The Truth About Motherhood: Natasha Morabito, BFLF Events

“We have had some blazing rows, especially in the early days through tiredness and exhaustion. I’ve felt quite envious that he has the separation of work from home.” Natasha Morabito on her relationship in the early days of motherhood…

Natasha Morabito is 44 and recently moved to the New Forest with her husband Joe, and their two children: Alex, seven, and Marianne, five.

Did you always plan on having a family?
No. I was quite adamant that I didn’t want kids until my mid-30s. I said I needed eight hours sleep a night and I wouldn’t be able to cope with the sleepless nights. Then it all changed and I was DESPERATE to get pregnant.

Did it happen quickly or was the conception journey long/complicated?
It was a bit complicated but compared to some people it wasn’t that long. I think we tried for a year and then when nothing happened we went straight for private IVF as I was already 35 and I didn’t want to hang about or try less successful treatments like IUI first.

We used the Create clinic and I did one round where I got four eggs – they put two in and it failed but a few months later we tried with the frozen eggs and got Alex.

The pregnancy was quite eventful as I had IUGR (inter uterine growth restriction), and I had to have loads of scans and then Alex had to come out at 35 weeks by elective caesarian as he had stopped growing, basically. My placenta was just not giving him enough food or oxygen and my blood pressure was going mental.

I think I had some form of postnatal depression that manifested itself in me thinking something awful was going to happen

Did you feel well informed about childbirth or do you wish you’d known more?
I think I knew enough theoretically but nothing can actually give you the experience except for going through the experience yourself. I have never gone into labour so I’ll never know what that is like. Sometimes I feel sad about that, about not having given birth naturally but I am quite an anxious person – I almost liked having the choice taken away from me and being told ‘you have to have a caesarian’

What are your memories of the early days with your firstborn?
Well, Alex was taken straight to special care as soon as he was born because he was quite small (4lb 5oz). I didn’t get to see him for about 12 hours which was hard. Joe (my husband) would pop between the ward and SCBU and come back with photos for me. I was busy expressing colostrum into a little syringe and eventually got someone to put me into a wheelchair and take me to see Alex.

I think I just cried and cried when I finally got to see him. The nurses asked me why I was crying, because he was safe and I said ‘boohooo because he’s so beautiful’ hahaha. We had two weeks in hospital, both of us, so I got to learn about changing nappies and breastfeeding from experts which was great, but I think bonding suffered because I wasn’t with him 24 hours a day – I was popping in every three hours to feed and change and cuddle him.

If it was difficult, at what stage did it start to fall into place?
It was difficult. The lack of sleep was really hard and I was very, very worried about SIDS – I got a breathing monitor that clipped onto his nappy and was always checking on him. I think I had some form of postnatal depression that manifested itself in me thinking something awful was going to happen. I’d envision dropping him every time I took him up the stairs, every illness was a potential disaster.

Don’t buy loads of expensive kit. Don’t buy toys. Get your babies outdoors in nature.

One time he did actually get that pinprick, non-fading buy levitra pills online rash (luckily it happened when we were at the hospital for a hip scan) and we had to sit in A+E and wait for blood tests. As he got older and more robust it got a lot easier and he was actually a very sweet and biddable toddler. He wasn’t fussy about food and he very rarely had tantrums – of course I had to mess it all up by getting pregnant again when he was 15 months old.

Was it different with subsequent children?
Yes. With Marianne she was born at 38 weeks so I could hold her straight away. She was alert and could support her own head and just seemed a lot less fragile than Alex was as a newborn. She was an equally crap sleeper and I was exhausted a lot of the time – the first six months with two was really tricky, I felt a bit like I was drowning. Once he was old enough to do a couple of days at nursery that was brilliant. Also my mum would often take Alex out one day a week.

Did you return to work after maternity leave? 
When I got pregnant with Alex I had fairly recently started a nursing degree. I didn’t go back – the hours were just too long to be away from a one-year-old baby. I started working again when Marianne was about one. I had met Hannah on our Mumsnet postnatal group for our older children – met online only, not in person, and when she came up with the idea for Big Fish Little Fish, we were some of the first people she told about it.

As I wasn’t working and was hoping to do something I could fit around the kids I suggested that I help with the communications side of things. We met in a pub in Peckham and had a chat and since then I have been part of BFLF. The company has grown over the last four years as the children have got older and spent more time in nursery/school so now there’s more work but also more childcare, so it has worked out pretty well.

We are a high maintenance family of screamers, basically.

How did becoming parents affect your relationship with your partner?
We have had some blazing rows, especially in the early days through tiredness and exhaustion. I’ve felt quite envious that he has the separation of work from home (even though he often works at home) when I have to do the majority of the housework and childcare and my job as well.

I think we go through ups and downs – we still share the same sense of humour and love doing similar things. We probably shout more than we should and find it hard to let things go. Neither of us is particularly easy going – and I think we’ve passed that on to the children. We are a high maintenance family of screamers, basically.

Can you sum up motherhood in one sentence?
Motherhood is constantly feeling like you aren’t doing enough whilst simultaneously running yourself ragged.

What has been most surprising about your parenting journey so far?
How much it is possible for one child to talk about Lego Ninja-go.

What do you wish you’d been told before embarking on parenthood?
Honestly, I don’t know – I think you have to find out for yourself about the tiredness, the expense, the constant interruptions and the mess.

If you could go back in time, what would you change?
I’d have a bigger age gap.

What’s your advice to expectant parents?
Don’t buy loads of expensive kit. Don’t buy toys. Get your babies outdoors in nature.

What’s the greatest challenge you face as a mother?
Controlling my temper. All the time.

And what makes it all worthwhile?
I’m not sure it is.

Any other comments?
My replies might be influenced by the fact that we are three weeks into the summer holidays and I have just moved house/have no childcare until September.