Do y’all remember that time I wrote a (surprise) open letter to my (pregnant) bestie giving my (unsolicited) advice and support for the upcoming arrival of her first baby and subsequently my blog (and facebook) exploded in a mess of tears and snot and crumpled tissues everywhere?
Well, I am a girl who believes in the right of reply. So I asked aforementioned bestie to put pen to paper (or fingers to iPad bluetooth keyboard attachment as the case may be) and write a little guest blog post based loosely around the premise of the fears of a first time mum. And boy did she deliver.
She has not yet, however, delivered the baby. Watch this space for that little announcement! Any day now.
Anyway I will stop my incessant ramblings and let you read on…
Trying to put the P (eace) in Pregnancy
Hi all *waves*. I’m Laura. You may recognise me from such roles as Bestie McBest (the most blessed friend and mother-to-be on the interwebs) and the-only-thirty-year-old-pregnant-fangirl at the One Direction concert.
So it goes without saying, really, that I’m pregnant. But I’m at the point now where things are starting to get real. I’ve passed the 38 week mark, I’m finally on maternity leave and the countdown is definitely on.
Before I really start, I feel like I have to be honest with you straight up (which may be a terrible idea because you don’t know me at all) and tell you that I have started this post three times already. I actually have these written – complete with witty titles – but something stopped me from sending any of them through to Liv. I don’t exactly know what that is that stopped me, but none of them felt quite right.
In one, I ended up writing about how people have always commented on me being ‘clucky’ and ‘natural’ with babies when, in reality, I liked them and just wasn’t too worried about breaking them. One somehow ended up being a glowing review of my (albeit awesome) husband and how I have tried to get through pregnancy feeling peaceful and not stressing about the little things. The final one was an extremely long combination of the two, complete with list outlining and then explaining things that I am worried about in labour and child-rearing.
But none of it felt real enough or raw enough. None of it was actually what has been plaguing me over the last few months. None of it was what led me to sit at my desk weeping last week, before I went on maternity leave.
So here I am. Cards are on the table. Or will be, in a sec.
As I touched upon before, I like kids. Love them. I’ve spent countless hours with my nieces, goddaughters and friends’ children (especially Eenie, Meenie and Miney, who are every bit as gorgeous, lovable and hilarious as they seem on this blog, let me tell you!) and I especially love snuggling babies and newborns.
So why am I so terrified?
Oh right. Because this one is mine. Ours. This one can’t be handed back when I can’t settle him, or left with her parents when I’m exhausted and just need to go home to bed. This one will show me a capacity to love that I didn’t know was possible, and will light up my world in a completely different way to anyone else.
But I don’t know what that is like. It’s that simple. I don’t know how to be the parent to this little person.
When talking about what scares me, as a mum who hasn’t yet welcomed my little light into the world, there are so many things I could write about. The fear of giving birth. The fear of coping with little sleep, or making the right choice from the vast variety of products that BabyLand tells us we simply. Must. Have. The fear of making the right decisions; from the disposable vs modern cloth nappy debate, to the private vs public school one, all the way to how we will teach manners, humility and respect to a whole new person.
I even ask myself whether or not my husband and I can do this. Like, really do this. Are we equipped to raise a child? Will we be able to juggle the careers that we love with having children? Are we able to figure out this crazy world of parenting and create a family that will simply love being together?
These are all things that I think about often, that my husband and I talk about at night, and that I discuss with the bestie over specialty beverages… but they’re not the things that really get to me. They’re not the things that make me really feel something, or that make me the most terrified of the huge step we’re about to take together.
These are two very simple things. 1. Will my husband and I lose the essence that makes us ‘us’? 2. How can I be a parent, when I don’t even know who that person is?
After looking at my other list of fears and questions – the child-centred ones – these two seem selfish. I know that. But this is all I know!
My husband and I have been married for four years; he is sweet, funny and kind (despite the hours of sport I endure each week!), and the main reason I give thanks every night before I fall asleep. I am lucky enough to spend my days teaching teenagers about things that I love, and watching them grow into the awesome people I can see that they are. I am blessed to have a wonderful family made up of relatives and friends, and the time I get to spend with them is never wasted.
This is my world right now. This is what I know.
Everyone tells me that my priorities will change. That I will still love those things but that I will have something in my life that I will love even more. That my work, our home, singing, reading, writing and all the other things I love doing will pale in comparison to the overwhelming love I will feel as soon as I lay eyes on the little person who is currently digging his or her heels into my ribs.
But part of me wants to grab them by the shoulders and say, “Don’t you get it? I know this. I know that I will love the baby because I already love the baby! I hear you, I promise … but I don’t know this new person that I will become.”
It’s scary to know that in a few hours, days or weeks I will suddenly be a new version of myself. Terrifying, even. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting and wonderful as well, but I don’t know how to be that person. I only know how to be this one. This bumbling, ridiculously passionate, slightly crazy and muddled up mess of a person who still feels 20! This girl who listens to boy-bands,
cries through watches rom-coms and 90s teen-dramas, and cheers fervently during AFL games.
And I hate the thought that my husband and I could somehow lose who we are in all of this. We’ve woven this little web of magic that’s based on trust, friendship, unending support and a ridiculous sense of humour. Sure we argue and disagree… but that’s all part of who we are as well. We’re used to that. Soon we will be inexorably altered by the growth of our little family. This is inevitable. And we will have to choose, every day, to grow together in all of the changes that will entirely rock our little world. Just like I know that I will have to choose to find time to stay myself, we will have to make time to stay together. To stay us. And we can do it. I know that we can do it.
I just have no idea what it will look like. And that scares me.
I don’t have any answers, any solutions, to all of this. I wish I did. I can just cling to what I know, trust my gut, and turn to those I love… and hopefully that will be enough.
At the start of the year my boss gave us a challenge to take some time to ourselves, and listen to what we need to focus on throughout the year. The first word that came into my mind was ‘Peace’. I went outside and felt the sunshine on my skin and thought, ‘Peace’. That was my word.
So now, I suppose, I just have to find peace in all of the craziness that is about to begin. Find peace in my ability to be a mum, to be okay with the new person I am about to become, and to keep a sense of ‘us’ amid the madness.
But I’m still terrified.