Oh Roslyn, you fool. You thought you knew what love was, girl you were wrong. You didn’t know love could hurt this much could you?
In six short months, the love you will feel will be like nothing you’ve ever felt before. It will fill your heart, right to the top, almost toppling over the edge. This love will feel both familiar and foreign all at once; and it will feel heavy, really heavy. It will pull at you from places you didn’t even know existed.
First, you took sleep for granted that’s for sure. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Your baby won’t sleep. “Sleep when they sleep.” everyone will tell you; but your baby will only ever nap for 10 mins at a time, 30 mins if you’re lucky. Forget being able to put her down, she’ll wake screaming, crying out hysterically for something that you’re “naturally” expected to know. “No one knows a baby like their Mum” right? Wrong. That motherly intuition that you’re meant to have, you’ll have to learn that.
Your days will begin and end with crying, from both you and the baby. Days will blend together and there’s no such thing a daytime or nighttime for you and your baby. You’ll find yourself on the bathroom floor at 3am balling your eyes out wondering what you did wrong. Girl, you’ll do nothing wrong, but everything right, I promise. You’ll see.
You will find yourself googling at 2am, “what colour should poop be?” and “my baby hates life, help” – then you’ll end up self diagnosing yourself with post natal depression and eventually it’s 4am and you’re on Etsy purchasing stupid impractical clothes for your kid. Then it’s 5am and you’ll stare at your partner sleeping in the bed next to you, while you hold your colicky baby upright as she sleeps and you’ll contemplate suffocating him with a pillow because you envy his sleep and it makes you angry.
Eating, unfortunately is no longer something you do because you enjoy it, it’s something you do because if you don’t you’ll probably die. You’ll learn to survive on slices of cheese, re-heated mugs of instant coffee, half a muesli bar and toast at 11pm. Forget shaving your legs, pfft don’t even bother. You’ll spend a solid 3 days straight in the same pair of pyjamas and you’ll be lucky if you get a chance to change your nickers in between.
Your baby will go through 3 sets of clothing in one morning, because #poonami-explosion. Then you’ll forget to put them in the wash and they’ll live on the floor until tomorrow, when your dog starts sniffing around and you remember “Oh crap, that has crap on it.”
You might find yourself in the shower for no reason other than you’ve learnt that you can’t hear your baby cry over the sound of the running water; then you’ll get out because you feel bad and then you remember you forgot to shave your legs, again. There will be moments when you’re past “that point”, of rocking, shooshing and attempting to sooth your baby and you’ve had genuine thoughts about leaving your baby in her bed, jumping in the car and driving far, far away (lucky you didn’t do that).
You might not be able to breastfeed and that’s okay. Don’t listen to what everyone says and ignore the mean nurses who tell you “Just keep going.” – you don’t have to. It’ll hurt you, more so mentally than physically. It’s okay. Instead, you’ll learn to attach yourself to a little yellow pumping machine in the middle of the night that makes a god awful sound and you’ll feel like a cow; but your baby is getting the best of the best and thats so strong of you to do.
The paediatrician will diagnose your baby with reflux. What the heck is infant reflux anyway?! Hell. Pure hell. That’s what it is.
Mumma, this love is going to crush you, destroy your ability to trust yourself, your thoughts and emotions will drive you literally insane; and you’ll feel guilty. But then, you’ll feel guilty for feeling guilty.
But Mumma guess what happens next? Your daughter will start to smile at you. She will open up her big brown eyes (her eyes that look like her Daddy’s) and she will smile. She will fill your heart, right to the top, with a love you could never ever imagine living without.
You will not have this parental gig figured out straight away; stop pretending you will. Heck, you probably never will figure it out anyway. Instead, your daughter will be strong, fierce, happy and healthy. Never forget, the love you feel, she feels too (the good and the bad). You’re a team, you got this.
Mucho love, Mumma Roslyn. xx
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of country
I acknowledge the wiradjuri people as the custodians of the lands and waters of the region, on which I live and work. I pay respect to elders both past and present. I acknowledge and respect the wiradjuri people’s cultural, spiritual, physical and emotional connection with their land, waters and community.