“When you are the only one that can comfort them when they are sad or over tired or poorly, that and the size of the smile on their face when you get home from work. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.” Libby Hobbs on the little joys of motherhood…
Libby Hobbs, 28, lives in the Surrey hills, in a small village called Chilworth, with her husband and their son Einar, who is 14 months old.
“I always hoped I would have a family, however when I was 18 I was told I wouldn’t have them naturally as I have polycystic ovaries. They were wrong… an “oops” moment turned into my most precious achievement to date! It was quite unexpected.
I know that many may say ‘whatever love’ but I actually enjoyed my labour. I didn’t plan anything, go to any class or session other than yoga when I could make it and a three hour chat with a hypnobirthing teacher days before. I was Miss Disorganised.
However, it kind of worked out for me, as we just went through the motions without worrying about what stage we were at or what I ‘had’ to do next. He came into the world 7.5 hours later being stuck for four. There wasn’t any panic or worry… just lots of me bobbing about in a birthing pool.
I have to say, it being through the night seemed to help me, as it was calm and quiet. I had the right people around me too, both my mum and my husband were there. I wasn’t sure if I wanted people around me but once it begun I really didn’t think about it and actually it felt totally right.
I think that I could have found out more than I did. However, the thing I was most shocked about was the post labour rigmarole. I was taken to surgery and stitched straight away and from then on it all seemed a little other worldly. Nothing was really explained to me, I had no idea that my lady parts would be in such a frickin’ state for sooooo long! That I would pee when I stood up, feel detached from my body and almost a year later I would still be healing.
I just felt that there wasn’t enough preparation or information for after the labor – all the focus seemed to be on popping this little thing out and not what it would do to me physically or emotionally.
What has been most surprising about my parenting journey so far is how much it changes every day.
A little over a year ago now, it’s all still very fresh in my mind yet those first few days are hazy. I just remember living for the light. Feeding constantly as Einar fed for comfort (which I didn’t realise was a thing) so I’d feed for two hours thinking he was eating, then 30 mins later have to start all over again. Josh, my husband. went back to work after a few days of him arriving so I remember being alone a lot, and having that feeling of change. I knew that this was going to change my life but I didn’t fully know how.
I’m still learning now. I feel that for me, each stage has needed me to change slightly, alter my thoughts and my routine and learn for the current phase. I struggled with postnatal anxiety and I think that’s been the toughest challenge for me – to stop it taking over.
I started my own business two months before I became pregnant so it was a bit of a game changer. I always wanted have my own career, it’s so important for me and for my mind to have a focus and purpose of my own. I worked right up till the day Einar was born doing photoshoots and editing collections (I wouldn’t advise this as I was 100% exhausted afterwards!). Then when he was four and a half months I signed the contract to my own shop.
I now run a homeware store – called And Hobbs – in a small village called Shere. I only stock independents, which gives me so much joy. Learning about their techniques and processes makes me feel inspired, which has enabled me to keep that sense of self. I was amazed at how quickly I felt my own personality fade after having Einar. I loved every moment yet my identity most definitely faded and working helps me hold on to this.
Motherhood is: the most incredible moments that are filled with treasure, uncertainty and adjustment whilst learning a new dance every day and each evening feeling proud of this little human that we created.
After having Einar, I fell in love with my husband all over again. I felt totally safe within our unit. Over time that faded and I have to admit at the end of last year we had our hardest time yet, fearing we wouldn’t resolve it. However, calling a time out and taking the time to really talk to each other, we’ve worked out a way through it. Who knows where we will end up but I’m feeling that love again.
I think I underestimated how much of a game changer becoming a parent is. We have always been very in tune with each other, yet independent in our work and our passions. I thought that he would understand and predict the things that would change but he hasn’t and I guess from his perspective nor have I. We still have to work things out and talk about them, not letting opinions just be presumed by the other.
I wish I’d been told that nothing you do will feel 100% right, let alone perfect. Follow your gut and don’t listen to those that don’t know you… follow your own intuition.
If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t worry so much about what others thought/think. I was so worried what friends would think of me having a little one. This has been the most rewarding, most difficult and still most unexpected challenge… and I’m doing it! Who cares what people think. I have the best reason to not go out… I have my little one to take care of.
My advice to expectant parents is: talk to each other, even when you want to throw something extremely heavy at their head. Talk about it. Tell them when you need time, even if it’s having a shower on your own or brushing your teeth. And talk to your friends, they love you and they’ll love you whatever you look, smell or feel like.
The greatest challenge I face, as a mother, is balance and the voice inside my head saying that I’m getting it wrong. I want to work, I love work. I am passionate about what I do, what I sell and who creates it. I love people. Interaction is so important for my sense of self. However, I feel that I’m missing this time by being at work all day everyday. I took Christmas off and I saw these lovely little moments of his. I’ve missed all this over the last six months and it plays on my mind all day. What else am I missing?
But when you are the only one that can comfort them when they are sad or over tired or poorly, that and the size of the smile on their face when you get home from work. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. When someone sees him after a while and says: ‘look at you little man, you’ve grown!’ I don’t know why, I just feel proud.”