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Hello! I’m Davina, I have just turned 34, I live in South Devon with my gorgeous daughter Aria who is almost 10 months old, and my wonderful fiancé Mike. I am a first time Mummy and recently went back to work part time – I work in an accounts department doing admin. I love to read when I have the time, and rather nerdily go to a book club once a month.
Strangely, I don’t think I really had any expectations of motherhood, I could only go off what I was told from people, I was told it would be the hardest but most rewarding thing I would ever do. I only expected to have many a sleepless night and have my whole world turned upside down by this tiny little being growing away in my tummy!
...This is a funny story, due to health reasons I had stopped taking the pill a year and half previously, I did a lot of research on other forms of contraception that weren’t artificial hormones, as they did not agree with me at all. So I started using an app to track when I was ovulating - Mike and I would just avoid that time… if you catch my drift. We had discussed that if I were to fall pregnant it would be fine, kind of if it happens great, if it doesn’t that’s ok too. So, fast forward a year and half, it seemed to be working well for us, I was regular as clockwork with my periods and on this occasion I happened to be 6 days late, I stupidly dismissed it. I mentioned it to my friend, who asked if we had been careful, and I said “of course, we waited until 2 days after I was ovulating” to which she lovingly replied “are you thick? You’re obviously pregnant and were ovulating a bit later! Take a test!!” so I went and bought one. That night Mike and I were sat watching TV and he paused the programme and asked me to take the test as he couldn’t wait any longer. Unsurprisingly it was positive. Mike didn’t talk to me for a full 5 minutes, it was very much a Ross and Rachel from FRIENDS moment, 5 minutes might not sound like a long time, but when your partner is silent, and you have no idea what his feelings are about it, it feels like a lifetime. I had all sorts of emotions going through my head but the resounding one was pure joy. Thankfully Mike broke the silence by voicing his delight!
I felt amazing for the majority of my pregnancy, I was so so lucky. Whilst I had no morning sickness, for the first trimester I felt groggy - the only way I can describe it is, if you take a nap that lasts too long and you wake up feeling rubbish, that’s how I felt, but it went away after week 14. I completely lost my appetite, which really surprised me, everyone told me it would come back – it never did, and I only put on 12lb in my whole pregnancy. At 22 weeks I had PGP (pelvic girdle pain) which got worse and worse the bigger I got, and from around 30 weeks onwards I couldn’t dress myself or walk up the stairs without assistance, as it was just so painful, I would cry most days as it hurt so much and walking from our front room upstairs to bed would take up to 20 minutes, as I just couldn’t take a step without pain. BUT despite that, I absolutely LOVED being pregnant, I have never been so body confident as I was then. I loved my bump and I loved feeling my little girl move – like it was our little secret. I had an anterior placenta, which meant I didn’t feel her as much as I should have, but when she did give me a loving boot, I adored the feeling.
I couldn’t have wished for a better birth experience, I had to be induced at 37 weeks due to 5 bouts of reduced movements, and she hadn’t grown as much as they would’ve liked. That was a worrying time, and I spent 4 days in hospital being monitored until she arrived, but my actual birth was a dream. I was in labour for 11 hours, I had an epidural so I slept through most of it, when it was time to push, I had no idea what I was doing as I couldn’t feel a thing, but my wonderful midwife Sonia said I would just know what to do – and amazingly I did! I had my aunty and Mike with me, who were the best birthing partners ever, they were so encouraging and held my hand and whispered words of comfort the whole time, after only an hour of pushing, our gorgeous and tiny 6lb 4oz baby was born! I was extremely lucky to have such an uncomplicated, straight forward birth.
Straight after Aria was born I was exhausted and I hadn’t had a thing to eat for 36 hours, I wasn’t hungry for lunch or dinner the day before she was born, and then because I had an epidural I wasn’t able to eat anything, I was starving and felt so weak, I kept drifting in and out of sleep. So Mike was the one to do skin to skin with Aria while I slept and recovered. Whilst I am happy for him that he got to have that special moment with her, I feel sad that I missed out on it.
I am very very lucky that I can say I didn’t experience PND, however, I really struggled to breastfeed, the first week of Aria’s life was hell, I didn’t produce any milk, none came at all, so my poor baby girl was trying her hardest to feed from me and was starving, my nipples were in bits and I would literally dread feeding her, even though I desperately wanted to feed her. On day 6 I had been trying for 4 hour straight, switching her from boob to boob, and she was trying to feed and then unlatching and screaming, I was crying and asking Mike what is wrong with me? Why can’t I feed my baby? Why isn’t my body doing what it is supposed to? He made her a bottle of formula we had bought just in case, and gently took her from me and fed her while I sat there and sobbed that I had failed. It was then that we decided we would formula feed her, before I spiralled down a road I didn’t want to go down. I will be forever grateful to Mike for that. I truly believe he saved me from getting PND. He saw what was happening and stepped in. I am feeling amazing now, Aria is the best baby, she is always happy and is just an absolute joy to be around. Being a Mum is the best thing in the whole world.
Being at work helps me feel like “me”; here I’m not Aria’s Mummy, I am Davina. I have normal conversation with other adults about normal things. Whilst I could talk all day about Aria and bend anyone’s ear about her, I also like that I can be myself and have some normal conversation 3 days a week.
Something which has surprised me about motherhood is - without sounding big headed – how good I am at being a Mum! I feel like it’s what I was born to do, I knew a lot about babies and children as growing up my aunty had babies and I always helped look after them and spent a lot of time with her and the kids. But I never expected it to come as naturally to me as it has. My life has completely changed, but at the same time it hasn’t, as Aria has just slotted in so well with our lives and parenthood has come so easy.
Everyone compares themselves and their babies don’t they? Particularly through social media. I follow lots of lovely mummies on Instagram and I am forever comparing Aria to their babies – Aria isn’t crawling yet, although she is VERY close to it, yet I find myself wondering if she is ok, and if she is behind, as I see some babies crawling at 7 months. But I have to remind myself on an almost daily basis that all babies are different, Aria does lots of things that other babies aren’t. I read an article not too long ago, which said that babies can only develop one skill at a time, once that is perfected, they learn a new one, and actually it made me feel better – because while one baby was learning to crawl, Aria was learning to wave or talk etc. Babies do things in their own time and their own order! I do think that an awful lot of judging and “mum shaming” goes on through social media, I see it all the time, and I will always take time out to message that Mum to tell her to ignore the haters, we are all just trying to do our best and raise our children the best way we know how.
Take each day as it comes, your baby is unique and so you should never compare them. You’re doing an amazing job, even if some days you feel like you’re failing. Enjoy and cherish them, as they won’t be this little forever.