My First Year As a Mum……The Truth

When Amelia was a few weeks old her godfather (childless), our really good friend said ” You signed up for this shit”, in response to my husband moaning about being tired due the sleepless nights (bless him, the 6 months of breastfeeding was draining him!). This is partly true, we did sign up for this, however, no one goes into parenthood for the first time, knowing what lies ahead. No preparation, classes or chats with friends can teach you what the reality is like.

Whether you are a child minder, from a large family, have nieces/nephews or are a healthcare professional, until you have your own baby and are responsible for this little soul, you know very little about the sleepless nights, tears (mum,dad & baby), not showering, not eating, and having arguments at 3 am about who is more tired.


I am a nurse, and remember thinking when I was pregnant, that I would be fine with the sleepless night, sure I had being doing 12.5 hour nightshifts for the last 13 years between being a student nurse and on qualifying. The big thing I forgot here is pre baby, when I did an all nighter, be it work or out with friends drinking in London, I got to have uninterrupted sleep for at least 10 hour the next day. Although for my whole pregnancy, we had builders next door, needless to say that we were NOT friends. Many mornings after a busy night shift in a central London A&E Department, the builders got the wrath of my tongue.



I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant, and wished away the next 9 months, because lets face it, pregnancy, as exciting as it is, it can also be pretty boring, so you have a lot of time on your hands to think about the baby (this time use to be devoted on my nights off to my friends Pinot Grigio,Vodka and Corona). Once Amelia arrived,the first month was a whirlwind of getting to know her, figure out what the hell I was doing (I’m still figuring this out), visitors and introducing her to all our family and friends. She was born on a Saturday & did not have her first bath until Thursday, they did not bath the babies in the hospital, and I was so nervous, so I waited for my mum to come. She did the first bath, and to be honest, the second and third one too,until eventually picked up the courage to do it myself. Looking back, I was so tired, that everything seemed like such a mission.Paul went back to work, and then it was just Amelia and I, left in the house.


Some days I got dressed, other days I didn’t bother. What was the point, if I was not going anywhere I’d change out of one milk stained PJ’s into a clean one. The bed sheet would have to be changed daily, after being soaked in leaking milk from the night before, oh how glamorous. Some nights, if I thought of it, I would put an Inco Sheet down and sleep on that. I used the breast pads, but they just slipped out every night, so I gave up. They don’t stick. There were many days of tears, where Amelia would feed all day long, I was hungry, thirsty, needed the toilet, afraid to leave her for a second. In the early weeks, I would wait until the evening for my husband to come home, and then have a shower. When Amelia was about 3 weeks, I attempted to have a shower while she was sleeping in her mosses basket, only to come out to hear her choking (she wasn’t, she was coughing), that was the end of me showering in the daytime for a while.


Crying…why? Was she hungry, thirsty, cold, too hot, need a nappy change? Where was the app to tell me this. I regret not giving her a soother/dummy, as I think it would have made my life a whole lot easier. She could have fed all day long if I let her, so we never had the routine of feed every 2 hours and sleep for 2 or whatever babies are meant to do, we just winged it. She has never been a good sleeper, though we are going through a good patch with sleep at the moment, but I know only too well that having a baby gets easier, then harder, then easier, then harder and so on. At 4 months she started to sleep 7-7 and we thought great, this hasn’t been too bad, it lasted a week! Now she sleeps 7-7 with two naps in the day, 2 hours and 1 hour, but this can vary.



What I have learned in the last 13 months of having Amelia is that :

*Its ok to leave your baby with someone and have some time to yourself, they wont kill them (I’m referring to my husband here).

* No one tells you that you will be arguing at stupid o’ clock about nappy changes or who did it last.

* It’s ok to reminisce and talk about what life was like pre baby (no need to feel guilty), we all do it.

*  It’s  ok to feel like punching someone in the face (sorry how very un PC of me),every time you are told to “enjoy her while she is small, they grow up so quick”, when you are so delirious with tiredness, that you feel there is nothing to enjoy,

*Don’t  stress when your baby is crying in public, it’s not half as loud as you think.

*Don’t worry about your house being dirty or untidy, you can guarantee someone else’s is far worse.

* Don’t be stressing about getting back into your pre pregnancy clothes, half mine still don’t fit. Your body shape changes after pregnancy, my hips are defiantly wider.

