MY FIRST YEAR OF BEING A MUM
Is anyone here? Sorry… it’s been a while. Hopefully those of you who used to read my blog back when I regularly posted will now be following me on Instagram and YouTube, the two platforms I find myself on most of the time these days. If you do you’ll know that I now have a one year old daughter! Wtf. I know.
The past year has been such a crazy experience and despite being an auntie five times over and thinking I knew what to expect, I was so wrong… I had no idea. I thought sleep deprivation would be the hardest part, but in reality I just adjusted and got used to having less sleep. I thought all the mum stuff would be tricky; like knowing how to soothe her or dealing with the constant crying, you know, like what you see in the films. She’s actually been a dream and has been a very calm baby since day one; she knew what she wanted and she totally taught us what to do, so it kind of came more naturally to us than I had expected.
But the parts I found the hardest were more to do with me and less about her. Beforehand I didn’t even worry about how I’d feel about my post-partum body because I really didn’t think it would bother me, but wow… it affected me more than I thought it would. I felt proud of what my body had achieved and I wanted to to let it heal and take it’s time, but equally I felt like I was living in someone else’s body and I genuinely felt uncomfortable. Not being able to wear clothes that felt like ‘me’ and not really being able to shop for new ones either, and at the beginning when breastfeeding that feeling that your body doesn’t even belong to you but to someone else is bizarre. Looking back at photos of the few first months, I don’t even look like me. Post-partum hair meant it was thicker, longer and so dark, everything about me just looks different. I also found the work/mum life balance very hard to deal with and I felt scared and worried about the career I’d worked so hard to create… would I be able to come back and work in the same way I did before? Will people wait for me? Will I even want to go back to work?! Without any maternity leave or example to lead by I felt alone in my worries despite the support and encouragement to take the time off. Before having a baby I just thought you could work from home with your baby in a rocker beside you, oh how wrong I was. I hadn’t considered the fact that your mum brain and your work brain are two very different things and they don’t work well alongside each other. I had one bad day when I first went back to work, I learnt from it and then never tried to work whilst looking after her at the same time ever again. Mum guilt is a real thing I’ll tell you that.
What shocked me the most from the past year was how much I enjoyed it. I always wanted to be a mum, it was never something I doubted but I was never obsessed with the idea of being a mum and I didn’t spend time dreaming about how it would be. I think I just spent years worrying about giving birth and the logistics of having a baby incorporated into our life… so it shocked and overwhelmed me when I realised how amazing it felt. And as quite a sarcastic and cynical person I was surprised at how gushy I had become and how positive I felt about the whole experience. For the first time I didn’t feel like pointing out the negative or warning people off the idea, I wanted everyone to know how happy I was. It was a brand new feeling to me, that’s for sure. I feel like people rarely talk about the ‘best bits’ when it comes to motherhood, maybe it’s an English thing? All you really hear about is how hard it is. Yes maybe there are days you’re exhausted or just want to cry, but I’m pretty sure there’s been a moment everyday where I’ve laughed too… and I didn’t laugh daily before having her. The feeling of love and pride is unlike anything you would have ever felt and it makes everything else seem irrelevant. Someone commented on my Instagram post today saying having a child felt like their heart was constantly outside their body – perfectly put.
I wish I hadn’t spent so many years scared of giving birth, or putting off the idea until I had certain things in place or had been to various places first. But also who knows if I would have had the same experience or felt the same way if the timings were different. I feel so grateful and I know that I’m so lucky, I don’t forget that for a minute. My life is different now, but so much better. I haven’t yet got the work balance thing right, but having her has put so many things in perspective and I no longer feel FOMO or jealousy of others. I’ve learnt to be more present and enjoy the moment and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.
Thanks for following along for the past year and for all your supportive comments. I’ll try not to wait another year to post on here again, no promises.