This is our ninth week of parenthood.
Not only am I a new mum, I’m:
- the mother of a baby boy (a new experience having never grown up with brothers of my own!);
- recovering from surgery after having an emergency c-section;
- living as an expat in a temporary apartment in a major city in a foreign country away from family;
- attempting to breastfeed exclusively; and
- attending a startup school to see if my business idea can grow alongside my new family.
This isn’t meant to be a humble brag. Or an online whinge. A laundry list of achievements. Or whatever metaphor I’m trying to avoid pinning to it.
It’s simply a post to share my new experience as a new mum, almost three months in (coming through the trenches of what they call the fourth trimester). Trying to put words to how I’m feeling, how I’m faring and things other mums-to-be, new mums and non-mums may want to know.
Everything I’ve mentioned above is a new learning curve for my husband and I but we’re adapting as we go.
The new baby boy? He’s lovely, smiley, hearty and starting to show signs of his personality these days. Yes, I’m sleeping less. No, I don’t mind. Of course, I’m in love but mostly I’m in shock. I still can’t believe I’m a mum/mom/mother/mammy to this little squishy person that looks up at me with alert, admiring blue eyes each day. Does that feeling ever go away or sink in?
The body after surgery? It’s on the mend, I’m exploring London with my new little buddy and I’m feeling proud. I was chatting to fellow mums (who are also independent and strong-willed) who’ve had similar debilitating surgeries and we all didn’t realise how serious it would be going in – ignorance is bliss, right? But I’m happy to say we’re all mums to healthy bubs and able to get out and about, getting our strength back. Sometimes it’s hard to seek or accept help when you’re used to doing things on your own but this is a time in my life when I’ve been extremely grateful for all offers from family, friends and kind strangers.
Life as an expat mum? Living in London has been brilliant so far. Access to local health services, support groups and other mums has been wonderful. I’ve been out walking every day since baby was one week old. We’ve been on a double decker London bus, the Tube, Thameslimk and Overground trains. We’ve been to the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Southbank, Westminister, Kings Cross, Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath, Battersea, St James and Green Parks, Farringdon, Barbican and plenty spots in between. There’s so much to see and this historical European city is very accessible compared to some. We’re lucky all of the Grandparents have been over and soon he’ll be meeting Aunts and Uncles in Canada and Ireland!
Breastfeeding? So far, so good! I’ve never been a modest woman but being at the mercy of a tiny person’s frequent appetite makes you even more comfortable with whipping your boobs out at a moment’s notice. I, of course, have a nursing cover and muslin squares handy for most places but finding breastfeeding-friendly and affordable fashions has proved challenging. So expect to see a similar maternity wardrobe on rotation thus Autumn/Winter. Still working on that one.
You’re starting a what? Lately, we’ve been attending Campus for Mums in London, Google for Entrepreneurs Startup School for expecting, new and already experienced parents with ideas for, or existing businesses. They accept 35 applicants to participate in their baby-friendly 10-week programme. Think babies crawling about while their parents conduct focus group interviews. Breastfeeding while developing your target customer. Changing poopy nappies while listening to guest speakers outline funding options. We’re part of the sixth cohort and the programme was featured in this week’s edition of The Sunday Times Small Business section.
It’s early days yet but so far it’s been great to meet other new and experienced parents and discuss their ideas, with my baby on my lap! He’s the third youngest baby and youngest boy as we started at seven weeks but there were four-week old and 10 day old baby girls in attendance from the start. I found the programme via Instagram but Google’s Campus locations advertise their application process for each cohort and run similar programmes in Madrid, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Warsaw and São Paulo.
I’ve found a couple of other tech events for women in London but their evening schedule conflicts with the baby bedtime routine. So, if you’re a new mum with an interest in business or continuing education and don’t know where to look, how to start or when to find the time, here are a few links you may find helpful.
Networks for women:
- Marie Forleo
- She Takes On The World
- Career Contessa
- Lucky Bitch
- Profit Lovers
- All Up In Your Lady Business
Best of luck, no matter what experience you’re going through!