I am fast approaching the half-way mark, six months since the arrival of my baby daughter and I have to say that in the universal guide to motherhood there appear to be a number of omissions, stuff like overgrown toenails, sandblasted nipples and rapid hair growth to name just a few. Aside from sleepless nights, dishevelled hair and a slightly unkempt appearance particularly during the weeks following the birth of my daughter, I must confess I was quite unprepared for the lack of time to deal with the alarming regrowth of some rather unsightly body hair.
Being dark haired I have since adolescence sported a rather determined line of fine hairs just above my upper lip, not quite what one would call a moustache but they are there none the less hairs that have always been carefully removed with a pair of tweezers. I don’t do waxing threading or any other depilation that requires a visit to a salon or spa, the budget pluck has always worked fine and left me hair free, these days however I am lucky if I have time to pluck one hair let alone three.
I am a single parent which means luxuriating in the bath tub with bubbles caressing my shoulders candles flickering against the tiles, an aromatic haven of aromatherapy odours wafting around the bathroom is no longer a viable option. The indulgent soak has been replaced with a quick dip, no more dallying, shaving (Legs…No I don’t have a beard) has been put on the back burner attended to only in dire emergencies the reserve of Doctors appointments and the like.
I have been living in trousers, without the general public or anyone in fact aware of the growth that lies beneath (think wolverine from Xmen and we might be getting close). My eyebrows look distinctly bushy and my underarm hair is threatening to peak out of my shirt. Unsightly body hair however is just the tip of the ice berg, breastfeeding has proved to be rather more difficult than I imagined and not at all like the glossy photo of mother and baby in posters and pamphlets that were dotted around the hospital throughout my pregnancy.
Whilst breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience and a wonderful way for a mother to nurture her baby knowing she is doing what she can to give life and love to her child, it is also incredibly challenging. Gritted teeth and closed eyes have often replaced the beatific smile worn by the mothers who feature in the aforementioned posters and pamphlets, cradling a babe in arms as it suckles ‘gently’ at her breast. Whilst I have enjoyed breastfeeding immensely I have also soldiered on even when it has been excruciatingly painful, the reality is often quite different from the spiel one is given when told breast is best at the onset of pregnancy.
Suckling is a beautiful artful bond shared between mother and baby, but it can also be darn right painful causing you to shed tears to rival that of your offspring. I know I am not alone in this experience you only have to type cracked nipples into Google to be offered a wealth of forums, and advice on what to do to resolve the problem.
Motherhood is wonderful and whilst I would not change my experience for the world, since it is all part of the unique and beautiful bonding I share with my daughter, I could really do without the monkey legs and inflamed nipples. If however there are any mothers reading this nodding their heads with recognition then let me give you a tip…cabbage leaves stuffed into your bra preferably cooled in the fridge prior to insertion work wonders, preventing further friction and chaffing……now how about adding that to one of those glossy leaflets extolling the benefits of breastfeeding.