Let's go back nearly twenty one years. I was a young, first time mum not quite twenty, newly wed and as Papa and I were so young we moved in with Mum just to give us that bit of breathing space while we looked for our first home together. Mum offered lots of support and it was cheaper to live back at home while we saved our pennies. Papa worked full time while I stayed home with my lovely new baby. My Mum was glad to have us there, newly divorced from my Step dad she was a bit lonely and needed to pay the mortgage so having us there paying rent and me helping out with my younger brothers by childminding while she went to work was ideal for all of us.
I had been around babies all my life. Being the eldest of six children I'd watched Mum care for all her babies and being the only girl I was always eager to help. So I guess you could say motherhood came quite naturally to me. What I didn't anticipate was the overwhelming, surge of unconditional love that I would feel the moment I held my own child in my arms.
Of course I loved my brothers very much but it was different because they were not reliant on me, I was not responsible for them, they had Mum for that but my baby was totally dependant on me and Papa. With that new responsibility came an element of anxiety. An anxiety that I had never experienced before.
I knew how to care for a baby, how to change nappies, make up the bottles, sterilise, bath and dress baby, you know all the essential day to day stuff. None of that stuff really worried me but I did feel a certain nervousness. I began questioning everything...his breathing, little rashes he got, his development, his weight. I so wanted to be a good Mum and to raise a happy child.
I was very lucky that I had Papa to reassure me. He has always been a very hands on father, even though he was only nineteen when we had our first and from day one he was more than capable of caring for our child as much as me. I have never worried about leaving the kids in his care, it has always been very 50/50 parenting and twenty one years later it still is.
The anxiety didn't last that long, only a few months and I always had Mum on hand if I was ever worried about anything, in fact I constantly asked her "Is this right Mum?" "Does this look ok?" "What d'ya think this rash is?" "what nappy rash cream is best?" "What nappies are best?" Etc Etc. You name it I asked it.
Then Mum went on holiday for two weeks and we were quite excited to have the house to ourselves, Just me, Papa and Baby. It was the first time we had been totally left on our own for a long period of time and everything was fine until one night baby wouldn't stop screaming. We tried everything to pacify him, his bottle, a dummy, a warm bath, rocking him, walking him round the house in his pram, he just wouldn't settle. I became convinced he must be ill and that his crying was a cry of pain. I started to panic and took him down to A&E. I was pretty upset and by this point at the end of my tether.
A big stern looking nurse came into our little side room. "What's the problem?" she asked in a gruff voice.
"He wont stop crying...I think he might be ill" I replied, close to tears.
"Have you fed him?" She asked
"Of course I have" I answered, shocked she would even asked such a ridiculous question.
"Lets just try him with a bottle shall we"
I rolled my eyes and got a bottle out of my bag. Papa began feeding baby and to my utter disbelief baby started gulping his bottle down as if I'd been starving him.
The nurse looked at me with raised eyebrows "Nothing wrong with this baby...He's just hungry"
If the ground could have opened up at the point and swallowed me whole I would have welcomed it. I felt like a right twit.
When Mum returned from her holiday and I told her all about our adventure she rolled around laughing, she thought it was hilarious and I had to agree...it was pretty funny. However, no matter how embarrassed I felt I really don't regret rushing baby to A&E because it could quite easily have been something serious. Better to be safe than sorry and I'd have rather felt my cheeks burning red than the awful regret I'd feel if there was a problem.
Have you ever made any embarrassing parenting blunders? Has your baby ever made you look like you are being completely neurotic? I'd love to hear from you.