It’s been almost 12 weeks since we welcomed our daughter into the world, and just about enough time for things to have settled into a new kind of normal. I know I’m lagging behind somewhat on the blogging front and I can’t entirely blame it on lack of time. It’s taken up until now to fully process this new life. And even now I’m not sure I have it all straight in my head yet. Caught up in the whirlwind that is becoming a new mother, I’ve had little time to actually think about what this all means -for me, for our marriage, for our future.
I started this blog post thinking I was going to write about how motherhood has changed me, but I don’t think that’s completely accurate. I haven’t changed. I’m still the same person I was 3 months ago. Rather I’m coming to realise, it’s my relationships with the people around me that are changing…
My relationship with my husband
As amazing and wonderful as parenthood is, I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s tough. It’s really tough. And it’s been especially straining on our marriage whilst we found our feet in those first few weeks. After a long day trying to soothe a screaming baby, it’s all too easy to take your pent up emotions out on your spouse. And this is something I’ve been particularly guilty of.
But we knew this wasn’t going to be easy, so we’ve learned to give each other a bit of slack. The occasional outburst of emotion isn’t personal so (as hard as it is) we try not to take it to heart and let the other take a break (which again is usually me stomping off to take a long shower and slumping back downstairs with my tail between my legs once the red mist has dissipated).
Which brings me onto my next point. Apologise. This isn’t the time to be too proud. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve sheepishly apologised to Andrew in the past few months. But I do because I love him and we’re a team, no matter how hard things get. This isn’t a fight. This is our new life which we need to navigate and figure out together.
Something which has become very apparent since having a baby is just how little time we have left for each other. So we make a conscious effort to make that little time count. Date nights aren’t the lavish affair they used to be, but all we really want and need right now is a good cuddle on the couch, (and the simple enjoyment of the season’s festivities of course!)
So yeh it’s tough, but when I wake up in the morning to see our daughter cradled in his arms, my heart bursts. Andrew has given me the beautiful family I had always dreamed of and for that I will devote my days to being the best wife I can be (even if the best does entail the ocassional meltdown!)
My relationship with my daughter
Whilst I was pregnant I felt little connection with the life growing inside me. Sure I was excited and couldn’t wait to meet my daughter but I remember worrying that I didn’t actually love her yet. Andrew used to say he loved her already, and part of me was afraid that the love would never come for me.
And for me, it wasn’t instant. I wasn’t overcome with love the moment they placed her shivering body on my chest. Or even the first time she prised her wrinkly little eyes open to look up at me. Or those first few harrowing nights when breastfeeding defeated me and left all of us in tears.
But somewhere between the delivery room and now, this little life we created has crept into my heart and consumed it like nothing else. She fills me with so much joy.
The very sight of her takes my breath away. I cannot and probably will not ever fathom that this beautiful life came from the love between Andrew and me. And that is the most special feeling.
I’m excited to peer into her crib every morning to see how she has changed in the night. And she is changing daily. I’m torn between the excitement of milestones to come and simply enjoying every smile, every sparkle of wonderment in her eyes and every simple day we spend together.
I picture her in various scenarios, somewhere between imagination and mashed up memories of my own childhood. And I cannot wait to show her more and more of the world.
She has made me a mother, and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
My relationship with my mother
Having a child has, as the cliche goes, given me a whole new perspective on life. I look back at my own childhood and only now do I properly understand my own mother. I feel like we now share a special bond. An unspoken agreement of ‘yes, I get it now.’
I think back on all the times we’ve had together and look forward to enjoying similar moments with my own daughter.
I want to take back every single hurtful thing I ever did or said. Every teenage tantrum. Every time I made her cry (of which I remember a few). If you’re reading this mum, I’m sorry.
My relationship with myself
I make no secret that I struggle with change, and yet the biggest change in my life seems to have flowed so naturally. Motherhood is something I feel I was always supposed to do. Something I always wanted.
Until now Andrew and I had unofficially settled on the idea of two children, but I could see a life where we have more. I see us, twenty so years from now, surrounded by family. All making their way home for the holidays…
As natural as the transition to motherhood has been for me, part of me mourns the pregnant me. Looking back it was such a special time, and no matter how many more children we decide to have in the future, I’ll never get that feeling back again. That magical period of firsts. Pregnancy, despite its aches, pains and constant nausea, was perhaps the happiest time of my life. The elusive ‘glow’ really does exist, even if you don’t feel like you’re experiencing it at the time.
I did struggle in those first few weeks to come to terms with not being pregnant anymore. The first time I nipped to the shops on my own, I felt very different. I felt kind of invisible. No longer special. Just another face in the crowd.
But I’m not just another face. Not to the people that matter. I am my daughter’s mother and Andrew’s wife. And in there somewhere is still the old me, the new me, the me I always wanted to be.
It’s time to go with the flow, stop getting caught up in an identity crisis and just enjoy this new adventure, embracing the changes that will inevitably come along the way.
How did having a baby affect you and your relationships? Join the conversation below or on Twitter @loveinmindblog