‘It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do’

I might miss his first proper word, his first steps. I won’t be there when he hurts himself and wants to be held, or when he wakes from a nap and his smile when you walk in to get him. Or when there is music playing and he watches to see if your bouncing along with him. I won’t be there when he learns something new and he wants to do it over and over again, which is currently putting balls in any type of container. What about when he discovers that this toy can make a noise too when shaken, or how loud it is when banged against something. Or how his face lights up when you have a conversation with him, or copy something he’s doing, like hitting balloons. I won’t be there when he curls up in your arms; the only time he curls up in your arms; to have his bottle. I won’t be the one he’s having all his first experiences with, the one he’s discovering the world with. He’ll be living a different life without me.

What if he looks for me and I’m not there. What will run through his mind. Will he understand that I have no choice but to go to work or will he think I’ve abandoned him. Will he know that everything I do is for him and us, to make our lives the best they can be even if it doesn’t feel like it right now?

Will he remember me when I walk through the door to pick him up. Will he forgive me. Will he be proud of me. Will he still love me.

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‘Everything is changing’

One month tomorrow.

One month tomorrow and my life changes. Again. I will have a new normal.

But yet, life feels like it is already starting to change. It doesn’t feel the same as a month ago, two months ago, six months ago.

Everything feels a bit pressured and there’s seems to be an urgency. An urgency to cram everything in. An urgency to spend as much time together as possible. An urgency to hold on to this moment forever.

I feel panicked. I feel emotional. I feel sad.

Sad that my maternity is coming to an end, that my current normal is coming to end and I don’t feel like I can enjoy these final moments because all I can think about is that these are the final moments. The last time I can pop over next door first thing in the morning, the last time I can spontaneously walk out of my front door and ten minutes later be walking with friends and our pushchairs. The last time that plans can be made without thinking about what days people are working. The last time I can spend all day sitting and staring at my beautiful baby and not having any other cares in the world.

I wish, more than anything, that I can stop things from changing. I wish I could stay at home with my baby, I wish my friends weren’t going back to work, I wish my friend wasn’t moving. I wish, I wish, I wish.

I have been living my best life. Spending all day every day with my baby, with my friends and with family. Being paid to stay at home (though not much granted, but when else will I be paid to stay at home?). How can life get any better than how it is right now.

and that’s what I’m struggling with.

When is my life ever going to be as good as it is right now?

It sounds dramatic, and maybe a bit ridiculous but I don’t care. It’s how I feel, and I guess I need to accept that my new normal may not be as happy or as perfect as my normal now, but there will still be happiness and perfect moments.

For now though, I’m going to cry, I’m going wallow and I’m going to let myself feel like crap. Because that’s okay too.

‘Let’s go to the beach, beach’

There’s something magical about being on holiday.

Your world becomes very small and just contains those immediately around you. All those problems and worries in your ‘real life’ just don’t exist.

My biggest worry has been ‘when did the baby last have suncream on’ and ‘where shall we eat tonight’. Even the day to day stresses don’t affect me as much, lack of sleep, ill baby, sickness. So what!

Life is so simple, so peaceful and so perfect.

It’s like those worries don’t exist, and it’s been so nice to have a break from overthinking.

One of the things I attribute it too is the amount of time spent outdoors. I’m a big outdoors person anyway and there’s nothing more I love than a picnic in the park or a pretty walk. Here we have got up each morning and walked to the bakery to get breakfast, we’ve wandered all the little streets and we’ve sat outside first thing and last thing playing on the grass before putting him to bed and enjoying eating outside. He’s definitely been happier for it, and it’s something I want to do more at home, just to be outside as much as possible.

Also the sunshine helps. I’m definitely happier at home when the sun is shining, but being here with the sun, my loved ones and next to the sea. It couldn’t get more perfect.

My most favourite place to be in all the world is to stand on the beach, at the edge of the sea and just look out into the openness. It reminds me that anything is possible and all my worries are so small in the grand scheme of things. Cheesey but it makes me happy.

It’s our last proper day and already all those worries and real life stresses are creeping back in. Next Saturday marks one month until I’m back at work and so I can’t stop thinking about my maternity coming to an end and my life changing, but for now I’m going to try and ignore it all and enjoy my fairytale world a little bit longer.

‘Things can only get better, Can only get better if we see it through’

Wow. So the last few weeks have been tough. Some of the toughest I think I’ve experienced to date. When I break it down, individually everything that’s happened/is happening probably isn’t that big a deal, but combined have made for one emotional Mumma. I genuinely feel like I’ve been battered from every direction, family, friends, work and motherhood.

