For most mothers, the first moments after your child is born is something that you will vividly remember for the rest of your life. Meeting your child for the first time is incredible and can be intensely surreal – the child that you’ve been growing for 9 months is finally here.
It’s funny what you do remember – for me personally, I remember the calm in the room. It was just me, my husband, my obstetrician and our midwife. Hugo had the cord around this neck and so once he was out, he was placed on a little table by the midwife and given some oxygen, and in less than a minute he was on my chest. It was a surreal experience; I had watched countless episodes of One Born Every Minute during my pregnancy so was expecting tears of joy, but I actually started uncontrollably laughing – it was the strangest reaction, and why this happened bewilders me to this day. Perhaps it was joy that he was out after 42 long weeks, that he was here and he was healthy. Very odd, but these moments are full of raw and uncontrollable emotion! I do also remember that during my labour I managed to lose a very sentimental earring, and whilst I fed my newborn son I watched everyone in the room spend a good 10 minutes searching for it on the floor and in the bins until it was found, knocked into a drawer beside the bed.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, I’ve asked some mothers I know and admire to share with us what they remember about the first moments after their child was born. Sometimes funny, always emotional, and very memorable.
EMMA ISAACS | Founder and Global CEO Business Chicks
I’d been preparing for my first birth and working hard to visualise what it may turn out like. Truth is, nothing could have prepared me and it was better than I could have dreamed up anyway. It wasn’t (like most births) without its challenges: 36 or so hours of labour, precious little sleep, moments of self-doubt and wanting to escape all crept in, but in the end, all of that was of course forgotten. My first baby, a little girl we named Milla, was born into the water in a planned home birth. She came out with her eyes wide open, moving all four limbs under the water as if she were trying to swim. As I gently lifted her out of the water she latched on to my eyes, and all I can remember is that she didn’t cry one bit at all, nor did she blink. It was just a wise, knowing stare. When my husband talked, she latched on to his gaze too. The bit that surprised me the most was the stillness and silence. Every birth I’d seen had babies screaming their little heads off, but this one was very peaceful. Fast forward eight years to the arrival of my fifth baby (also a planned home birth in water) and physically it was a lot easier – Piper was a smaller bub and the labour was only four hours – and it was every bit as magical. Piper was born with her four siblings watching on and my first thought (after birthing her big brother in a challenging birth a few years earlier – he was 4.9kgs!) was ‘Wow! that was easy! She’s so little! Milla and Piper’s births both had me in disbelief and it’s a word I’ll forever associate with childbirth – no matter what happens, it’s always a miracle to me.
Follow Emma on Instagram: @emmaisaacs
JESSICA SMITH | Paralympian, Speaker, Author
I remember being in total shock. I didn’t cry and I felt as though I was forcing a smile in front of my husband and the nurses, don’t get me wrong, I was ecstatic, but my reaction didn’t really match my emotions in that moment. It was incredibly surreal. I remember thinking ‘shit’ I just had a baby. My next thought was, ‘now what?’. When everyone left the room so we could have a few quiet moments, the enormity of the situation hit me, and a few silent tears streamed down my face. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
Follow Jessica on Instagram: @jessicasmith27
KIM SAUNDERS | Blogger + Social Media Manager, Captain+Co
With Mabel, pure relief and joy. But at the same time, the fact that I had just become a Mum really didn’t sink in for a few days. Maybe a few weeks. I do remember the overwhelming sense of love I felt for both her and my husband who just looked at her with such pride and a love like no other.
With Freya, I felt exhausted, terrified and ridiculously relieved. It really was not a nice labour. Very touch and go with me but I did remember looking at my husband and bursting into tears when they told us she was a girl. So happy to have another little happy healthy little girl. I didn’t get to bond with her as quickly as I would have liked to due to complications with my labour and not being able to hold her. But all I could do was stare at her from my bed and was just overwhelmed with love and relief that our little family was now complete. She was just so beautiful and the perfect way to end my baby journey.
