From This Moment…by Caroline Ridge
If you have missed what this series is all about please read From This Moment Blog Project.
After a very long and tough labour, it was with such relief that I held my baby girl in my arms knowing that she was ok. I had struggled through my pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (an extreme form of morning sickness) which had left me at times, quite depressed and often unsure of myself and my ability to be a good mother.
It sounds like a cliché but the moment I looked at my daughter Niamh I instantly fell so deeply in love with her, it actually shocked me as I really didn’t expect to feel such strong feelings so quickly. I dreaded the thought that I would look at her and not feel anything, or that I would think I’d been through so much and it didn’t feel worth it, which sounds awful now, but at the deepest loneliest part of my illness, this was how I felt. So that instant love and bond I felt, was just the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.
My first words to my daughter (which unlike a lot of my labour experience, I actually remember!) were ‘oh my god, you are so beautiful, you are so beautiful, how have we made something so beautiful’ and I sobbed and sobbed and I remember thinking that she was looking me right in the eye, listening to me, thinking ‘what am I doing here and who is this mad woman crying at me?!’
I had decided to try feeding Niamh myself, so I cuddled her close to me for what felt like a few minutes but was actually about an hour (!) and she latched on easily. Now not only was I in love with this gorgeous little creature but I was able to feed her by myself and I felt like the most important person in the world!
When I finally let Daddy and then Nanny have a cuddle, I lay back and took a deep breath. I was so proud of myself and what I had achieved, I wanted this feeling to last forever. I tried to lay there and relax for a bit, but I just couldn’t contain my excitement so in the end I rang my Nan, my Dad and two of my friends excitedly repeating the story of how Niamh was born and how perfect she is! I also relayed my joy at the fact that my husband Paul, usually very uncomfortable in hospitals had proven to be an excellent birthing partner, as had my Mum Jenny (also a midwife) and how I couldn’t have coped without them.
That evening, for health reasons I didn’t reach the ward until midnight. I was tired and really ready for a good sleep. But this was not going to happen! Niamh wouldn’t settle that night and so I spent much of the next six hours rocking her in the day room of the hospital ward, while everyone else slept as I was worried she was keeping everyone awake. As a totally inexperienced Mother, I did not know what to do with her. I tried changing her nappy and feeding her again but nothing would calm her down. It was exhausting and here I think the realisation kicked in of my new life and just how much things were going to change. However, even through the screaming and the times since when I have felt like walking out the door and not coming back, I know that this little baby needs me. And from that moment in the hospital, as tough as it was, I made a promise to my baby girl that I would do whatever I had to do to show her I love her, that I would never turn my back on her and that I would prove everyday to her and myself that despite my doubts during pregnancy, I can be a good Mother.