I had a very straightforward, healthy and – dare I say it – enjoyable pregnancy. Once I got through the nausea and bone-aching tiredness of the first trimester, I had tons of energy and loved watching my bump grow.

After a reasonably quick and manageable birth, Hazel Rey Allison was born on Saturday 12th November. And that’s when it got really hard! The first few weeks with a new born were very tough. I struggled with breastfeeding and felt heartbroken when it didn’t come naturally. I suffered with low moods and found it hard to bond with Hazel – I was waiting for that ‘rush of love’ that so many new mums describe. The first six weeks were unbelievably hard.

I stayed in hospital for 4 days after Hazel was born as we struggled with breast feeding. The support of the midwives at LGI was amazing – they were absolutely fantastic and really helped me and my husband in those difficult early days. Outside of hospital, I went to a breastfeeding cafe run by NCT which was also a brilliant help when I was finding feeding hard work. I’ve also used the services of La Leche League Leeds via Facebook. The knowledge shared by these women was invaluable and their support got me through some really hard times.

Hazel is now six months old and I’m happy to say I’m thoroughly enjoying life as a parent. We cracked the breastfeeding eventually, and we’re still going strong today. The rush of love came out of the blue, a few weeks later than I’d expected but there all the same. And despite the sleepless nights, lack of spare time and endless nappies, I’m having a blast!

I think we have a culture of sugar-coating the experience so as not to scare women, but that makes it hard to cope when things don’t go to plan.

Jen

My advice to others… I think we have a culture of sugar-coating the experience so as not to scare women, but that makes it hard to cope when things don’t go to plan. For anyone struggling in pregnancy, I would say ‘it’s ok to feel bad’. The image of the glowing pregnant woman is not realistic – pregnancy is hard, tiring work and not always enjoyable.

Don’t feel like you should be overjoyed every second of the day – its fine to feel shit. It’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your pyjamas all day. It’s ok to eat junk food. If you’re feeling very sad and can’t shake it, reach out and talk to someone.