* It’s ok to stay in your PJ’s and watch crap TV, box sets or whatever you fancy all day in the first few weeks. However, you need to get out and about and meet friends, go to mummy and baby groups or just take a walk, it is good for your mental health.


So, has this been the best year of my life? No, that would have been the first year of marriage, loads of holidays and going out with friends. It has been the most stressful and tiring year I have every had.We had our first baby, in a country without family support, moved house and country, but have survived.  There have been some really crap days, which I still have sometimes, and the really good days. However, it has been the start of the best THING in my life. I love every bone in her body,every day she makes me laugh (and cry sometimes), and I look forward to eventually doing it all over again.



How was your first year as a mum? Would love to hear your thoughts & experience.

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T & A xxxx

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20 thoughts on “My First Year As a Mum……The Truth

  1. I think we mums try to look so perfect instead of just being honest. I always put myself under pressure to be perfect mom. Im having twins in October which will be babies 3 and 4. I’m dispensing with perfection and just going to do my best x

  2. Hi Triona
    A very honest account of your first year as a mom. I totally agree. I will be coming up to a year as a mom in a few weeks. Getting pregnant was a surprise for my husband and I, while we wanted a family, we were hoping for a little longer time being married, just the two of us! (You swear I had all the time in the world to have children, im not in my 20’s anymore!!) When the idea sunk in, we were delighted, as were our families. The first grandchild on both sides. We eagerly awaited the arrival of Aobihínn. I used to really look forward to my scans, so I could see her! We were all very happy, till the 9th of May last year, (the day before my due date) when my father got a very serious stroke, he was only given a 2% chance of survival. We were all devastated. I never cried so much in all my life. I was a week over due with Aoibhínn. On the 17th of May, Our beautiful Aoibhínn was born, my poor dad was in ICU (upstairs and I was down stairs in the maternity ward). It was bitter sweet. Dad survived, thank god and is now home. Learning to walk and talk again. He lights up every time he sees Aoibhínn, and gets a great kick out of her mischief.

    All the supports I thought I was going to have, I didn’t and understandably so. All the books I read and information I looked up, didn’t seem to help or aid me in looking after this pink bundle of joy!
    As you say Triona, there were days I didn’t wash myself, and afraid to leave her for any moment of time at all.
    Even my poor husband couldn’t do anything right. Silly arguments over stupid things. I would bite his head off, for simple things. I thought I would die from lack of sleep, and I was very sore for a long time after giving birth.
    There was evenings myself and my husband would go driving in the car, trying to get her to sleep, When we arrived home, we were afraid to breath in case she would wake up!! looking back we can laugh at it now.

    Luckily Aoibhínn is a good sleeper now, she is extremely active. We need eyes in the back of our head to watch her. She is into everything. The washing machine never stops, and bath time is a much longer affair as she is always filthy by the end of the day.
    I used to love the SMA ads on TV the slogan “your doing great”, I kept telling myself that.

    Having said all that, I cant imagine my life without her now, and she is our World.

    I love the blogs Triona.

    Arlene and Aoibhínn xx

    • Thanks Arlene, I can only imagine how much of a bitter sweet time it was and still is for ye. Life changes, sometimes not for the better initially, but we find a way. I’ve yet to have a night out with my husband since Amelia was born, 13 months ago. We have been to weddings,but miss going for dinner, just the two of us. As yet again, we have moved again to a place without family or friends!
      Wishing your dad a safe recovery, and in a positive note, how lucky are ye that he got to see Aoibinn , and will watch her grow up xxxxx

  3. Great post. It really is impossible to understand what it’s going to be like to be a parent before having your first child. It’s definitely been much tougher, and more rewarding than I could ever have imagined!

  4. I also live far away from my family and found this the hardest to deal with. I actually became very depressed about it especially not having my mom and my sister around all the time. Like you triona with the bath I waited for my sister to visit before I used my steriliser we survived with hospital bottles until she got here! I think giving birth for the first time is the most amazing and most traumatic time in any women’s life and yes nothing can prepare you for it!!

    • Thanks Lisa, yes it’s terrifying!I had practised using the steriliser before I had her, and then didn’t use it for a long time!not having your own family/friends around is hard x

  5. Great post.I definitely think the sleep deprivation is the worst!We were(and still are!) blessed with a great sleeper with Mini-she starting sleeping 12 hours after only 8 weeks.Her sister doesn’t really sleep at all-not even during the day!We re knackered but you’d go through hell for them!

