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.

I still look her up on Instagram

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He comes back tomorrow for good. Au revoir, Paris!

I am so tired it’s hard to be excited. Nearly 8 weeks in, the tiredness has really set in now, like November drizzle. That hot-eyed, almost-headache, close to teary rage feeling. I had thought it was a little too easy! Now there is nothing worse than when he says he is tired.

I think I saw her the other day, going through the barrier at the station. She saw me, she was looking round at me. I don’t know why it bothers me but it does. I still look her up on Instagram. She looks like such a nice person. She was volunteering in Africa. I used disposable nappies in hospital and when the baby had a rash. She gets glowing posts about her. I bitch about people who do nice wholesome things like love each other.

Sometimes I look at old messages between me and him where he lied. Maybe I enjoy the drama of it.

I think I can’t quite get over that he never actually told her by choice. She was never dumped. He couldn’t choose between us but maybe at the end he did and he chose her.

The only reason that he eventually told her was because he was caught on the phone to me.

I said he would never be on his own with the baby. I said he had to go to therapy. I said he was an awful person.

But we ended up together, I met his family, he was amazing at the birth, and he’s back in Brighton for good tomorrow. And it is all going to be ok.

It’s just that she’s blonde and pretty and, worst of all, nice, and he never left her. She left him. That makes all the difference.

Letters to baby 1

Letters to Baby, pregnancy

Dear baby, The new year begins with fireworks in London to celebrate, according to the Mayor, the city’s relationship with Europe, a knife attack in Manchester, a car driven into New Year’s crowds in Tokyo with intention to kill and abortion legalized in Ireland. You turn your 126th day in the womb. I go home crying and wake at 4.45 to your dad at my door high on cocaine and chewing a lump of hard cheese. You will come roaring and kicking into the world in five months, just as the daffodils begin to wilt, bluebells already faded. I wait for you to kick, a new year event, but there is just the quiet, warm space inside me where you dream of the dark universe of the womb, tiny brain like the Milky Way. You will leave bright comet-tails in your wake. Love, Mummy

Rotten Luck!

General

At 21, we are brand new! Ish. After surviving school and puberty and our first jobs and our first travels and leaving home, we continue this adventure with a little more knowledge and experience than we first had at 18, but also a little more breakage. A few grazes and scrapes, a few reminders of what happened, of what could have been; we emerge as young adults a little harder than we were as adolescents, a little more scared. Also, in my case, pregnant. So not really brand new. More used, damaged and unwanted now!

So here’s a little about what drew me to the web to voice my sorry tale, and to share how I deal with the misfortunes and joys of life in, generally, a terrible, terrible way. Sort of like an agony aunt, but giving bad advice. Just a modern Western young woman who keeps getting into a pickle to show you what not to do! And if my silly woeful little tales bring anyone any joy, then that’s probably the greatest thing I can achieve. Because this is basically my online therapy, minus the qualified professional…

As soon as I got pregnant (whilst au pairing in Paris), I felt a real drive to start a blog for a number of reasons. Firstly, I found it hard to find anything online that related to me – everything about pregnancy is about being in a loving relationship with a stable job. There was nothing that reflected my story that I could relate to – being young, single, without anywhere to live long-term.

Secondly, I was going through a hard time (a real bit of rotten luck!) – I had just found out my boyfriend was still with his previous girlfriend, and I was moving back home to England without a job, education or anywhere to live. Therefore I felt it was personally important to write everything down, to get my head round everything, and also to help others in a similar situation by letting them know they are not alone.

And thirdly I wanted to create a sort of scrapbook portfolio online. There is no real theme to this blog, except to share my feelings and experiences, so it’s also a great space to put up photos, ideas and arts-and-crafts work for me to look back on and maybe even to give others ideas. I hope this can appeal to lots of young women and men – mums, dads, students, young workers, the unemployed, anyone! – anyone who feels alone and wants to know that there are other people just as lonely and silly and uncertain about everything as they are!

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain – Dolly Parton

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