Child: Anne, 14 months
Expectations of Motherhood: Oddly enough I never really thought about what it would be like to have a baby in our lives. We prepared for Anne’s arrival, but I never really thought about what it would mean to have her around. I guess I had never really been a ‘baby’ person before Anne came along. I didn’t know very many kids and didn’t really know what they were about. Part of me also consciously resisted forming expectations.
Not having expectations was perhaps a strategy which meant I would be better able to cope with any situation. I just had this image of me as a little old woman visiting my grown-up kids and driving their partners crazy…I hope it will come true one day!
Reality of Motherhood: I completely underestimated the total upheaval involved in welcoming Anne into our lives. The first six months were tough. At first, everything revolves around baby – that’s something I had not anticipated. I liked looking after Anne, but found it hard to accept how much my life had changed; I resented how little freedom I had.
When I began to let go of my ‘old’ life, it all became much nicer. I also started to feel more confident as a mum. By that point, I felt I knew Anne and I understood her a lot better, we shared a bond, we had a relationship.
Taking your child home for the first time: I remember the car journey. For some reason it felt like a huge deal to get Anne in her car seat and drive her back home. I was so focused on the car journey (!) – I don’t really remember what happened once we arrived!
The best/worst advice: The best advice was definitely ‘trust your instincts’; it helped me grow as a mum, made me more confident.
‘Cut yourself some slack’ was another good one…though really hard to put in practice.
Worst advice: A book came highly recommended by one of our friends. It basically advised parents to abide by a strict routine from day 1. I still wonder how that’s even possible. Go with the flow is the best you can do!
The tiredness is an obvious one, but I think it’s more the sense of commitment and responsibility that I sometimes find awesome (in all the different senses of the word!).
The best parts of being a mother: Getting to know that little person and building a relationship with her. But more than anything, the forceful experience of sheer love, this is truly special.
Has becoming a mother changed you? For me, being a parent is making a lifelong (and beyond) commitment to your child. This commitment is life changing and it impacts on my day-to-day activities, but also impacts on the long-term decisions I make. I like to think I am still the same person (albeit wiser), but a person with an unalienable commitment which informs my entire life.
Hopes for your family:
First I hope we can all remain in good health. I also hope we are all able to pursue our individual goals whilst staying united.