It has been incredible watching my daughter and my newborn, her brother, get to know each other. A loved him instantly. As soon we worked out how to explain to a 2 year old that ‘mummy has a baby in her tummy that will come out and live with us’ she was smitten. Hours were spent where I was forced to bare my belly as she bellowed ‘Hellooo baby,it’s sister’ at her growing sibling. At Christmas when she got a doctor’s kit her requirement that I allowed her access to my belly went up exponentially as she became a ‘Midwife’ and ‘listened to baby’ using a plastic imitation stethoscope inspired by the countless Obstetrician/Midwife/Sonographer appointments she accompanied me to.
This morning after being woken by her dad she came bounding into my bedroom, completely ignored my loving good morning coos and made a bee line for her ‘kleiner Bruder’ (little brother in German). Honestly I may not be the shiny, exciting attraction I used to be for my daughter but honestly I’m not mad at it. Watching their relationship grow and the bundles of love my first born freely pours out warms my heart in a way I never envisaged.
How have you found watching your children develop relationships with their siblings?
Any tips for helping to cultivate good sibling relationships?
It’s almost mother’s day in the US and this has me reflecting on the great impact that motherhood has had on my life. The person that I was when I found out I was pregnant, feels almost like a stranger to me. Being pregnant, giving birth and learning how to be a mother has been one of the most incredible, tough things I have ever done.
Here are some ways that becoming a mother has changed me forever.
I appreciate time so much more now
I find it so hilarious that one of my last exciting pre- motherhood excursions was using a day on my holiday from work,to travel one and a half hours away from my house, one way, just to get food that was twenty five pence. In contrast to that life, where it kind of seems like I had a bit too much time, the other day I managed to go on a ten minute walk alone and it felt absolutely luxurious.
The indulgent days of watching a whole series in one day, whist eating an abundance of junk food are well and truly over!As I look after my daughter full time, her schedule is now my schedule.She wakes up at 5am? So do I. She decides not to have her oh so sweet afternoon nap and instead run around the house? Me too. She is teething and wakes up 6 billion times a night? I am in there!
When I do happen to get time to myself I treasure it. Hold on tight to it and evaluate how best to use it.
I am so much more grateful for all of the awesomeness in my life
I feel like the sleep deprivation and lack of time to look after yourself, that goes with having a baby is like going through SAS training; it strips your life down to the bare minimum which means anything added is noticed and anything good is amplified.
When sleep deprivation becomes standard, having a nap feels luxurious. Having people in my life who get me with no effort and think about my needs before I even have a chance to is such a blessing. Even things that I ashamedly never used to pay attention to like being able to have a cup of tea or having a home with food now make me feel really grateful.
I do not do things that make me feel bad
Probably linked to now having less time, I now do not engage in activities or hang out with people who are good vibe suckers. When I had more time than trees have leaves, I would do things that would make me feel crappy. Yes it didn’t feel great but I had plenty of time to rid myself of the bad vibes later. Now that really isn’t the case. I have to be as emotionally intact and mentally sound as I can be to look after my daughter, so now engaging in things that do not feel wholesome and good is really not an option anymore.
I kind of wish I respected my self and my time before having A but I’m so thankful I got there eventually.
I am so much more confident
Honestly, the idea of giving birth terrified me so much, that I began having panic attacks whilst pregnant ( I’ll probably write another blog post about this). However, when it came to it, it was fine. It was bearable, I survived. Nothing bad happened and a part of me even actually enjoyed labour.
Having A forced me to face a challenge, when I used to be the kind of person who avoided anything that scared or pushed me too far. Giving birth was something I could not run away from regardless of how much I ruminated about it. My daughter was growing inside me and eventually she would 100% definitely need to come out.
Being forced to face this fear taught me how much life can be added to my life when I do the things that scare me.
Going through pregnancy and labour, also helped me to become aware of my body’s strength, abilities and power. My body was no longer something that annoyed me because it didn’t look or act how I wanted it to, when I wanted it to. My body became an amazing, super vessel which could look after me whilst also grow a whole, amazing, intelligent human being.
Now I feel like I had acted as though my body was a scrappy bit of paper, when in fact it was a multi million pound winning lottery ticket.
Have you found that you have changed since becoming a mother or doing something radical? If so, how?
This post was originally published on my other passion project, Cultural Magpie, check it out if you’re into travel, exciting things to do and commentary on all things culture.
So today is my first ever mother’s day. I feel more emotional than I ever imagined I would be. Motherhood is turning out to be amazing. I feel so grateful and lucky that despite the horror stories, I survived pregnancy and birth. I managed to grow a healthy little girl who is incredible. I am lucky that I do not have to rush off to some job and get to choose if/when I go back to work.
But despite all this awesomeness, today has a tinge of sadness. My mother is not quite here.She has not passed away, thankfully. She is not ill but despite this she is still not here being my mother.
It’s complicated so I do not even know where to begin. She is not a one dimensional villain as she is caring in her way. She is intelligent. Her influence is the source of my fundamental fun- loving, book reading, forever- learning nature.
However, despite all of these niceties, she is markedly flawed. Although I am firmly an adult she is desperately controlling. She is dishonest. She is competitive. She is abusive. I feel upset that as I was pregnant, I could not ring her for advice or to share my experiences as I journeyed to motherhood. Instead I had to set up boundaries and distance so that I did not start to believe that some of the issues that occurred in this pregnancy were due to some fundamental, disgusting manifestation of my essence, like she continuously told me.
I have made progress in my expectations and have learned that there is a stereotypical god-like, angelic, flawless idea of mothers which is grossly unachievable.
However, having A has made me even more angry about the way she treats me. When I look at my gorgeous girl I could not imagine going out of my way to harm her or abuse her or make her feel small. I love her so much that all I want to do is love her and nourish her and let her know just how special she is.
I am starting to accept that my mother is not who I want her to be.
I am starting to realise that as well as being my mother, she is also a person with her own issues, struggles and flaws.
It was and still is, difficult at times being a mother without a mother. However this adversity has highlighted my resilience, strength and built my determination to be a reflective, thinking mother who does not take my own issues out on my children.
I have found opportunities to learn about how to be a mother in surprising places. I have realised that lots of people in my life, some who aren’t even women, show me qualities that I would like to emulate. I would love my friend Emma’s enthusiasm and positivity as a mother. When I’m with my granddad I always get the sense that he savours the moments we spend together and I would like to conjure that with A.
I want to capture and pass on my grandma’s luminous pride in my mere existence.
Unfortunately I am becoming a mother without the guidance of my actual mother but this experience has helped me to realise that there are lots of people who show me qualities that I would like to radiate as a mother regardless.