Some days I’ve felt a bit like my world is falling apart and I’m sinking into a dark hole where I cannot see any light. I just couldn’t see how any of it was going to get better. What I’m realising is that maybe it doesn’t ‘get better’, I just get better at dealing with it.

One of the things I’ve struggled with most is feeling like I’m not good enough. Like I’m not a good enough friend, a good enough daughter or sister, a good enough wife, or a good enough mother. I’ve felt selfish and just a bit of a rubbish person.

I don’t know if it’s coincidence and bad timing or he just knows, but my delightful, happy baby has turned into a beast. Teething, poorly, growth spurt, leap, learning to crawl, separation anxiety, I’ve thrown every excuse at his monstrous behaviour (though I do genuinely believe he’s very frustrated at not being able to crawl). I’ll be honest, I have not enjoyed being a Mumma these past few weeks. I’ve wished more than anything I could call in sick and curl up in bed for a few days. On reflection I think that he has picked up on how I’ve been feeling, which is rubbish and I hate that I haven’t been able to hide it from him.

I wasn’t a major fan of those first few weeks, but from then until seven months old, I’ve thought this parenting malarkey was easy. Properly easy. My baby sleeps, he doesn’t cry, loves food. These past few weeks have been a wake up call. I’ve said multiple times that my baby is broken. What I’ve learnt is that everything is a phase if you can hang in there long enough (Thanks Sarah!).

@thehobbitsandme said something the other days that’s really stuck with me. You don’t have to enjoy every precious moment. Only a few. And that is enough to make it a good day.

Every one of the things that have upset or affected me these past few weeks are still there. But they aren’t going define my day, my baby’s laugh, or seeing a loved ones face, or being silly with my friend and her child, or a kiss and cuddle from my husband, those are the things that are going define my day.

‘You can count on me like 1, 2, 3’

To my best friend’s child,

I hope you will always know how much I love you. You are not mine, but I love you like you are. You are not my family by blood, but you are by choice, and that basically means you’re stuck with me forever. You are my best friend’s baby and that means you own a piece of my heart and you always will.

I am your biggest fan, and I promise to always be there cheering you on. I am loving every minute of watching the person you are becoming. I love the way you smile and the way you laugh. I love all your different expressions, when you’re thinking, when you’re telling jokes, when you’re concentrating and even when you’re sad. You are the sweetest, kindest, funniest child, and you bring a warmth whenever you are around. I love how I see glimpses of your mumma in you and the things you do, like when you eat an ice lolly – and yes I still love you, despite this.

My child has your mumma, and you have me. I trust her to love my child like her own, and she trusts me to do the same. When life gets hard or complicated, I will always be there for you. You will always be the green grape to my red grape. As you grow older, if you ever butt heads with your Mumma – I don’t want to call myself an expert but well, I am an expert on your Mumma, and she’s an expert on me.

You better believe I am going to cry my eyes out at every major event in your life. I’ll be right there beside your Mumma. Don’t even get me started on the day you get married or when you hold your own baby in your arms. You are going to do great things and I cannot wait to watch it all.

I am invested, and I am here for the long haul.

Your Mumma is stuck with me, and so are you.

I love you.

‘I’m stuck on a boy who fills me with joy.. This picture so pretty, But he is so pretty to me’

I don’t think anyone can quite prepare you for how having a baby can affect your relationship.

Over seven and a half years of just the two of us. Of living carefree and not really thinking about anything other than ourselves and each other.

Our first dance was ‘love is easy’ by McFly, and they summed up the first seven years or so of our relationship perfectly.

‘If this is love, then love is easy. It’s the easiest thing to do’

Life was easy for us. We hadn’t really faced any challenges, we’d just sailed through laughing and smiling. So having a baby was the obvious next step and our next big adventure.

Three months before we fell pregnant, my husband was given some horrible news that his Mum only had three months left to live. Those three months were a blur of emotions, travelling and silence. I’ve always been that person to try and cheer people up, but my husband said to me once that he didn’t want me to try and cheer him up, and that’s all I knew how to do and without that, I felt a bit useless.

One week after she died, we got that faint blue line that we had been desperate for for ten months. I did the pregnancy test by myself and I was terrified of how my husband would react. Having a baby was all that he had ever wanted but the timing of it, I just wasn’t sure. However he was over the moon. I kept telling people that it gave him something positive to focus on, and someone said to me that did I think it was distracting how he was really feeling about his Mum and that maybe his grief would all come out some day. I ignored this.

