Ever wished someone had told you the truth?
Oh me oh my, what really gnaws in retrospect is how the reality of labour, the painful gory, messy, reality of labour was prettified and dollied up. Wasn’t that just so patronising. Who seriously believes that advising one to visualise blowing out a stream of pink ribbons when the contractions kicked in would do the trick… because when they did kick in, you had never encountered such a cruel, deep pain and you had no coping mechanism other than relying on drugs…. Labour hurt. It really did.
Remember the Birth Plan, the piece of paper upon which you scrawled your hopes for a natural drug free (preferably water) birth; a birth without medical intervention or tares or tears? It seems so naïve in retrospect. What birth EVER goes to plan? Of course some women can withstand the pain and feel an immense sense of achievement having a natural birth. Well I tip my hat to them but many other first timers aren’t so lucky. You belonged to the latter camp and lots of your peers too and some found the ordeal of labour needlessly traumatic or short changed by the experience or worse guilty for not being woman enough to deal with natural birth. Looking back on it now - if you are going to be in a medical environment then the reality is medical interventions are bound to occur whereas if you are determined to have a natural birth make sure you are physically and mentally fit for it.
And oh dear pregnant me, you fell for it didn’t you? The lure of the lucre, the commercialisation of pregnancy, motherhood and birth. All those must haves…. You really, really must have…You don’t. It’s so easy to get suckered by it – If your wallet allows you to indulge, do but if on a budget there are only two things your baby requires, love and nourishment. Little do they care if not dressed in designer labels or pushed about in the most expensive buggy.
Then there’s the mysterious disappearance of time that’s never fully explained pre-labour. Once you have the mite in your arms time slips through your fingers. It sprints by and before you have even managed to wash, dress, feed and change the baby half the day has gone. As have you… or at least the ‘you’ you used to think you were.
You now no longer exist – all focus is on the baby. Physically you scarcely even recognise yourself; cue an existential crisis, cue tears, cue hormones, cue an emotional bounty bag and exhaustion. Yes, you will imminently be introduced to a type of tiredness never before experienced - albeit initial elation will carry you through the early days. See no thing has ever quite captivated you as this teeny person in your arms and so mesmeric, that even if it’s the ugliest thing ever birthed, your baby will be beautiful to you.
Talking of beautiful you, what happened? What’s happened is you believed you were eating for two, duh! You believed the weight would magic away because you’re breastfeeding but it didn’t, hasn’t. Dear pregnant me before it’s too late - step away from the cake.
My most dear pregnant me two really important things, - firstly Stop Caring basically about anything except you and your little family unit. At least for a while. Be selfish, don't try and please other people, don't worry what others think about your choices. Accept your way of doing things is unique to you and your baby and get on with it. Secondly, Do Not Be A Martyr – allow yourself to make mistakes, to be less than perfect, to learn on the job. Sometimes you may even have to let the baby cry.
And Darling Dear Pregnant Me know that this is the most wonderful adventure you have ever embarked on. And if your world seems to shrink, it’s just a passing phase. Becoming a mother is a renaissance, you get to look at life afresh. You get to begin again. Despite the lack of time you realise how precious it is. You are bowled over by this miracle of life and you realise there is nothing more fundamental than creating one and what a privilege it is (Yes, a privilege) to be able to guide that life, until they are ready to live on their own. And then there’s the love, B.I.G. T.I.M.E. L.O.V.E. You will experience a love so intense and profound it is beyond comprehension. No one has ever needed you as much or loved you as much and vice versa. Motherhood is many, many things, overwhelming yet phenomenal, thankless yet so very rewarding, unrelenting yet wholly inspiring. Dearest Darling Pregnant Me welcome to the oh so real and (surreal) world of Motherhood, a roller coaster ride unlike any other.
P.S. No matter how hard you try eventually your home will be over taken by gaudy brightly coloured plastic objects
P.P.S. You are doing just brilliantly.