I’m at that stage now where the people in my year at school are starting to have babies. And that makes me feel very old. And very excited. And it also makes me reminisce an awful lot about my time. The time I became a first-time mum and the time I fell in love like never before.
These memories are happy and full of dozy maternity days, heavy eyelashes falling on tiny plump cheeks, and that newborn smell. I just remember being so deliriously happy, sore and tired all in one, but I was so secure in that feeling.
It wasn’t until I was sorting out my files this week, ahead of future plans, that I came across a printed spreadsheet.
It was full of sums. Full of subtractions. And notes. And as I took a closer look, my heart ached as I realised it was my 24 year-old self trying to work out how much maternity leave she could afford.
And it was then that I realised that it’s my chip on my shoulder. I suppose, as mothers, we all have one. We all have that one thing that makes us feel frustration, or a desire to go back and do it right.
I remember making that spreadsheet. I remember hitting sales figures. And saving every bit of money I could find. I remember the relief in still fitting in my pre-pregnancy clothes as I got bigger – because I was already big. And I remember the pride in finishing my new baby’s nursery in time – the feel of a new carpet under foot, and the smell of fresh blue and cream paint. All things I’d tried hard to get sorted so my baby would have everything he needs.
Except me. Or at least, in the way he should have had me.
In the end, the house needed to be done. My son’s room had a sagging ceiling. And a carpet so dusty and worn that it no longer stretched to the edges of the room.
I had 11 weeks in total. That may not seem like very much to some, but for me, finishing at 39 weeks and four days pregnant, it felt like a holiday.
But he was late. And I was heartbroken. Not just because I was fat and bored – I was that too – but I felt like someone had turned the hourglass too early and I couldn’t stop the time from slipping away. In the end, he was just shy of nine weeks when I found myself sat at my desk – a desk that hadn’t even had the chance to grow a dusty layer.
I know that, ultimately, I didn’t have a choice. I stretched myself as far as I could, because, as we all know, love just isn’t enough to raise a child.
Now I see my friends having children of their own. Watching their bellies swell. And wondering whether their baby is blue or pink, I just want to say one thing.
It’s not “enjoy the rest while you can” or foreboding warnings of how their lives will change forever and they will never have fun again.
Because motherhood is by far the best thing to of ever happened to me.
I want to say this.
Grab every second that you can with your baby. Because it really does slip through your fingers. And before you know it, that baby is a toddler. And you have to say goodbye, sometimes for days, and you can’t rewind.
The future is always a brilliant thing to look forward to. But while your future is my past, make sure you take every second you can get.
This article is also brilliant. And kind of relates to what I’ve spoken about. I can’t understand why we don’t do more for mothers. And fathers. Families.