Nine months went by, and my husband was amazing. When I was sick, when I felt ugly, when I was ill – he was right there looking after me, cleaning up after me and making me feel like the most important person in the world. He had always been good at that, making me feel special. But we didn’t talk about his Mum, or how he was feeling about it all, I thought it was best to just focus on the happiness around our baby.

Less than twenty four hours after our baby was born, we realised our baby was unwell, but we didn’t know how unwell. My husband immediately assumed the worst. I’ll never forget having to hold him, while he crumpled in the hospital unable to hold himself together. He said that he had been holding onto the hope of our baby, and that he didn’t know what he would do if our baby died too.

While our baby was in hospital, before and after his operation – once we knew it wasn’t life threatening – we both supported each other, and the same with those first couple of days at home. But I can remember the exact day it all started to change and he started to change.

On the Monday after we had got home, I went back into hospital to get checked over, and I had basically cried all day, I was so tired and was desperate for some proper sleep. My husband said he would stay downstairs with our baby and let me sleep as long as I needed to. The next day I felt amazing and refreshed. The lack of sleep for my husband seemed to continue the downward spiral that had started in the hospital. He became very negative, reluctant to help out, impatient, always tired and almost like he wasn’t there. On the weekends he didn’t want to do anything but stay in bed, and I started to dread him coming home from work.

Stupidly, I thought it was best to struggle on my own and not talk to anyone, and my husband and I still didn’t talk about how he was feeling or how I was now feeling. I didn’t want to shatter the illusion to others that I had the perfect life. I also didn’t want to admit that I felt like it was my fault. It didn’t connect for me that it might be linked with his Mum, I just saw this negative person who found that having a baby wasn’t actually as fun as he thought it was going to be. It wasn’t until World Mental Health Day, and he posted on Instagram that I realised. I felt like I had failed him, I felt like I hadn’t been there for him and I felt so guilty that I hadn’t realised what he had been going through. I’d been so wrapped up in the newborn world of me and my baby. Some people would say that it was natural to be wrapped up in that world, but we’d always been a team, and that shouldn’t change now that we had a baby.

That post on Instagram led to a very honest discussion that evening and we both started taking steps to support each other. I don’t think my husband would mind me sharing that he was put on anti-depressants and started seeing a counsellor.

Four months later and he is now off the medication and has stopped seeing a counsellor. I won’t lie and say that the past four months have been easy, some days have been really hard, but they have definitely been easier than the first two months of our baby’s life.

We are once again a team, we talk a lot, and we are having the best adventures together again. I feel like I’ve got my husband back, and he’s become the dad I always thought he would be. He’s funny, he’s caring, and our baby is the centre of his world. I’ve also realised that I need to stop being so hard on him, on me and on us. We aren’t perfect and that’s okay.

My advice to others out there. Don’t give up. Talk to each other, and to those around you. Love isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

‘And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have re-written mine, By being my friend’

‘Friends are the family you choose for yourself’ Jess C Scott

Friendship is a big deal to me. I don’t throw the word friend round flippantly. For me, friendship involves a lot of trust and love, and I don’t make friends easily. I guess it’s an insecurity thing, but I find it hard to trust people as it involves trusting that person not to hurt me, and my friends have the ability to hurt me just as much as my husband and my family.

Friendships can change when you have a baby. Something I’ve sometimes struggled to accept. I’d even suggest that some friendships started changing while I was pregnant. Some friendships I’ve found have grown stronger through pregnancy and since having my baby. But some people don’t get it, some people don’t want to get it and some people just don’t seem to care.

One of the five things I like most about myself is that I’m a good friend, and so – rightly or wrongly – I expect it in return. I care about my friends, so I care about the things in their lives that are important to them, relationships, work, family, children. My baby has become the most important part of my life, and so I expect my friends to care about him as they care about me.

I have friends I talk to every day, I have friends I see several times a week, I have friends I don’t see for weeks and we don’t talk much in between, but when we are together it’s like we’ve never been apart. My friendships all look completely different but I know they care about my baby and I know they care about me.

I sometimes worry that it can be perceived as a sign of weakness that I care so much so I pretend that I don’t. That, twinned with not being a confrontational person, makes me come across like I don’t care at all. When in reality I overthink and over analyse everything, and feeling like I’m drifting from my friends or feeling like they don’t care takes up a lot of time in my head – including at night!

‘People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.‘ Anonymous

I feel like I need to learn to treasure the friendships for however long they were meant to be a part of my life, look back fondly and accept it for what it was.