My motherhood by Liz
04 10 2013 • My Motherhood
My wedding day mantra was: Enjoy the moment. I repeated it throughout the day and primed my friends to whisper it in my ear at opportune moments.
What I didn’t want to do was spend the time walking up the aisle thinking about saying my vows, or on the way to reception wondering whether the food would be Ok, or if the speeches would be good, I wanted to savour every second of the most expensive romantic day of my life.
As a new mother I have to remind myself of the same thing.
It is all too easy to wish away the first few weeks. Olive was born three weeks early. Her skinny little limbs that hadn’t had the chance to plump up in the womb petrified me. I’d look at my chubby, 10 month old nephew, who seemed so indestructible in comparison, and long for Olive to beef up.
When Olive was four weeks old I was at a local market. She was strapped into her pram and I was eying up everyone in the vicinity with a Jason Bourne-like vigilance, ready to protect my child at the slightest provocation. She was bawling and the movement of the pram wasn’t doing its normal trick of soothing her. I noticed a woman glancing repeatedly in my direction. I bristled. She approached and I readied myself to defend the ceaseless crying.
Her opening line threw me: “I’d forgotten what a wonderful sound a newborn’s cry is. It gets worse, and louder.”
A few days later my postman, delivering yet another pile of packages from friends, relatives, relatives of friends, friends of friends (proof that a birth turns all and sundry into a soppy mess) told me that it goes too quickly, and that his daughter is 27.
So I am embracing every moment, with a seven-week-old baby.
I am finding joy in the nappies that, for now, don’t smell, even though it will be a while before I can eat either pesto or mustard again.
I’m trying not to wish away her first few weeks as I anticipate her first smile that can’t be attributed to wind or a particularly exotic dream (seriously, what do babies dream about? She is far more expressive when asleep that anything I’ve seen in her waking hours).
I’ve resigned myself to swamping her in babygros that claim to be suitable for newborns but in reality overwhelm her, trying not to get frustrated as she gets through more outfits than an actress during the Oscars. (Although her changes tend to be a result of puking or pooing on herself – I’m not sure how true that is of most actresses.) I’m ignoring all her cute dresses that seem impossibly large as the moment, as she’ll wear them in time.
As for breast-feeding, the pressure that my boobs are under to provide all her nutrients, without respite delivered by mashed sweet potato or broccoli, is intense. On the plus side, I remind myself, at least my boobs are eminently portable, don’t require disinfecting, are a lot cheaper than formula and breastfeeding allows me to indulge – guilt free – in the glut of cakes and biscuits that every visitors feels obliged to bring with them. The downside is that my nipples are being gnawed raw by a hungry, gummy baby.
Olive was born after almost seven years of trying, after five rounds of IVF, and having miscarried twins last year. I have two more embryos on ice, which may one day provide a sibling for Olive, but there is no guarantee and they are my last hope. So this may well be my only opportunity to experience a newborn baby. All the more reason to stop myself wishing away these precious few days and enjoy the moment.
Something I have to remind myself, through gritted teeth, at two in the morning as I change a third nappy in a row.
Liz is mama to 8 -week old Olive and blogger at Womb For Improvement.
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