The second night after you were born, it was 4am and the woman next to me was snoring through her baby's cries. Poor women got some death stares the next day I can tell you...she was simple exhausted, not the "world's worst mother". I was feeding you your bottle (shock horror...another blog post for another time) and I stared at your little face.
If your expecting the part where I tell you that I felt this lightening bolt of love, I'm sorry to say that wasn't the case. Ours isn't that kind of story.
I quite liked being in hospital, I liked the fuss and that I could always waddle up to the midwives station, catheter between my legs, to ask a question. I loved the breakfast buffet and the visitors and the excitement. But when I left, I felt dread. I was on my own and I had no idea what I was doing.
The first day at home, I couldn't sleep when you slept because I had no idea when you would wake up. And when you woke up, I wouldn't know what to do. I missed my old life, the freedom and the selfishness, but most of all I missed being in control. The waves of anxiousness would overwhelm me. I remember staring at you in your little baby chair, clutching on to the kitchen island (how middle class!), doubled over in fear.
I can't do this...I don't know how to do this...I don't want to do this...I'm rubbish at this...
I always thought I'd find being a Mummy natural. I fancied myself as being maternal in a Peggy Mitchell "faammmmmiiiillllyyy" crossed with Julie Andrews way. You were so wanted and so excitedly anticipated. But when you arrived I didn't feel like I thought I would. I was so bound up in nerves and fear of the unknown, that I felt so unsteady in my new role. I didn't feel that rush of emotion they tell you about in the movies. I found it hard and relentless and overwhelming.
|I sent this to my best friend, where I may have referred to you as the "Fat Controller"....sorry about that!|
However what I believe now is that that second night (first doesn't count because you were in special care and I fell asleep...who's the world's worst mother now) a seed of love was sown. The kind of love that a Mother has for their child; the sacrificing, all encompassing, pure devotion for another human being. You see that kind of love has grown.
Don't get me wrong I always loved and I always cherished you, but that Mother's love was a journey for me. It's the kind of journey that as I look back now, has snuck up on me. After your first injections, I peeled off the plaster to see a spec of blood and I cried that you had come to harm (however necessary). When you laughed for the first time, I could have died of pride and joy. And when I got myself trapped in the downstairs loo, the thought of being separated from you meant I tore the door off its hinges. All of these tiny examples show me how I have become all the things I didn't feel I could be in those early weeks. They show me that I might not of been "Mother of the Year" from day 1, but I've learnt. We've built a foundation you and I, from that little seed to a forest of thousands of memories and moments.
I hope you know that when I say I love you, you will know it comes from the deepest part of my soul. It's been embedded in my heart, through all the lessons I've learnt of how to love like a Mother. It can never be shaken or doubted.
I found this poem for your naming day and I've put it below, it sums up much better than I ever could. I've adapted it slightly from the original I found on Pinterest (author unknown).
I may have made you and nurtured you. But it's because of you that I learnt to be a Mother.
"I felt you. You were a lentil. Then a lemon. Then a melon. I followed advice. I read, I googled. Could I tell you that I was scared? I talked to you, sang to you...I didn't feel ready.
But then you were here. Eight pounds, fifteen ounces.
I held you. I fed you. I realised I would spend my life doing things to make you happy and that would make me happy.
And then there are times I want to give up. You've made me rethink my sanity. You've made me want to fall at my Mother's feet and tell her that I get it.
But then you smile and you laugh and you grab my hand with those little fingers.
We're growing together. We are seeing the world like it's new. I will open open my heart and love will rain down all over you. You'll giggle and I'll do it all over again.
And we will walk hand in hand. Until you let go. I made you, but you made me a Mother".
*This has been hard to write, no-one likes to admit they found things hard and saying you've goggled "bored with your newborn" doesn't tend to be topic of conversation with new Mums'. However I am determined to put myself out there because I know I'm not alone. If you are a new Mum and miss your old life and don't know what the hell you are doing...I get it, I've been there. Being a parent is tough, it's the steepest of steep learning curves. But hear me on this...you are doing a great job. Even when you feel like you aren't. Worrying is part of being a mother, checking and doubting you are "doing it right" is ingrained in you. And if you don't feel like the movies or how the books describe-that's OK. But you are their mother, who is doing her best and that is enough. And that is love.