My Motherhood by Lizzie Ford

Holding my baby girl in my arms for the first time, I felt like a superhero. Granted, a superhero from the last scene of a movie, torn limb from limb and lying in a gutter clinging to their last breath by a thread – but a superhero nonetheless. I had made it through this massive and barbaric experience, and I was still alive. I had endured the most grueling 36-hour initiation imaginable to finally be granted membership to the club. I was in. I had done it. I made a human. And pushed it out of myself. Through an impossibly small opening.

 

And she was perfect.

 

Since that moment life has been, well, if I’m honest, totally exhausting. My daughter is a sparky, smart, beautiful little person with an improbable amount of energy. I love her more than I thought possible (I assumed people were exaggerating when they said things like ‘she is so cute, I could eat her’ – now I get it – I really could) but it has also been challenging beyond belief.

 

It took a long time to find my stride – to work out what my life was going to look like now, to adjust my expectation of what a ‘good day’ would entail, and find a way to look after myself (and my own sanity) at the same time as selflessly caring for a relentlessly demanding little legend. There was many a bleary-eyed outing wearing vomit embellished clothing and nothing on my face but poorly applied mascara and a desperate expression.

 

A little bit like labour itself, the process changed me, and still is changing me. It broke me. It made me question what it even really means to be a woman and I could only conclude that we are made of much stronger stuff than I initially thought. We read a lot about all the things we give up when becoming a mother, and though much of that is true (oh, what I’d give for a decent lie-in), I also feel more empowered than ever before. It has given me the opportunity to see more starkly what I want in life, not just for my family but for myself too.

 

Where before I might have felt fearful about taking a change of direction in my career, making that call, stepping out of my comfort zone – I don’t have time to doubt myself these days. And to be honest, I haven’t been in my ‘comfort zone’ since around week 36 of the gestation period. It feels like there is less at stake too. What is ultimately most precious to me is sleeping in her cot upstairs, so if it all goes belly up some days, I make a fool of myself or nothing gets done, then that’s ok too. No one can make me feel like a failure now – I’ve made a human.

 

Lizzie Ford is a freelance writer, founder of Mabel’s Log and mum of 18-month-old Maisie.

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