It’s baby number three...but I think I’ve forgotten how to do this

Ellen with her newborn son

Ellen with her newborn son - Credit: Archant

My husband has become mildly obsessed with a new TV show that puts civilians through the terror and agony of Special Forces selection.

Two hundred chaps signed up for the brutal process endured by members of Britain’s most feared military organisation – the SAS – with the majority ditched for failing to make the grade.

On episode one the recruits are told to “bring a PE kit and an open mind”.

They are then screamed at, made to stand and crouch in a variety of stress positions, submerged in water, prevented from sleeping, yelled at some more, tortured for a time, stripped to their underwear and, despite suffering from serious fatigue and wobbling spasmodically on unstable legs, forced to complete a deeply unpleasant fitness test known, for good reason, as ‘The Sickener’.

I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

This is tame compared to childbirth.

And on that note, perhaps I should point out that I’m fine, I’m back and I have a baby boy in tow.

Most Read

He’s a chunky, grisly, red-faced, gurning, squirming lump and, in my completely unbiased opinion, utterly adorable.

Once again I have fallen head over heels.

Which, I suppose, is some consolation for the fact that, in my version of Who Dares Wins, I’m still in battle mode.

That’s right.

After having my insides turned out and being subjected to the emotionally arduous ordeal of creating life, I am now in the crucial sleep-deprived state of conquering the peaks and pitfalls of new motherhood.

I should be good at this by now, shouldn’t I?

I mean, I’ve been through it twice before.

And yet, the thing about having a baby is that – much like going through hardcore Army training – the brain’s natural response to extreme trauma is temporary memory loss.

On the Orwell wing of Ipswich maternity suite I barely remembered how to pop up a babygrow.

“It’s like riding a bicycle,” cooed the midwife patiently watching as I changed his first soiled nappy to get a jet of urine in my left eye.

After fruitlessly attempting to sleep for two nights in the noisy and overheated hospital ward I felt able to venture home.

And here I am, wavering between love-induced endorphin-rich euphoria and the paralysing, sweat-drenched moments of I cannot do this.

I know it won’t be long before I can undress, undo, wipe, dispose, dry, fasten, re-dress, swaddle and cuddle in a single fluid motion.

But right now even getting out of bed is fairly onerous.

Having said that, life with a newborn isn’t exactly complicated.

It’s hard work of course. But relatively simple.

All you have to do is deal with the entry and exit points of its food.

I think my difficulty stems from the fact that I’m doing this while riding a cascade of hormonal turbulence that leaves me sobbing hysterically at the drop of a hat. Or more accurately, the drop of a nappy full of meconium which, to the uninitiated, is a black sticky substance not dissimilar to tar.

Like Sod’s Law or Buttered Toast Phenomenon - a sticky issue that has plagued scientists and breakfast tables for decades - this nappy landed contents to the carpet. And it was as good a reason as any to have a cry.

Truth is though; I haven’t got a lot to complain about.

Most of the time I’m propped up on a mountain of pillows with a Cath Kidston mug of tea and both remote controls.

Other than the weekly SAS instalment, I haven’t time to actually watch anything though.

I’m too busy staring down at the little thing I am now responsible for and hurling photos of him up on Instagram and Facebook for all the world to see.

“Sleep when baby sleeps,” advises my midwife.


Daylight hours fly by as I watch the rise and fall of his chest and the funny expressions on his slumbering face only to be beset by crippling tiredness in the dead of night when, by the light of my iPhone 6 he wants to test his lung capacity on the neighbourhood.

He’s asleep now. Right next to me.

And I’m only breaking off from my usual mooning over his perfect rosebud mouth to write this column because it’s about him – my new muse.

I can even forgive him for the fact that I spent six hours of last night slumped in an excruciating position that Bravo Two Zero would have struggled to contend with, with my nipple clasped vice-like between his jaws.

He may be an instrument of torture. He might utilise guerilla warfare tactics the British Army would be proud of.

He may have an explosive bottom, a projectile vomit shooter of a mouth and the expert aim of a forceful water cannon.

He might even subject me to many more nights of sleep deprivation, wailing and whining.

But he’s the cutest drill sergeant for miles around.

And I have one driving force in my arsenal that the likes of these Andy McNab types do not. Love. And that conquers all.


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter