Winifred Phoenix-Koda – my third baby.
Immaculate conception essentially and just like my first pregnancy I went to appointments alone, dealt with sickness alone and managed my feelings alone so this pregnancy was yet another not announced on any form of social media so Kylie Jenner did a Bryony Shaw 🤷 (just sayin’) and some of the images below I haven’t shared with anyone before.
I took another giant step into the unknown when my third child was born but I did it with certainty and single and I have people judge my life choices regardless so they can judge as I have to learn not to be so sensitive, irate and closed off and without the family and friend support I’ve had I’d been in the loony bin but I’ve had support of those who genuinely care and love myself and the offspring!
She’s mixed race like her sister which I think is awesome as what’s wrong with blended these days!
I will note: not all men are bad, I do not believe all men are bad and I will never teach my children that. I hadn’t originally chose a single pregnancy with my first because I thought I could make it something it never could be – I was very young and naive – I wasn’t given the option of co-parenting no matter how hard I tried to involve so I ended up a single mother but with my third (to cut a long story short) I chose single motherhood because I knew I could do it as I’d already been left before and I’ve looked after two children alone already.
Raising a new baby and pre-schooler and child alone is a lot different than parenting an inquisitive 3 year old whose friends have mums and dads who either live together or both involved, when my son asks about his father there’s no issue as he’s involved and when my eldest asks I can say exactly where he is as she’s lucky enough to know her grandparents and after several years she knows who her biological is whether he’s her father figure or not.
I never say anything negative to my children about their parentage and know this conversation will evolve as my new baby grows older and more curious, rest assured that it’s normal for anyone to feel sad, anxious, guilty or even enraged after having this tricky conversation which I’ve had prior with my first although I will only touch on those topics as they are private matters.
It’s a single mum’s instinct to feel like she needs to do it all – not realistic though! Despite what your seemingly perfect parent friends say or do no one is super mum so ask for help and accept help! I know that being on 24/7 leads to burnout, so I say yes when family offer to babysit and it’s comforting to know that help is a phone call away – especially with my sister two seconds down the road.
Last moments in Uterus.
The liberation of my body.
Intense overwhelming feeling or gratitude in safe delivery and guidance. Truly labour is both painful but strengthening experience. There’s no pain like pain in childbirth – not even a kick in the balls I’m sure! The most important thing is to remember to breathe all the time! Breathe long and deep – I used the gas and air to help me concentrate as it eases the pain. I know its hard but try to think about other things than the pain. It sounds silly and perhaps annoying but it really helps if you think about positive things! My mother, a student midwife named Hannah and another midwife named Zoe then another (unnamed) midwife was present for delivery (my own mother is a midwife but I needed her there on a mother to mother experience – although it felt like she was teaching the others through the process it felt like especially since at one point the drip had led the baby to become slightly at risk so a couple more came in!)
I handled it amazing.
3 tips on surviving labour
Try to keep calm and just focus completely on yourself and your baby and ignore the rest! You are the one having your baby! You might feel like you are getting overwhelmed by the pains or just by the fact that you are about to become a mother – I listened to rock and metal music while my mum napped in the corner and looked at the big picture which was this is one day in my life, I was bringing my baby into the world, my body has been expertly designed to do this so trust it and trust myself. You can do it and you are doing it. Each pain is bringing your baby closer to being born, each pain will end and you will get a break before the next one – once I got to the final stage each time it’s the thought “I need this over!”
The transition stage is the bit where you are almost ready to push but not quite and each time I feel like I lose control. It is (without question) the worse part of labour (to me) but also the shortest part of labour. This is the stage where a lot of women feel they can’t cope, they might request an epidural, the contractions are very close together, it’s hard to get a comfortable position, words come out that would never normally be spoken and there is a lot of pressure felt as the baby moves down.
It is easy for the midwife to identify this stage by the obvious changes in a woman’s behaviour and it can be distressing but it is such a good sign as it means the end is in sight. So much support and encouragement is needed here. A good birth partner and a good midwife are worth their weight in gold at this stage. The thoughts of moving and changing position will seem impossible but it helps and you need to just make yourself do it and ask your birth partner to encourage you.
The pushing – you made it to the magic 10cm – you have an overwhelming urge to push. It’s an indescribable feeling, your body goes on autopilot. If you are not expecting this, it can be frightening as you feel you are out of control and some people try to fight it by holding back.
The easiest and quickest way to meet your baby is to go with your body.
Push when you feel the urge and rest and conserve your energy between the contractions.
