Just Some Thoughts

It always seems, like the troubles you’re having right now with your kid(s) are the only ones there have ever been. How quickly you forget the newborn sleepless nights, the waking up three or four times to feed. The nights spent lying on the couch, breastfeeding and clock-watching. The colic that seemed endless.

When people around you with babies complain about the same thing, you find yourself thinking ‘oh, that wasn’t so bad’. How quick we are to forget. And dismiss other people’s problems as trivial. But when you were going through it yourself, it was the end of the fucking world.

How quickly you forget the post-natal depression. And the fact that at one point in time, you despised your baby, and didn’t feel like a mother. Rather you felt like a babysitter. A pair of breasts to feed a little demon. How quickly you forget the denial, and the fervent wishes that you could go back and change things. Not be a mother. Not have a  screaming child at 3 in the morning.

How quickly you forget, once your child is sleeping through the night, what it means to be sleep-deprived. And once you’ve achieved sleeping through the night, how simple it seems. And how you try to explain your method to other mothers. Who just don’t seem to get it.

Yes, parenting is hard. Parenting is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But I’ve learnt one thing. Whatever drama you’re facing now, that seems like the end of the world. It’s only temporary.

There’s something far worse waiting around the corner.


Letter To My Heart

Letter to my son, for his first birthday…


Dear The Kid,


It’s nearly the 13th of November, 2008, as I am writing this. I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone. I cannot believe that you’re no longer a newborn, or even a baby, really, you’re a toddler.


I cannot believe how close you are to walking, and talking. When just the other day all you did was cry, feed, sleep and poop. Now you laugh, play, crawl, dance, stand, sleep, feed yourself, bath yourself, and tear around the house like a mad thing. You still poop a lot though.


This time last year, your dad and I had just moved into our new house. Your first home. Our first home. I spent the week before you were born cleaning like a demon. I wanted a pristine house for a brand-new baby. Now I realise that was a control thing. Once you were born, there wasn’t going to be much that I could control anymore, so I thought I could at least control your environment.


The first time I saw you, after you were born, I was expecting this overwhelming rush of love and this moment where I would realise that my baby was the most beautiful baby in the world. That didn’t happen. I fell in love with you, don’t get me wrong, but I fell in love with you despite the fact that your nose was too big on you, and despite the fact that you looked like a very pink, wrinkly tiny old man. I spent hours gazing at your little feet (which could then fit across the palm of my hand) and stroking your tiny little fingers, tightly drawn into fists. I was besotted with your blue, blue eyes and little rosebud mouth.


Bringing you home from the hospital was the scariest time of my life. Being left home alone with a tiny baby all day was devastating. Being a mother was nothing like I expected. I mean, I knew to expect crying and shitty nappies and breastfeeding for hours, but I didn’t expect it on this scale. It was a reality check that I wasn’t willing to wake up to. I buried myself away, and distanced myself from you.


There were times when I cried and cried, while you cried and screamed, and I felt like a bad mother, and I felt I didn’t love you. Sometimes, just sometimes, I could imagine picking you up, and placing you gently in the rubbish bin, and walking away. Coping was hard, adjusting from a life of constant partying and freedom to do as I pleased, to now having someone depend on me for their very existence, and not being able to go anywhere or do anything without at least two days planning and organizing a babysitter was hell. But things started to get better after that, and that brought on the realization that it wasn’t you that was the problem, it was me. Post natal depression is an ugly thing, and I didn’t realise I had it until it was gone.


Now, you’re a very self-sufficient little boy. You feed yourself, hold your own bottle and can amuse yourself for hours. Every now and again you take a break from your playing and come give me some love. A cuddle, a short sit on my lap, a hug and a little rough-and-tumble and you’re off again. Crawling around the house, touching everything you’re not supposed to. Figuring out how to defeat all the baby-safety devices we have, and generally making a big mess.


You love splashing in the mud puddles you make with the hosepipe in the garden. You love eating the sand out your sandpit and crawling around in the grass. You love being naked and outdoors. You love discovering new things, and I love showing them to you.


I think about how much we’ve both grown in the last year, and it overwhelms me. You’ve turned me into a much better person, and you’ve shown me what real love is.


You’ve made me into a better person, and for that, I’m a better mother. I love you more than you’ll ever know, and I cant imagine my life without you.