Oh baby…

Posted on March 18, 2016

7


To all you mums out there, can I hug you?

 

Because a) I bet you haven’t been hugged in a while. And b) I don’t know how you did it.
How you coped, cradled and pushed on day after day, night after night.
How you slept upright holding your baby in your arms in the wee small hours and didn’t drop her off the side of the bed.
How you had to forego the delicious prospect of a hot shower enveloping your crusty body because your screaming baby wouldn’t be put down.
How you pounded the same lonely, concrete streets for three hours, praying she would sleep, just sleep, please.
How you existed with your unwashed hair and the same clothes as three days ago, feeling like an oily slug.
How a day could pass without talking to another adult.
How the same walls, day after day, felt like they were squeezing the life out of you.
How some days you almost didn’t recognise yourself in the mirror.
How your life became a hamster wheel of laundry, washing up, unsnapping your tatty nursing bra and stressing about nap times. And nothing else.
Oh, she’s so precious. But this is so hard. Back-breaking and unappreciated. Overwhelming and surreal. And frightening. For goodness sake, why is it so frightening?
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Some of you are so good at it. I salute you. You’ve got your mummy shit together. You went into this with your eyes open. And it is what it is. What did you expect? Let’s get on with it. Let’s have another. Hell, let’s have three.
Then there’s the rest of us.  For whatever reason – older mum, career mum, complications, general incompetence – it doesn’t quite gel. It takes us 6 months to get into any sort of rhythm and even then, most days we’re still dangling over a precipice of anxiety and self-flagellation.
It’s been eight months since she was born and every day she does something so cute I want to eat her up. With chips. Her throaty laugh. The way she slaps my wobbly tummy. The way she flutters her eyelashes when she’s had enough food. But I still stumble about – a ridiculous fraud, a terrible actor in a surrealist film; faking it, barely pushing my greasy nose over the finishing line every day and creeping into bed – exhausted, aching and dishevelled.
I’ve lost myself, but only for now I hope. What I really want to know is: when will this anxiety, this constant buzzing in my head, stop? How can such a calm, organised person become such a bag of nerves? Why am I so terrified and terrorised? By a baby.
They say the years fly by and don’t wish it away – but I do. I admit it. I want her grown up and talking, jumping in puddles and high-fiving me, arguing about sweeties and bedtime. I’m the selfish mummy, I know. I want it to be easier.
So, mummies who are a bit rubbish like me – I’m sending you big squeezy hugs. Mummies who are good at this stuff – I wish wish wish that I could be you. And mummies who are still waiting to meet their babies – it might click. But it might not. Be prepared. And remember that the woman who you just passed pushing a pram, looking a bit shit and smelling faintly of sick – was probably me. And I suppose it must be OK to be a bit crap at this job. Quite a few of us are. Maybe we should wear badges? X
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Posted in: Family