I'm pretty lucky. Since my daughter was born I was able to breastfeed her. 6 months later I'm still going, albeit’s a lot different now.
The first 3-4 weeks were pretty awful. I felt sick every time it was feeding time and couldn't really eat much.
Everyone around me was fussing and thinking "oh goodness, she's depressed! She's not eating!!"
The reality was that I was pretty fed up as I wanted to eat but just felt too sick to do so.
Thankfully, I was prescribed some anti-sickness medication a few weeks in and things finally calmed down.
The nights of my retching over my babies head whilst she ate are gone and I was able to start eating some good meals again!
Since then, breastfeeding has become a total joy! The connection and calm that comes with a feed is something I want to remember forever.
With the joy of breastfeeding also came a little bit of frustration. You see, like most things in life we tend to move the goalposts.
We go about setting ourselves all kinds of goals and once we’ve reached them, instead of celebrating and feeling good we quickly change our end aim to something further up the “goal ladder” so to speak.
So for me, once the initial high wore off that I could feed my child and not feel sick, it quickly became apparent that if my daughter needed food then I was it! I couldn't really plan to do too much or to go away for any length of time. I felt somewhat a little trapped.
Of course when she was a newborn, I didn't want to leave her at all but as she grew I started to feel a little bit restricted in what I was able to do - no gigs or rehearsals were on the cards that was for sure!
So, myself and my husband decided we wanted to give a bottle of an evening, that way I could get more sleep (this didn't happen of course, every time she cried I would wake immediately!!)
Anyway... what a bottle DID do was create more bonding time for my husband and my daughter and it also got her used to feeding off something other than me! :)
Eventually we moved up to a couple of bottles a day and I stopped expressing milk and we tried a bit of formula..so far so good!
Its amazing to me how things progressed and creeped up on me in a way.
Here we are, she's 6 months. We're feeding her veggie puree, formula and we're down to only one breastfeed in the morning.
I remember the first time I tried expressing milk with a double pump, with the sound of it and the way the bottles look with the funnels attached I definitely felt like a farm animal being milked. My husband even affectionately (?) started calling me "milk cow"
So with this new lease of freedom that bottles gave me and a whole lot of questioning about consuming dairy - "If I have felt this terrible feeding how do cow feels being made to do it ALL THE TIME?!!"
Anyway, I digress (!) …Things started to move on, as I've mentioned here, I started drumming again and slowly getting back on the gigging horse.
All along the goalposts have kept moving and in life this seems to be something we give high praise to. We WANT to progress we WANT to see things changing and be able to say we’ve come X amount of distance in as little a time as possible.
Change seems to happen automatically - so why are we always trying to make it progress quicker? Only just this afternoon I caught myself wondering when my daughter will be crawling. And then I’m sure it’ll be walking, school and so on…
I have been feeling so conflicted and emotional about all of this.
At one point all I wanted was to not be at the mercy of my daughter for feeds and to have a bit more freedom and now I have it? Well, I feel sad. Sad that the precious time we shared is coming to an end and that I'm not needed as much.
I'm pleased that on the whole I really enjoyed breast feeding and tried to enjoy every moment with her.
Gone are the days where we'd wake up and feed, watch the morning news and then I'd feed her again to sleep. Gone are the gentle, quiet middle of the night feeds. And gone too are the bitty 4am feeds, that lasted merely seconds before she slept again, whilst I struggled to resume sleep - That I don't miss!
But I think what I’m learning, or trying to at least is to really and I mean REALLY here (not just some hippy dippy quote I’ll forget in half an hour) but I’m trying to enjoy every moment as much as I can. Because as everyone has told me… it goes by SO quickly! Kids grow SO quickly!
Along the way I’m trying to re asses my drumming and how I can have both a career and also enjoy motherhood. I’ve got a beautiful new drum kit and am investigating how I can make the best use of my time to serve others with it but also not take away too much time from my family.
When I find out what that is, I’ll let you know (new blog post maybe soon!) but until then, enjoy the good bits, laugh at the bad and celebrate every goal you reach!
So after my little dalliance last month back in the rehearsal room, things have naturally moved on… I played my first gig!
The first gig post baby was something I had been thinking about since I first got pregnant.
Along with all the worries motherhood would bring, I had many doubts with how - and if ever, I’d gig again – somewhat dramatic you may think but with a load of hormones flying round my body and no time for any practicing for months it was easy to get on the worry train and ride it to death.
So, what was the gig? Well, it was a cross between street drumming and Stomp!
A brilliant drummer friend of mine – Katie, has created a 2-person percussion show called Bang on! She has been running workshops and gigs for about 15 years and the two of them have been all over the world drumming on dust bin lids, buckets – and pretty much any household object they can lay their hands on!
I got the call to stand in for her friend and had about a week to prepare.
I was flattered that she thought of me and wanted to do a great job. The only way I know how to go into a job and do it well is to prepare, prepare, PREPARE!
I think it was a Gavin Harrison (amaaaaaazing drummer) video where he was interviewed about gigs he’s got and he said it was all down to being prepared.
Well, since I’m a mega fan of his and of the mindset that I always want to do my best. I was pretty much transcribing drum parts as soon as I was off the phone having accepted the gig!
Now, having a baby and preparing for a gig don’t really go hand in hand BUT thankfully, she is of the age where she is napping roughly (on a good day mind!) About three times in the day.
So there I was, baby down for a nap? Music paper out and headphones in!
Within a few days I’d managed to write everything down and was now using nap times to have a bit of a practice on my practice pad.
In an ideal world I’d go practice on my drums but we’re between houses at the moment (long story – and perhaps another future post?!)
So, I made do with my practice pad and was looking forward to the upcoming rehearsal and gig.
Because of said housing situation I thankfully could leave baby with the inlaws whilst I went to rehearse.
The rehearsal went really well, Katie showed me lots of cool grooves, how the show works and made me feel totally at ease.
Gig day arrives and I’m up at 5:30am! The gig is a day time thing, up past Birmingham so we needed to set off early to make sure we could set up in time.
We were expected to do three shows and three workshops throughout the day and I have to say, it was a lot of fun!
Lots of grooves, laughs and audience participation!
This really felt like the perfect gig to have post baby, not only did I get a few goes at the show throughout the day but with Katie’s relaxed attitude all I ended up worrying about was whether my breast milk would leak through my top!
Seriously! I hadn’t left the baby for that long without a feed before*
(*don’t worry kids, she was being looked after by her father and is totes used to a bottle!)
But yeah, all day, no feeding equals ouchie hard rock boobs – not fun!
So after a very fulfilling day of drumming on a pretty cool rig of buckets, trash cans, old guitars and pots and pans. I returned to a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a sleeping baby and the task of hand expressing my breast milk.
How rock n roll am I?!