My most surreal moment this year, and there have been a few to choose from, was early evening the day before Tigger’s first birthday. I was able to pinpoint, to within about 5 minutes, where I was and what I was doing (or having done to me) 365 days before. As I sat feeding Tigger her final dinner as an 11 month old I was able to think back to laying on the bed at the hospital in my little room while being attached to the beeping monitors feeling hungry, nervous, and enjoying the beautiful colours over the Oxfordshire sky before the sun-set. Not only was being able to be so precise strange, but realising it was a whole year ago – well, there aren’t the words for how peculiar I found it!
Alot has happened since that evening and while I knew things would change beyond belief by the time I left the hospital I had no idea that it would be before the sun came up again. The very few preconceptions of what I thought having a baby would be like were shattered easier than sugar glass within those first few weeks, and while I sort of expected that I was not prepared for the overhaul that every single bit of a new mum goes through and for how long it would take.
To sum it up in a single phrase for me year one has been all about ‘Working stuff out’. What the different cries mean, what the best things to wear (and not) are, what you can do literally single-handed and how much you just don’t know. And for me one of the hardest things has been working out how to be me again – reconciling the before me with the updated version and getting my confidence to catchup with all of it.
What was the best thing someone did tell me? As long as they’re safe and healthy it doesn’t matter how you manage it. Oh, and it’s ok to be selfish sometimes – you can’t look after your baby properly if you’re falling apart. Just don’t expect both these things to automatically make sense or come naturally – you have to work at them but they’re worth it.
And what do I wish someone had old me? Two things. Firstly, it’s ok to wing it and bluff your way through – everyone else is too! Let’s face it every baby is different so everyone has to be. And secondly, your firsts are unlikely to be the universes firsts. Other people have struggled with their baby shrieking in the supermarket, or dealt with a poonami in a changing room that is far too small and then felt guilty for the next occupant (we’ve all been on both sides of that one!). This DOES NOT, for one moment, make those firsts any less embarrassing and certainly no less significant, but it does lend perspective which I’m sure leaves you along with the breaking waters.
Overall I’ve worked out that I’m ok at this, and Tigger is (nearly) walking proof. I’ve learnt that I’m not sure I’m a full-time stay-at-home type, I’m just far too selfish, but I do appreciate the time I have at home, the opportunities that have appeared because of it, and I’ve realised it’s time to grab a a few of them.
There are times when I have absolutely no idea how I made it through some of those very dark times. Not a clue. And if I’m perfectly honest I’m not sure the overhaul is finished. I’ve had, and still do have , the most fantastic support but I have no idea which bit of my inner self went ‘I got this’ and I’m not really sure it exists. But I have made it through year one, with metaphorical bells on, and I’ve realised I don’t have to know how. The past year has been full of unique circumstances so chances are it won’t be needed in the same way again anyway. And I’m OK with not knowing. I have, I did, and I’ve not got the head-space to question it much more. And that’s OK too.
Onwards to year 2!