  6. Looking back you can appreciate all you have experienced, and how much life has changed. I always say having your first baby is the best and probably worst time in your life, but it is also a magic time and a time when you experience a love you never could have imagined.
    Lovely pictures too.

  7. Thank you 🙂 I enjoyed reading your post 🙂
    I am by no means a young mum now, I am 33 and I am the mum to 4 children … i had my first at the age of 19 and loved it! I don’t know if it was the naivety of youth or what but i had a very positive experience and quite honestly a good baby; slept through the night early, never sick, very easy going and a smart little girl 🙂 When i had her i was ignored and snobbed by older mother’s who felt i was beneath them .. i was not, but i didn’t believe that back then, i wasn’t as confident in my role as a mum as i am now … My daughter has grown to be a beautiful young lady who is smart, very self assured, she wont follow anyone blindly, she knows what she does and doesn’t want to do and that’s that and she is an amazingly talented and committed dancer and musician. So far so good!

    My second was not good from pregnancy, which should have told me something, my pregnancies got worse each time from there! … She contracted Whooping Cough at 2 months old and was very sick for a fair while and required constant medical care for quite a period. She is my handful child now and always has been, but she has the most beautiful soul and is a caring person who goes out of her way to be nice and friendly to everyone! I cant tell you how many times i have had parents, some known to me some not, come up and tell me what a friendly, lovely, kind girl she is! So far so good!

    My third came 9 years after my second, and after finding the man of my dreams, her Dad 🙂 But you know what people said most often? Why would you go through all ‘that stuff’ again?! Well, cause i want to!! She is now just over two and is a VERY smart little girl and makes me laugh so much!! I think she has the title of ‘Family Clown’! She is the first of mine to have eczema and also an Egg allergy which has been a bit learning curve and very frustrating and hard at times with lots of trial and error!
    So far so good!

    My fourth is only 5 months old and is my first boy! ‘Oh my that’s a lot of children for someone your age!’ … No it’s not, not really!! But that’s the sort of thing people usually say to me as well as ‘You must be done now!!’ … Maybe, maybe not! My boy is a joy .. but even having the two older girls around to ‘help’ this has probably been the hardest time in my mum journey so far .. I am sooo tired most of the time, i have been known to fall asleep in the shower, eating a meal or reading a book …any where any time it could happen! lol I too have days of no shower or staying in my pyjamas … it happens! I have the combination of two teenagers and all the extra curricular activities that come with them, and a toddler who is still a mummy’s girl and a baby! And add in all the extra things along the way including crap/life threatening pregnancies to involuntary redundancies, to an accident that almost killed my husband only 4 months after our wedding resulting in him not working for 8 months etc etc etc! And because of all this im sure there will be many more hard times ahead .. but from experience i also know there will be some of the best times of my life along with them!!

    • Ah wow!!!!i feel nearly guilty for sometimes having a moan & feeling tired after reading that!!!I hope you are very proud of yourself,and that someone tells you every day you are doing an amazing job & that you are loved.
      Thank you for your feedback, I want to read it over & over again!xxx

  8. Fabulous post Tríona. I can relate to all of it.
    I thought the first three months were hell. It was only at 6 months that I got over the first hump and began to relax. Nothing can prepare you and people are definitely not honest enough about how bloody hard it is.

    Keep up the good work girl.


    • Thank you Vanessa, yes I think people either forget or don’t want to scare you about how hard it is!!Supposingly the second one is easier (you are more relaxed!!!), although ” relax “has seemed to leave my vocabulary in the last year!id use that word very lightly, and come back to ye all when I have a second baby!


  9. Thank you for this 🙂 I’m currently on Week 7 of the sentence of sleep deprivation and was nodding vehemently along with a lot of your post – and wondering how long it will take for the 7-7 sleeps – I think at this point I’d settle for more than half an hour in the cot!! A friend of mine came out with the “But sure you signed up for this, surely you knew what was coming”. Baby was four weeks old, and I’d had a really difficult pregnancy – my response was that if people were honest about how hard it was, it would grind civilisation to a halt over time…

  10. Gorgeous post and pictures and most importantly so honest and candid, having a baby is a whirlwind of wonderful and tough times, sleep deprivation sucks and you have to do what’s right to survive the hard times and get help when you can. Loved this. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts. Please link back or add my badge if you can x

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