I was AMAZON WOMAN. Hear me ROAR!
I was expecting a red carpet departure, a royal throne to lounge about on and a lifetime supply of hand fed grapes.
I had just given BIRTH, people.
Out my very own bits; there were (many, many, MANY) stitches, quite an unexpected dose of trauma and a birth plan (whatever it was) that went completely out the window in a zillion tiny pieces.
But I had a little baby boy.
He had a shock of red hair, a squished up face and a voracious hunger that I fast realised I could not keep up with.
My husband and I were absolutely bursting with pride…but we had no idea what we were doing.
Even so, we inched forward, and one day we awoke from the fog and realised we were ‘coping’. In fact, we were ‘living’ and even excitedly planning a first birthday. We were smashing this parenthood gig! He was a good sleeper, and he was a healthy and happy little man.
“Let’s go again,” we agreed giddily, and so we took that leap and (drum roll, please……)
Two under two.
Enter the fog.
Back came the sleepless nights, except this time we had two to attend to.
It was simply one, long day followed by the next, with a bit of darkness thrown in to break up the light. These were formally reserved for sleeping, but were now spent pacing floorboards and googling things like, “Newborn won’t stop crying,” or, “Why won’t my baby sleep?”
This was not our ‘plan’, but of course there was no turning back.
Again, time ticked over, but this time we simply learnt to cope with a baby who apparently did not need much sleep. (Yep; she is soon to turn 4 and she still runs on limited sleep).
Clearly I am no parenting expert, but we are now in a good place. Yes; the challenges are still exhausting and changing daily with bigger kids, but I genuinely feel it has taken this long to regroup and find ‘me’ again. Sure I have changed, for better and worse, but I am back.
Here are a few of the moments when I glimpsed myself and knew I was on my way :
- Seems so insignificant, but with baby #2 I splashed out on expensive facial moisturiser and perfume and brought them to the hospital still in their packaging. These simple, new pleasures, slapped me back to reality after the ‘first shower’ post delivery. I felt clean. I felt good. I felt human again.
- Walking to the shops for the first time with both kids. It took me hours to get out of the house. Bums clean, both fed, vomit stains frantically dabbed at, baby fed again, my own hair brushed…but eventually, I made it. I was doing it. No bloody idea what was on the list that I had left at home on the bench, but I was on top of the world. This was PROGRESS!
- I wish I could say fitting back in to my pre-baby jeans, but I’m still not really sure that ever actually happened. I will say I remember that moment that I bought a new outfit for a wedding (without the need for easy boob access), and felt fabulous! Make-up, hair done AND heels. Back. Me.
- Which leads me to that same night when I believed I was INVINCIBLE. I drank wine like days of old, because I COULD. The baby was fed, asleep and being looked after. I could par-tay like it was 1999! Sure, it was short-lived when he unexpectedly woke at 3am shortly after we had crawled in to bed. But we managed and whilst it was a good lesson learnt that life was now different, it was so incredibly liberating to feel that freedom again.
- Writing. Purging. Oversharing. Whatever. Finding my people. I was a professional, working woman suddenly transformed into a SAHM. Wasn’t I the lucky one? Wasn’t it a privilege to be at home with the kids? Yes, yes, YES…but so incredibly mind numbing. My opinions felt unworthy, my position in life felt questionable and I wasn’t nearly as ‘wonderful’ as Mrs So and So who had it all and was juggling everything effortlessly. I was drowning in domesticity and I still couldn’t bake to save myself. So I found my ‘thing’. I started writing and found others who appreciated and understood what I had to say. I cleared my mind, spat it all out and found some new friends along the way; ‘me’ included.
- Talking about over-sharing…(* Mum; please don’t read on)….that moment when I looked at my husband and didn’t just see him as ‘extra help’ with the kids. Yep. My boyfriend was back and I wanted a piece of ‘dat! Certainly with waaaaay more strings attached than before….way more cushions shoved in front of the door…and way less time to ‘enjoy’ the afterglow…but we were back(ish).
- The first night away from my son was a mix of emotions, but the heady taste of life outside the castle was intoxicating. A trip away with my sisters? Yes please! A new city? Yeppity yep yep! A hot dinner in a restaurant with a white tablecloth, good wine and even better company? No brainer. Live music and no guilt induced curfew? Now we are talking. A sleep in??! Bliss. That trip really came at a perfect time for me. I felt alive.
- The simple things. Finding myself alone in the car singing a Frozen song, only to realise I could crank up that radio and belt out a ‘grown up’ song. Getting to keep the marshmallow with my hot choccie. Heading out for a walk and going at my own pace; not pelting along beside a scooter or crawling at snails pace whilst every rock is being overturned. Time to breathe.
As each day goes around, I creep another inch closer to reclaiming myself. I know this sounds dramatic. I was always going to ensure ‘never to lose sight of myself’ before I had kids; always wanted to remain strong and independent and fully my own person. I wasn’t going to ‘allow’ a child to change me. But I was changed. Forever. Beautifully. It happened. And I am incredibly glad it did. I am a newer, better version of me now. I want a better world for my kids. I have to role model generosity and kindness. I support others and push myself further. I have to be brave and have faith every time I wave them good-bye.
Most importantly, I love so very much harder.
I found a ‘new’ me.
One who certainly doesn’t need as much sleep anymore, that’s for sure.
But I actually quite like ‘her’.
I have linked this one up with :