This was written pre & post baby. But we thought it was worth a share.
Let me start by saying, this was not a planned pregnancy.
Though I’m incredibly fortune to have a wonderfully supportive, caring and incredible boyfriend; this was never something that was on the cards for us this year or next.
I valued and loved the freedom we had to stay out late sharing a bottle of wine over dinner, then heading to the nearest bar for cocktails, stumbling home on the tube at who knows what time. I enjoyed the nights out with friends playing ‘musical bingo’, winning free round of cocktails and generally acting like a bunch of tipsy and silly kids in the photo booth after hours.
I never thought I would suddenly find myself faced with the prospect of becoming someone’s Mum. A tiny cocktail of myself and my boyfriend, who come February will be dependant on us to keep him alive (oh god) and help him grow up to be a respectful, polite and (hopefully) well rounded, considerate individual of his own. To me, that’s what adults do. That’s what my parents, what all our parents have and still do. They adult, we play. I’ve only just started to really learn how to cook healthy, proper meals beyond heating up soup and now I’ve got to learn to feed, dress, bath, burp a tiny person?!
So, here I sit. Nearly 8 months later, a nearly finished nursery in the next room, still trying to figure myself out. Still trying to figure this out. Is there a way to retain that fun side of me now and once the baby arrives? Something which contributed to my sense of fun in this non-stop city or will I continue to feel part of myself slip away and melt into this – what feels like – boring beach ball of a human who is struggling to keep her eyes open past 10pm on any given night? Will I become one of those women who just harps on about their baby constantly? Who posts nothing but close ups of tiny fingers and toes and ‘oh isn’t he cute’ photos of a potato looking child? Because let’s be honest, no baby is adorable fresh out the oven, they’re more reminiscent of baked potatoes, Mandrakes from Harry Potter or grumpy old men.
Fast forward 10 months later and in that same nursery, next door to where I sit, naps the above bump. Now a robust, non-stop 9 month old. Did those worries come true? To an extent. I have had one proper night out-out since he was born (home after 10pm), Halloween in Soho with my best friends (all Mums, all incredible individuals). It took me around 5 months to find women who understood that we are not ‘brave’ to leave the house or that there is life beyond our local high street. It took a trip to London Zoo on my own to realise that I needed people in my life who wanted to explore their city, baby in tow. It was hard, kind of soul destroying at times thinking all my adventures with Shrimp would be solo ones. That I’d have no one to share those memories with, but I now do and we have created so many great memories for ourselves and our babies, I’m glad and so thankful I persevered.
So no, all my fears didn’t come true. In fact, the times when I have struggled with motherhood and cried over how inadequate I felt, I’ve come to learn that other Mum’s feel exactly the same. It’s no easy task sculpting a new person, nor is it trying to adjust to a life where you do not come first but it’s rewarding. He’s just taken his first steps, he’s funny in his own little way – blowing well timed raspberries to questions like, ‘do you like Mummy’s new dress?’ I guess not. There’s the start of a personality beginning to show itself now, he’s social and happy, has sweet attachments to his baby pals and gives them kisses. It’s the little things that make the harder days better, that makes not going out and partying anymore worth it.
No one tells you how hard being a parent is, you must become an entirely selfless individual. Which in itself is a challenge. But I promise you it’s worth it, even on those hardest of days with screaming and crying (the baby, not you). You’ll get through it, tomorrow is another day and the weekends are the best kind of other days.