It can be a relief to feel you are finally doing something with the contractions and when your midwife tells you they can see the head it is very exciting. I was on my back in each labour – my body, my rules.
This is it, you are about to meet your baby and you have just made it through labour. You will feel like you have won a marathon by the end and in terms of energy used and you aren’t far wrong. When you hold your baby in your arms, everything else fades to grey – as you feel so numb – the labour not a distant memory but just a moment.
I really can do it. I did it.
Born 27th November 2017 in the morning in Grimsby Maternity Unit. Delivery time 9:38. 51cm. HC 34cm. Weight 3470g 7lb 10oz. Wasn’t aware of what gender I was having throughout, convinced myself it was a boy and low and behold A GIRL!
All births are different – it’s also hard to say how big is the pain you can stand for, at least I wouldn’t have believed how much pain I can stand! That’s why Id like to encourage women to be open with giving a birth and don’t decide beforehand that you want to feel as little pain as possible be open and see whether you need any painkillers or not while giving birth – although I’m partial to gas and air and not massive on pain – just trust your instincts basically. Giving birth can be an empowering experience that affects positively to your self esteem – my third labour was seriously intense and something I still feel euphoric over 4 months later.
I’m so proud of myself.
This is my (at the time) unnamed daughter latching on the breast for the first time – I was shocked, terrified and tired. Such a raw moment. Both embarrassed by this video and love it because it captures post labour and the raw feelings so should I share such a moment. Well, why not.
Meeting their new sibling! Attempted gender reveal didn’t work out as everyone told everyone – at least my daughter and dad didn’t know!
Guess what she’s gorgeous, bright and beautiful and I’ll keep her!
10 tips on single motherhood
You work hard all day for your children, but sometimes, you need to take a break and take a breather yourself. It is fine to sit down and relax, and sometimes let yourself go easy…
The harsh reality is that your ‘little ones’ will one day grow up into independent individuals and leave you. Wish them love and make them ready to face the world on their own. But always be there for them.
Though it is difficult, take all your pains and the difficult times to learn and make you stronger. Each obstacle you overcome will prove how strong and determined you are!
To make sure that your children are happy, you have the responsibility of being happy. That is what your children will learn from you when they see what a happy and positive person their mother is.
Life is not about always being spic and span and perfect. It is also the imperfections of life that give it color and character. Be happy and content in life, and that is how your children will feel and see the love, and know what efforts you are putting in for them.
It may be a male dominated world, where your children are recognized by their father’s name. But when it is you who is putting in all the efforts and being the only parent, it is your name you should introduce them with, not of a person who is not there for them.
Just because you do not have a man in your life does not mean you are alone. Share in your life’s joys and happiness with your children and never feel lonely.
Appreciate yourself and give yourself credit for the way you are bringing up your children. Instead of wondering what could have happened if the father was there, realize how amazing your children have turned out to be and give yourself a pat on the back.
There are many that will be jealous of your independence and your strength, but when someone compliments you on what a wonderful job you are doing, accept it with an open heart. You truly deserve all the appreciation, so take it with the best of smiles.
The anger and hurt you have within will only help you become stronger and more caring and protective towards your children BUT you also need to learn that the anger and resentment can affect your children and you NEED to find ways to process that energy whether it be therapy, exercise or in my case – words.
It is alright to slip up a few times in life, make those mistakes and move on. What matters the most is that you love your children and you care for them.
Of all the things that you do, make sure you choose your relationship with care. Your children will learn everything they see you do, so make the right choices when it comes to the people in your life, and set the limits high for your kids, for their future relationships.
Once you are open to dating, remember to make your kids the priority. Whoever you date will also be a part of your family and a part of your children’s life, so choose wisely -but we all make mistakes it’s human.
While it may sound difficult, make sure your children are your first priority as well as YOURSELF. Whether or not the father chooses to be around is his choice, and if he cannot spend time with them, it is his loss. Remember that your children have you and that is more than enough.
Always remember that by being a single mother, you have chosen to live a life that is first dedicated to your children and then to you. You could have had it easy too, but you decided to be there for your children, so be proud of it.
While being a single mother is no doubt tough, it also helps to create one of the strongest bonds in the world. Of course you will have your highs and lows, but all of it will only make your relationship with your children stronger.
Love yourself, be proud of yourself, and face each day with that awesome smile and determination that you have.
Working and being a single mum can often make you feel guilty, but remember you are teaching your children a very important life lesson. To achieve anything in life, you have to work hard for it.