Nine Months More

The First Night

I look back on that first night and the memory is a haze. I couldn’t think. I could barely move. Your Dad was on a roll-out bed on the floor next to me. You were in one of those hospital plastic cots beside him. I was dead tired. Drained. Exhausted. In pain. You were crying. Not the kind that tore the walls down. But the kind that I now know meant you were scared, alone, wanting me. But I just called out to you, annoyed, and hushed you to sleep. I was desperate to sleep. I won’t forget it. I churn inside over it. I try to regret nothing, but that first night tears me up inside. That was my first night as your mother.

That first week, your father was nothing short of amazing. He changed you. Cuddled you. Comforted you. Fed you. Adored you. The look in his eyes changed the instant you were born. A strong, confident, overzealous man melted into his little boy. Nothing has changed since. He shed his old self when he walked out of that delivery suite holding you. I couldn’t stop thinking about me. Just like being on a roller coaster, I felt sick. Sick from the medication. Sick from the lack of sleep. Sick just watching you that whole week in the humid crib, with your little sunglasses on under the UV lights.

parenting books first night UV lights

I spent nine months preparing for you, a lifetime waiting for you. Now all I wanted was to sleep. The delirium was overwhelming. I cried over nothing. I cried over everything. Hearing you cry, as they took blood from your tiny heel, tore me up inside. I wanted to die. How could all this be happening? I lost everything that I was. This was not how it was supposed to be.

I remember that first night. I wish I had picked you up, nestled you close and had you sleep right next to me. I did with your brother. I refused to put him in one of those hospital plastic cots. Despite the glares from the midwives, he slept with me. Nestled close, so I could hear him breathe and feel just how warm he was. I refused to shun him to sleep. Instead I stayed up and watched him.

“Mum, you hug me too much,” is what you say to me now. Each time I do, I let go of the pain from that first night. A little bit more with each suffocating hug.

That first night I was not ready to let go. I didn’t know I had to. It took me a long time to learn. I’m still learning. I stopped reading the books. I stopped listening to the advice. I started to listen to me. I am letting go.  Slowly.

  • Absolutely beautiful. Xx

  • Sophie Allen

    What a gorgeous post.

  • Simone Scoullar

    Beautiful words, Josefa.

  • Catherine RodieBlagg

    Lovely post honey x

  • What a lovely post – thank you

  • Alicia O’Brien

    beautiful, this is lovely. So relatable as a mother . As with anything in life, sometimes to move forward we have to cut the string tying us down xxx

  • Jane B

    Such beautiful memories to treasure.

  • Kevin

    That was really good. Sent me back 2 years and four months.

  • sarahbraaksma

    beautifully written.. x

  • Lovely post Josefa, beautifully captures the rawness of emotions on that first overwhelming day of being a mum

    • day one of being mum is certainly ‘raw’ in all aspects of that word
      thanks for stopping by
      xxx

  • Lyndal

    This is beautiful hon #teamIBOT

  • So beautiful! Thank you for sharing, I think most mums can relate to it!

  • eatplaybond

    Wow you have captured that moment so beautifully, I have tears rolling as I read this. NOTHING can prepare you for that first night, you are forever changed from that moment. Surviving that first night is proof that you are a mother and everything from then will be easier. Incredible writing x

    • thank you so much erin for sharing your thoughts
      this comment really hits home with me, in so many ways
      xxx

  • Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos

    What a lovely story. Heartbreaking too. It’s not nice to have regrets, especially about treasured moments such as this, but it’s good to know that you are letting it go. We’re not perfect, any one of us. We all deal with things the best way we know how. And it must have been so hard having him in that humidi-crib. Big hugs to you 🙂
    xx

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    Lovely, heartbreaking post Josefa. My birthday girl (7 today) also had to have phototherapy and bilirubin heel prick blood tests when she was a newborn too. It was one of the hardest things to watch – I felt so helpless.

    I think you are on the right track to letting your feelings from that first night go. In the end, it is the constant, endless love you show over many years that counts more than the reactions of a tired, sore and confused new mother for one night. I hope you can eventually lose the regrets over that first night.

    • that’s the part they leave out in the books – the ‘helpless’ part
      should have chapters and chapters dedicated to that feeling
      xxx

  • Danya Banya

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. That first day or so is as much about you as about them. And aren’t Dad’s wonderful. I had complications with my first child. Her Dad was holding her for her first few hours while they took me off to be operated on. Then, while I was recovering, he did all the nappy changing, he bathed her, he nestled her.

  • Grace

    Beautiful post, Josefa. I think that first night is tough for many of us. So glad you had that support in your husband. x

  • Deb @ In All Things

    Beautiful post. I remember that exhaustion so well – and just wanting to rest. The first few days are so hard.

  • Carly

    Well written, it sounds like a very hard time that you are now dealing with. Hugs for a happy ending!

  • Josefa, things aren’t always sweet as roses like we are told and it is okay. You aren’t alone. Beautiful x

  • Melissa Mitchell

    Oh. Oh Josepha. I am brand new to your blog, this is my first visit ever. I found you on FB through another blog I read.

    It feels like serendipity to find you on just this post. I have been thinking so much this week about the first week of my Son’s life at home with us. The post natal depression, the exhaustion, the fear, the overwhelming fear.

    I remember it like it was yesterday. I linked to it on my FB blog page just a couple of days ago. http://www.thethingsidtellyou.com/2008/02/of-love-and-gratitude.html
    These men of ours, they’re amazing, no? The strength they show as they love their little boys enough for both of us. Just until we’re ready, recovered. Ready to be the mothers we know we can be.

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful post. I’m so, so glad that I found you. I already can tell you’re going to become one of my favourite writers.

    xxxx

    Melissa @ The Things I’d Tell You

  • I have feelings of regret about Ava’s first night too. The others I would never have left for a second, but at barely an hour old I left her on her own to have a shower. Boatman had gone home and I just needed to be clean after the torment. To feel like a person. She was fine, sitting there, watching the world, but I feel bad I wasn’t breathing in her deliciousness, and introducing her to it.

  • Beautiful post, Josepha. x

  • Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    you will never be able to let go fully.

    Trust me.

    Love this post so much… truly beautiful.

  • Lee

    Very emotive…the words and thoughts of a loving mother.

  • Beautiful post Josefa

  • Mumabulous

    Just coming over to check this post out after Kevin at the Illiterate Infant gave it the double thumbs up. Its a very poignant post. Many of us have been there. Still you really really shouldn’t beat yourself up for feeling overwhelmed and completely exhausted after the birth. Motherhood is not all about the birth but what happens in the 18 years (er make that about 30 years) after that. You are doing a wonderful job.

    • thank you for stopping by
      after five years at this motherhood gig, my perspective is changing since that first night (albeit slowly)
      xxx

  • Laney | Crash Test Mummy

    I wasn’t able to hold my boy for the first day. It was really hard. I try and hug him all the time now but he hardly ever stays still long enough!

  • What a tear-jerker 🙁 Beautiful post. It’s funny how we change with our children. I like to think of myself as continually evolving as a mother. My first bub, I followed the advice, leaving him in the bassinet, only feeding 3-4hourly, not allowing him to comfort suck or sleep in my arms. My second bub was in special care for 3 days and as soon as he was let out I didn’t put him down. I feel like number one son missed out. But they don’t remember the first nights like we do. xx

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