Follow Kim on Instagram: @captain.and.co
AMANDA WOODWARD-BROWN | Head of Content, Rupert Sanderson + Contributor, The Grace Tales
For some reason what will always stand out for me in those first few moments after birth is Violet’s eyes. She had these enormous deep blue eyes and from the moment she was placed in my arms she just lay there silently, looking up at me with this bewildered yet solemn expression on her tiny face. Locking eyes with her was the moment my life changed completely. I couldn’t quite believe she was here and that I was a mother. I also remember the late morning light pouring in from the windows, flooding the room with hazy winter sunshine. It was just my husband, the midwife and I in the room, and those first few moments after Violet was born will always be some of the happiest, most peaceful moments of my life. Funnily enough, my second daughter’s birth was quite different. I had a water birth and Isla was born still in her amniotic sac. The midwives at the hospital called it a mermaid birth. It is quite rare and meant to be very lucky. Although when she was born the midwife told me to catch her and I remember looking up at my husband terrified, saying ‘I can’t catch her!’ I have never been very coordinated and still to this day, I am hopeless at catching a ball, let alone a baby. It didn’t help that as she was in her amniotic sac she actually looked like a big grey ball. Needless to say I did end up ‘catching’ her and her amniotic sac then broke. But my husband still laughs about it today. Isla’s name derives from the Scottish word for ‘Island’ which we thought was quite fitting.
Follow Amanda on Instagram: @amandawoodwardbrown
ROZ KELLY | Co-Founder, The Delivery
The love hormones run strong when I reminisce about becoming a mother. However through the avalanche of emotions which come with a life-altering experience … I vividly remember my first naive mum moment arrived quickly. I’d somehow assumed I’d fit back into size small underwear but when I tried to put them on to leave the birthing suite they barely scraped past my knees! The midwife thought it was hilarious and then my poor husband had to give me his and rush off to the shop and pick up some big granny undies.
LISA WIPFLI | Co-owner, Nourishing Bubs
Becoming a mother for the first time was the most unbelievably empowering and emotional time in my life. Ted was two weeks overdue in early February 2015 which I recall it being one of the hottest summers on record. I’m not a huge summer fan at the best of times, but carrying around a 3.8kg baby and 22 extra kilos I was ready for this little baby to officially join us in the real world. I was induced and pretty quickly Ted started to get distressed, so my Obstetrician decided it was time for an emergency c-section. By this time I was pretty high on gas and a number of other drugs so I definitely wasn’t as clear minded as I would have liked, however when they announced that we had a baby boy and they placed him on my chest, I was overcome with so much emotion. I never thought it would be possible to feel so much love so instantly for someone, and yet it happened within a blink of an eye.
This emotion was short lived, and quickly turned to…’ouch, I think I can feel that more than I should’. Turns out, I am one of those petite people who needs a bit more kick in my epidural (more than the required amount for my weight). I felt quite a bit of pain, and detail of the way they were stitching me up. I can assure you it wasn’t a nice feeling. Don’t worry, I made sure when I was going in for my elective c-section with Jack, I reminded them of this experience from the first time, and they gave me a nice added dose of epidural.
Becoming a Mother has made me realise how tough females are. It is the most beautiful gift in the whole world and every day I feel so grateful that I have been able to bring two new little humans into this world.
Follow Lisa on Instagram: @lisawipfli
NICOLE RAY | Editor, Minty Magazine
In the moments after my first birth…
The absolute elation… our little person was earth side with us… I forgot to even ask if it was a boy or a girl… all I cared about was getting the little bundle of absolute joy into my arms.
The exhaustion… 24 hours of labour had definitely taken its toll.
The fear… what the heck do we do now?!
The love… for my partner who was my rock and got me through, for my new baby boy, and for every mother who has walked this path before me.
Follow Nicole on Instagram: @mintymagazine
This is the story of Joan, a young mother living in Uganda, via our charity partner Birthing Kit Foundation Australia. Joan tells the harrowing and heartbreaking tales of her first two childbirths, then expresses her hope for a better experience giving birth to her third child with a birthing kit provided free of charge by Birthing Kit Foundation Australia. Every wrap purchased from Mama Maya funds at least one birthing kit for a mama like Joan.
Learn more about BKFA here: @birthingkitfoundationaustralia