The number one word I go back to when people ask me how I feel about becoming a mother is this: Disbelief
I still, nearly one year after having a baby, cannot believe that I’m actually a mother. On my (in-frequent) solo trips out in the car, I allow myself to listen to the radio on LOUD and the odd time I’ll glance back to get a glimpse of “Mr Fox” sat precariously on the car seat in the rear view mirror, giving myself a reminder I actually have a child.
Reflections after the first year of motherhood
There are some obvious reflections about the first year of becoming a mum which I probably could have guessed if I’d thought about it hard enough during pregnancy – things like:
– having a baby is the hardest thing I’ve ever done
– that every day, one form of worry or another comes bounding into your mind like a springer-spaniel on heat (since seeing the two lines on the pregnancy test in fact) – anything from getting that damn latch right to why aren’t they crawling yet? Did he give himself brain damage when he fell of the sofa? What if he does open that cupboard and drink the bleach?
– being part of the “mum club” – yes there’s so many more conversations to be part of now, which prior to motherhood were simply “stand at the edge and smile” conversations. I’m in the institute now. And I bloody love it.
…What’s surprised me during the first year of motherhood
There have been some things, which have taken me by surprise during this first year:
1. The unique preciousness of the “first time” – I’ve realised how special every “first time” is – and the soaring feeling of pride at each milestone has been at points, tear-inducing. Ethan’s clothes are pristine, I match his socks to his t-shirts (yes, still), his toys are shiny and new – I know for sure it won’t always be like this, so for now I’m going to enjoy it.
2. The meaning of selflessness – no, this isn’t me patting myself on the back here – I just recognise that before Ethan came along I don’t think I truly knew what this meant. What it means to be willing to do anything for another person, and happily do it with no question to protect them and keep them safe. It’s been such an inherent, deep, instant and silent sense for me since becoming a mother, and there is something precious about that.
3. My connections with other mothers – from the mother in London who gave me an umbrella when she saw me walking through the rain (she was stood at the bus top and said she and her little one would be dry on the bus) to the mother in Starbucks who followed me into the toilets when I’d rushed in there upset after I thought I’d scolded Ethan’s had with my tea, just to check I was ok. These types of connections with other “stranger” mums have always stayed with me. Not only this, but relationships with ‘mother’ friends are also somehow now redefined. It’s as if we’ve survived a war together, came out the other side, and can now compare battle scars and rehabilitation techniques.
4. The impact of becoming a “three” – This weekend, I leaned over to my husband whilst we were alone together at a non-baby wedding and said “Isn’t it funny how we used to be satisfied with just having one another, and now, we’re just …not?”. We both burst out laughing when we realised how that sounded – luckily, he gets me.
What are your reflections on motherhood so far?
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