I have been a Mum for exactly 112 days, this time 16 weeks ago I was in the middle of the long process of labour and since that moment my life has been turned upside down, but I LOVE it! I love being a Mum, not least of all because I believe it is what God made me to be but also because when I look at my daughter smile I can't imagine doing anything else or being anywhere else.
I love how she learns, I love how she explores and works stuff out and I love her cheeky personality. I very much get those moments where I sit and look at her and can't believe I was involved in any way in the making of such a beautiful and precious wee person.
I love our walks in the park and our trips to the supermarket. I love our time in baby groups and even our time in the house reading books together or even just watching TV (I know I shouldn't let her, but that is another blog post!).
I love that when we first brought her home from the hospital the only way she could communicate was with crying but now she chats to us, smiles at us and shows us many of the emotions she is learning to handle. I love that this time last month she couldn't get things in her mouth with any precision but now she can get anything (and everything) in there! I love that this time last week I had never seen her roll over, and now she has done it, twice!
That said, sometimes being a Mum all feels a bit too much, and we all need to talk about these times more. By staying silent about the times when we dread going to bed because we know it is only a matter of time before we will be woken, or about the times when we don't want to breastfeed any more because we feel bound to our babies, or about the times when we just want to have a night off but can't we perpetuate the feelings we have that everyone else has it more sorted than we do. We need to talk about the hard times as well as the good or our bad days will feel even worse for thinking we are alone in feeling that way.
This week I have been reflecting on the fact that one of my friends is struggling a bit, she is tired and her 7 month old shows no interest whatsoever in food and weaning is proving just far too difficult. I don't want things to be hard for her, but before I had this realisation I had been comparing myself and my struggles with my daughter to a picture of parenthood that didn't exist in reality. I was letting myself think that my friend had it sorted and had all the answers, and realising she doesn't has been a really freeing experience for me.
So, let's be open, I am exhausted at the moment as my wee one has stopped sleeping well at night, I need to start weaning shortly but I am not sure if I have the capacity for it and although I don't think I have postnatal depression (I have been depressed before, I know what that feels like) I am having many down days at the moment and the tiredness isn't helping. I no longer find it easy to be around my husband because I don't feel like I have anything to talk about other than Naomi's bowel movements and I have no capacity at ALL for anything intimate which can put a strain on any relationship! Let us all talk about those bad days together, I suspect it will make them easier to cope with and that in turn they will be fewer and further between...