Recently I read some fantastic posts on the truths of parenting. Some of the things they don’t warn you about, things that you don’t know before having children.
They have inspired me to write my own, honest post and I would like to dedicate it to all my friends who don’t yet have children. And to my other friends whose children are perfect ALL the time I want to know how this is possible?
Being a parent is an amazing feeling…
As a mum, you spend 9 months growing these little aliens inside your body – you feel their little legs kicking you, you listen to their little hearts beating, you watch your stomach lurching around – occasionally you may even recognise the odd limb sticking out. It is a completely awe-inspiring time. They give you indigestion, they wake you up in the middle of the night when they want to play in there, they give you varicose veins and swollen ankles, you can’t find a comfy position to sleep in, if you’re lucky they make you nauseous or if you are not so unlucky, sick. You are prodded and poked by nurses, doctors and needles let alone the random stranger in the street who feels it is their right to come and touch you. And all this before they are even born…
Then they want to come out……
A friend of mine felt it was his duty to point out that when I gave birth I would probably poo myself. Suitably horrifying. But there is no time for dignity in childbirth. Before you know it, a tiny version of you is bundled up inside your nightdress so you get to experience the phenomenal feeling of skin on skin contact with your child. Then your loving husband, who is mildly scarred from witnessing firsthand a head coming out between your legs – I was lucky enough to be able to give birth to both of mine naturally – electrocutes you with the Tens machine. Yes this really happened. And yes I screamed!
Whether you breast or bottle feed – the sleepless nights you have already met in pregnancy are now unavoidable. You can’t switch off for that hour between feeds and you fear sleeping in case they need you. Your breasts are sore and you can’t go anywhere without breastpads otherwise you will probably leak embarrasingly all over your clothes. For me, first time round there was difficulty latching and for a week or so I couldn’t even bear clothing to touch my boobs for the sheer, excrutiating pain.
Sitting down is also painful and you are still afforded no dignity, as the health visitors regularly want to see how you are healing.
And all this are just the first steps in your new role as mummy.
A NEW YOU
The pain subsides, the sleeplessnes does not. You can barely bear to look at the new fold in your tummy, let alone touch it. And whose is this enormous bum you see when looking in the mirror, that won’t quite fit into your jeans, so you have to keep rocking the maternity trousers?
The next thing you will learn is that talking about poo suddenly becomes no longer taboo. You find yourself ringing hubby, simply to tell him how little one poo’d all over herself, as in ALL OVER HERSELF, to the extent that you just had to strip her and stick her in the bath. You even start to make up and sing songs about poo. Sometimes, forgetting all your social graces and singing them in public. Our family favourite went something like this:
“He likes to poo,poo,poo,
He likes to be sick, sick,sick,
It makes his tummy,
feel really funny…”
And there is no such thing, anymore, as popping to the shop. Even a quick trip to the corner shop involves getting both you and baby dressed suitably, packing up some wipes in case baby spits up (mummy speak for vomits everywhere!), maybe a nappy just in case.., getting pram, pushchair or sling ready, bundling baby into said mode of transport, leaving the house and getting halfway to the shop to realise you have forgotten purse and then having to traipse home to get it before starting all over. And chances are that in this delay, baby has decided to empty his/her bowels so you need to remove them from pushchair/sling, take off all their clothes, clean them up and literally start back at the beginning.
Having said all of this, being a parent is an amazing feeling.
Some things are unbelievably wonderful.
When you finally get back from your mission impossible to buy bread, you can curl up on the sofa, holding them close and rocking them gently. They look up at you with their beautiful eyes and all you can see is their unconditional love for you, mirrored only by your complete, unconditional love for them.
You get to hold their tiny fingers in your own, and gently stroke their semi-bald heads, to listen to their quiet gurgling and as they grow, see their first smiles, their first teeth, their first steps.
You can spend days sitting in your pj’s and not feel guilty whilst doing it. You get to eat all the things that were denied of you during pregnancy.
And hopefully you get to create and mould your future, your legacy.