You don’t look old enough to be a parent

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Isn’t that such a strange thing to say?

I’ve had 2 people say that to me on separate occasions and I don’t know how to respond.

It was said completely innocently, as a compliment more than anything. But it confused me.

Technically we can have babies from as young as 11, and at 21 I am at the height of my fertility and physically the best age to bear a child.

So is the implication that I don’t look mature enough to be a mother?

I’m not going to dwell on this though, because really the intention isn’t malicious or judgemental and if anything is complimentary. And as I’m not self-conscious about having had a baby young, I’m not offended or upset. I’m just a little confused by why anyone would say this. It’s only in recent years that people have started waiting until their thirties and even forties to have babies, but no-one would ever be told they look too old to be a parent.

All I can say is, Hey lady, go down and tell that to my flat stretchmark-free stomach, tight vag and indestructible pelvic floor!

Love at first sight…

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I had been depressed in the pregnancy. There were days, before I got my reception job at the children’s centre, that I would cry for hours.

I think it was the night before my due date that I cried to Tim because I wasn’t excited about the baby being born.

In retrospect, I think that was why the labour was so hard. If I had been excited, the beginnings of labour would have been exciting. But I found every minute of it awful.

Once he was born though, and I lay there legs akimbo, once the adrenaline had worn off and the shock had subsided, as they stitched me up (and yes I farted) after a good few puffs of gas and air (which by the way does nothing for the pain) to endure injections into my actual fairy (after all it had been through!), as I lay there then, the happy high of birth rose in me and never left. The depression slunk off and we have all been happy ever since.

But I didn’t love him at first. I was very happy. I stared at him all day, I stroked him, I fed him, I rocked him, I nearly cried when he, screaming, had his IV removed, but he could be passed to anyone and I didn’t mind, I could have left him for hours (I didn’t) and I don’t think I would have missed him. I was very happy but he felt like a stranger that I had to get to know.

He was a lovely little stranger. For the first 2 weeks he slept and woke only to feed. I spent every minute with him and watched him grow from tiny 6lb 10oz twiglet to a real chunky bubba who smiled and made gentle little sounds and screamed in rage when the boob didn’t arrive into his angry rosebud mouth fast enough.

Then one evening, when Tim was in Paris, I looked at him and cried because I loved him. It had taken about 6 weeks but the little stranger felt less of a little stranger and the love and fear had grown in equal measure, because they always seem to go hand in hand.

It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was really ok.

First few weeks into motherhood…

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5 weeks and 4 days into motherhood and it’s super chilled. From what I can work out so far, it seems to be

lots of sitting with a baby guzzling your tit as if starved even if was fed 30 minutes ago,

lots of jiggling around, rocking, swaying,

talking in a stupid voice, mainly to bestow poo congratulations (what a humongous Korma-like poo that just squirted into my hand, well done!),

and quickly dashing about when he is either asleep or with a family member

to scrub poo out of nappies, hang up the washing, and other important jobs

such as eating, showering and going to the loo.

Monday mornings are to watch Sunday night’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Friday mornings are to watch Thursday’s episode of Ambulance or to go to the Healthy Child Clinic at the Children’s Centre to get him weighed and then as soon as possible to watch Thursday’s episode of Ambulance and probably to cry because it’s such an emotional programme that restores any lost faith in humanity and is amazing and I love it.

Those are the big events of the week. I think that that sums up the first few weeks of motherhood. One day it took 4 hours to go to the park.

Pregnancy has prepared you for the slow pace of life. When pregnant I could sit staring into space doing nothing for hours and couldn’t focus on anything if I did try to be productive (isn’t growing a baby enough productivity!). Once I’d finished working my biggest jobs were household chores, and it’s exactly the same now except everything takes a bit longer because you have to keep stopping to pop the baby on your boob and to rock him to sleep or to stare at him for ages when he’s being awake and sweet and not needing anything.

I’m still struggling with the concept of playing God, bequeathing life.

But I will probably forever live life on the high of giving birth. Even though from the outside life appears absolutely deathly boring, I feel excited every day.