Now that he is a bit older there is a little more room for manoeuvre but in those early newborn days it took my breath away how this new person was so absolutely dependant on me. A huge challenge but also a huge privilege and adventure.
Taking your child home for the first time: When I found out that I was pregnant homebirth was always at the back of my mind but I thought as a first time mama it probably wouldn’t be possible for me. Then on our first midwife appointment our brilliant midwife offered it as a birthing option just like any other. Her confidence and positivity absolutely normalised the idea for us and, after some discussion, my partner and I agreed that homebirthwas the way we would like to have our baby.
Through our midwife’s support I was lucky enough to birth my son naturally in our bedroom at home. A truly magical and empowering experience that I will always be grateful to her for. Once Robin arrived our midwives stayed for a couple of hours, then they left and it was just us together in our house. It was so surreal that when Jo came home from work because my waters had broken a matter of hours before we had been two, and now we were three.
The hardest parts of being a mother: The fact that it is absolutely unrelenting – it never stops! As he gets older I get more used to this but when he was tiny the new rhythm of life took some getting used to. There really is no downtime and at times when he was newborn I felt like I would have given anything for someone to take him off my hands so my partner and I could take a breath. As a breastfeeding mum I felt this particularly keenly as he has always fed a lot. Taking any time away from him has been impossible. I feel we have forged a brilliant partnership, but the intensity of that hasn’t always been easy.
Before I had Robin I was a freelance theatre director, and that aspect of my life is now turned on its head in many respects. Much of the work I used to do simply isn’t possible anymore. And childcare arrangements for freelancers are not for the fainthearted. I still haven’t figured how that is going to work, but I’m enjoying being a mama at the moment so am not trying to think about it too much right now.
Has becoming a mother changed you? Yes and no. I feel like the same person, but in birthing my son I feel stronger, and more able to take things on. At the same time I can feel more vulnerable and protective – that I want to keep the bad things in the world away from my him. At times the world feels so much more fraught and complicated than it did before. At other times in when I am absorbed in the act of being a mama it feels like the world is simpler, smaller, and less complicated in the fulfilment of this natural act of love.
Hopes for your family: That we can spend as many happy and healthy times together as we possibly can. And that Jo and I can support our son to find his way in the world with both courage and kindness.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums? Try not to expect anything. Just take each thing as it comes and embrace it because these are the happy days that you will look back on fondly in years to come. And enjoy the ride however chaotic it may be because wherever it takes you it is the most glorious adventure.