Motherhood, whilst it stumbles along slowly in those first few exhausted weeks has flown by for me in a haze of being; being patient, being tired, being proud, being angry, being loved. My son is five, five, I have to catch my breath form the storm of emotions that number brings forward in my chest.
I blinked for a moment…
My beautiful son is confronting the years with delighted gusto whilst I hastily try and hold onto the time we have together, it falls through my fingers like fine sand. I am still skipping through being a ‘tryer’ and a ‘coper’..I wake daily to my mummy role more confident with the fact I don’t have all the answers. The idea of a ‘perfect’ mother has long been put on a high shelf with the dusty parenting books and although the thought of her still unnerves me she no longer stands next to me in the mirror to compare to. You cannot compare yourself to fiction.
I was thinking what advice would I give to new mummy me, how frightened and overwhelmed she was, how determined and vulnerable. So I wrote this post for the first time mothers who rely on Google and calling their own mothers at two am, and the seasoned mothers that will remember and nod that gave their reassurance and wisdom so generously to me.
Come home and take a breath, the first day alone just my little Leo and me was a haze, he cried I fed him, he cried I rocked him, he cried I changed him, I cried and he slept. You spend nine months building to this moment and then suddenly there is you and a tiny person that relies on you for everything, and you sometimes have no clue what they want. I didn’t know how to bath him or how many layers he should wear…
I can’t recall that new baby smell, but do remember the silken feel of his skin, the tiny hairs and little fingers, the little blur sailor boat buttons on his white cardigan. It got pooped on and ruined. His fragile cry that sounded more kitten than person.
You will rise and sink in an ocean of emotions, go with it, cry when you need for no reason and laugh when you can. Some days will be calm and others chaos. Panicking is ok. Do not be lonely, call people you are not an inconvenience. Some are hit with waves of love that leave them breathless others with whispers of doubt and fear. You will feel more level and like yourself again soon, you made a person it’s going to have consequences. If it doesn’t, you have not failed, ask for help or ensure someone else does for you. I rang my midwife one day when I was too tired to lift myself from the bath and asked her to come get Leo, she could keep him…I just needed to sleep, she could give him to someone else. She came and held him whilst I had tea and toast. I of course did not give him away but it shows my desperation.
Rest when they do, seriously put the bloody hoover down. If you can get dressed and put on lippy hats off to you, if you want to wear pyjamas for three days them bloody well do it. Whether boob or bottle talk to them whilst they feed, trace every line in their face and enjoy those times when they sleep on you. You will be encouraged to do things one way, or another, this is best…no that is best, don’t use a dummy, don’t formula feed, don’t this…do that…everyone is different find your own rhythm. Though you probably don’t need all those toys and products you brought..that bumbo he hated..that night light he hated…that special all singing all dancing chair..he really bloody hated. Don’t worry if lots of bits wobble.
You will make mistakes. You are scared to let people know, don’t be.
You are amazing even if you feel far from it, you can eat snickers for breakfast and burn the dinner. Don’t be embarrassed if your boobs leak in public or if your child Exorcist vomits on the bus. Do not listen to people who unkindly think they know better. The first time I shakily walked to the post office new baby in buggy, breathless and anxious a lady in the post office told me I shouldn’t have brought him out because it was a hot day. He was 7 weeks old, had a sunshade, a fan, sun lotion and a vest. I had tried so hard. I left the queue and wept in the street.
Shh mummy don’t cry.
A mummy’s love is so tired that its eyes are gritty, so great and protective that some nights it watches them sleep as a moses basket feels like a threatening thing, it’s a love that will break and build a person. It’s a love for a lifetime…
I will see you for a cuppa tea in five years’ time!
Below is an awful but hilarious video of me a month after Leo was born I sent to my friends to make you feel better about yourselves….(Pre-blog quality film!)
My lovely friend Ellen wrote a fab post on what a new mother really needs, think it follows perfectly!