I wonder how many mothers have sat, looking at pictures of other newborns, and reminisced about how worthwhile it is.
Sitting here reading a letter from our old neighbours who now have an eight week old, it occurred to me the blur that was those first weeks. We were at home, we were all healthy and compliments of co-sleeping we all had pretty good sleep for the first while, so it wasn’t a particularly exhausted blur.
It was more of a sudden awakening, an awareness of a new part of myself â€“ that of mother â€“ and then of this incredibly demanding, totally clueless as to the boundaries of normal behaviour, little person who had come along and wanted everything that I had to give.
I can’t imagine how hard that must be if a new mother is also suffering from post natal depression. It must be as if this tiny little thing is sucking the very life out of you.
But the thing is, PND aside, it’s okay. That was the most surprising thing for me. How okay it was that everything in my life had changed.
It was like moving to a new country, starting a new job and speaking a new language, all overnight, and all with plenty book knowledge, but no real experience.
But sitting here looking at pictures of their little one, I wondered how many mothers have looked back over the year, two years, ten years, thirty years that they have been mothers, and been struck by just how looking back, you’re not thinking of the sleeplessness, or the cries, or the nipple pain, but rather just remembering the first smile, the cutesy clothes, the general feeling of awe.
If someone tried to draw me a picture of how these past two years would look, I’m not sure I’d have wanted to have a child. It sounds pretty awful â€“ tiring, lonely, exhausting, organised slavery, really, and a lot of structure, routine and planning. But looking back over them and watching my little girl ‘play with the angels’ it doesn’t look at all like that picture.
It’s filled with amazing experiences, firsts, and a feeling I can’t quite put a name to. It’s not just love and it’s not just the breastfeeding induced oxytocin. It’s a blend of both.Â It’s unconditional, overwhelming, all-consuming love.
It’s the kind of love you can never come back from.
At least, it is for me.