Thursday 12 January 2012

Guest Post - 'Less Risky Second Time Around'

By My Gorgeous Boys.

She writes a lovely honest warm blog about life with her two sons and hard working husband. The way she writes makes you feel like you are having a catch up over a cuppa with a good friend.

Enjoy .....


I didn’t plan to become a mum late in life and don’t really feel like I am “old”! In my 20’s I was focused on my career (in IT) and generally having fun with friends. I loved going to see live bands, shopping on Saturdays, exotic travel, out for meals and going to the gym. I bought my first house when I was 27 after living in rented accommodation for several years as a student and spent the years after continuing to live like a student but with a salary! I did work hard at my career, gaining a 1st class honours degree and then a MSc in Management Consultancy which I did part time whilst concentrating on my career. I couldn't really imagine having children but I think perhaps it also is about you being in the right place and with the person that you would want to have children with.

I met Gary when I was 31 and we got married when I was 34. I got pregnant very easily (on our honeymoon!) with a due date three months after my 35th birthday. The pregnancy went really well with no complications and I planned a home birth. Throughout the pregnancy I went to aqua natal and yoga for pregnancy classes for relaxation. I was starting to lose motivation in my career at this time, although I did pass the PRINCE 2 project management qualification when 6 months pregnant. The home birth, however, wasn't meant to be and I ended up having an induction when I was 12 days overdue. I had gone into hospital to be monitored but they said the baby’s heart rate was dropping so he was quickly whisked out with forceps (ouch!). But we had a healthy baby boy weighing in at 6lbs and 7oz and he was just perfect. I wouldn’t say I fell madly in love with him on first sight although I did feel protective towards him I remember sitting in the labour suite wondering what on earth I was supposed to do with him. Mother Nature didn't come calling naturally!

I did find the early days of parenting very hard. I was sore from breastfeeding (had mastitis twice) due to incorrect attachment and I generally didn't feel very confident in my role as a new mum. I was also shattered, as most new parents are and, typically, he fed mostly at night and slept in the day. When he was asleep I used it as an opportunity to do things I wanted to do (rarely sleeping was on that list!) like catch up with emails and reading (mostly parenting books as I was convinced I would find answers in them!). I was finding the learning curve of motherhood very sharp and very hard work.

We started going to our local Sure Start centre playgroups and I met up with lots of other mums with babies the same age. Before children I hadn't involved myself in the community where I lived at all so it was really nice to chat to other mums who were going through the same thing. Most of mine and Gary’s family live quite a drive away (at least an hour or so) and Gary works long hours in the computer games industry, so without this support my friends became like extended family. We took our babes shopping, swimming, to playgroups, on walks and it was these relationships that kept me going in the early months.

I had my second child two years later at 37 years old, he was born at home weighing 8lbs 13 oz and I was in love with him as soon as I saw him. He fed and slept regularly and I never had any sort of “baby blues” with him at all (didn't have the time!).

Interestingly, I had the nuchal translucency scan at 12 weeks with both pregnancies as this is standard in Nottingham hospitals to be offered to mums over 35 years. I can’t remember what the odds were but the funny thing was they were much lower in my 2nd pregnancy that with my 1st (which is surprising given I was 2 years older and statistically the odds should have been higher!). I put this down to me being more relaxed with my 2nd pregnancy that I was with my 1st and also possibly healthier and more relaxed!

For various reasons I didn't return to my job after children. Because I am older I know how quickly time goes and at the moment I don’t want to work and miss out on them growing up. With children you don’t have the same lifestyle so we survive on one wage. I do really miss earning my own money and having that financial independence though. Being a full time mum is definitely not what I would have envisaged myself doing before becoming a parent. Although it is incredibly hard work, it is definitely the fun option!

I don’t know if being an older mum has made me a better parent than I would have been if I had had children earlier although having life experience must have some effect on my attitude. I am relaxed in some ways, co-sleeping with them both when they were young as I found it the easiest way to minimise sleep deprivation! On the other hand I know I did, and sometimes still do, set quite high standards of myself subsequently putting myself under pressure. At times that can be very exhausting and destined to failure. Having time at home has reignited my love of writing, which led to starting up my blog writing about things we are doing and what we are going through and I love reading other blogs. This has been great for getting my brain working again and gives me a sense of focus and, even, achievement that being a mum can’t. I guess it is just that it is good to do something for myself when you feel so enveloped in the world of small, gorgeous but quite full-on, children!

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