With my very first Mother's Day approaching, it's got me reflecting on the past 8 months and some of the things that have taken me by surprise (both good and not so good!).
Hardly words of wisdom as such, but here's my take on the trials and tribulations that is becoming a Mother...
1. You won't sleep
Of course I knew this! But again, the extent of the lack of sleep... like what the actual f&*k?!
Throughout pregnancy and then in life with a newborn everyone asks 'How's she sleeping' and for the most part she was/is pretty good for a baby (I've definitely heard of much worse!) The people asking this question are always quick to share stories of their children, their friends children, their grandchildren etc and when they started 'sleeping through the night'.
Before Ava arrived I had mentally prepared myself for the lack of sleep, and the fact that a full nights sleep was a long way off, but I had heard so many tales of babes sleeping 12/13
hours from 6 weeks, 2 months, 3 months - so I knew the end was in sight, I kept telling myself just a couple of months of this and then back to normality (what even is normal anymore?!)... well not my babe. She's 8 months old this week and we are yet to sleep through the night and I've given up hope of it happening any time soon. Ah such is life.
2. Your world will change
Hardly a surprise, and I'm sure every single person I came in contact with when I was pregnant could have (and probably did) tell me this. But the extent of the change is what has taken me by surprise. I was well aware that it meant no more spontaneous nights out, and plenty of sleepless nights. The part I wasn't aware of is the emotional change.
I was one of these people that said 'I won't let the child change me - I'll be the same as I always have' but from the second she arrived, the fierce sense of protection over this tiny human took me by surprise. It was no longer about me, nearly every thought I have every day puts her first. I'm always thinking of the impact on her with regards to any and all of my decisions. I wasn't expecting that. Also it's made me a massive sook...
3. Everyone will have an opinion
I'm a pretty opinionated person myself (apologies to anyone in my past life that I have been guilty of inflicting my opinions on) but can normally take things on the chin with a pleasant smile and wave them on their way not giving a second thought to whatever well-meant advice that was shared. But when you are operating on minimal sleep, people's constant 'have you tried' 'what about..' 'I think you should', really wears you down and starts to grind your gears. Patience sure does wear thin and it will take all of your reserve to bite your tongue and not tell them where to go. Or maybe we should, then people might stop doing it...
4. Things that were previously pretty gross - are no longer.
If you had told me a year ago that a baby was going to projectile vomit all over me - I would have gagged at the thought and imagined myself ditching the kid as quick as possible to get myself to the shower. But when your small defenceless human starts to vom, you will hold her, snuggle her even, and let it happen all over you just to keep her calm. The shower will wait.
5. Love comes later
This is a bit of a fib - because someone did tell me this, and it really resonated with me because its contrary to what the majority of others will tell you.
A lot of people talk of the instant love they feel for their little mini-me and that it's a love like no other - and I'm sure that's true for a lot of people but not for everyone. I mentioned the fierce sense of protection I felt, and that definitely happened the moment she was born - but I wouldn't call it love. The love came later.
I can't remember the exact moment it hit me (maybe a few weeks in once the fog lifted) but every day since then it's grown and I can't imagine how I'll feel by her 18th birthday (told you I became a massive sook...)
6. Mum guilt is real, and it's savage!
You will try your best to make the 'right' decisions for your child (and yourself) but whatever you do decide you will feel guilt and the need to justify your decisions to others. There's no advice or anecdotes for this one, simply that Mum guilt is a thing, and it sucks - and you probably are making the right decisions.
And a few fun tips that I'm sure I was warned about but didn't really believe until they happened to me and I became 'that person':
1. Hair washing is a luxury - hello dry shampoo.
2. Showering is optional
3. You will develop an annoying 'baby talk' voice
And if you've ever considered a career in the entertainment industry, have a child! They are forever your number 1 fan. They will look at you like you have the voice like Adele with moves like Beyonce. Just don't do it in public, no one else thinks you've got talent.
So 8 months in (thats 33 weeks of mum life) I think I've well and truly earned my first Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed would be nice, even better if it's preceded by a full nights sleep (231 nights and counting...)