you!
I look back now and realise that those first 12 months were epic. We had made the decision to change our lives forever. Little did we know then just how much change was to come…