This Diary of Motherhood is a series of weekly letters to my first baby, my little son who I call Baby Bird. I know not everyone wants to read about the highs and lows of motherhood so you can read non-baby related posts about travel, writing, freelancing or Amsterdam instead. Alternatively read one of my short stories or check out some book reviews and recommendations.
Dear Baby Bird,
Your grandparents all came to see you this week and I couldn't help but wonder before, during and after when they'd ever all be in the same room as you again. With one side of the family living in Australia and the other in UK. who knows when we'll all find ourselves in the same place at the same time. I hope it's not too far in the future. Of course, you did us proud. You curled up on one grandmother's chest, before falling asleep in the arms of another. You let my dad play King Crimson videos to you as he used your chubby legs as a drum kit for his fingers. You stared into my mum's eyes and then used all the strength your little body has to hold your head up straight as she, a retired GP, was curious to see how you'd do at some six week baby checks (which you near enough aced - at week two!!). You listened to your Afi tell us stories of his own grandchildren in Iceland and you heard your Amma tell her son how in love with you she was. When my parents offered to look after you for an hour or two, you behaved perfectly for them while your dad and I could go out for lunch just the two of us, an important milestone for me this week.
Not that at two weeks old we were already fed up with you. But it's been hard, you know. You're a completely new and frankly, very needy person. We expected this, of course, but we didn't - or rather I didn't - fully anticipate just how emotionally draining your demands would be on me. I seem to be fine staying up all night with you moving you from suckling at my breast, to cradling you in my arms, to lying you by my side. Physically I can get on with this. What has proved harder, has been getting my emotions in check. In the first week, I found looking forwards further than an hour or two almost impossible. Conversely, I found it all too easy, too tempting to look back at our carefree lives as they used to be. I felt so overwhelmed by the difference from then to now. I would even say I was mourning that time that was now firmly and unalterably over. This twisted my insides with conflict. I wanted you so very much. I urged you to grow stronger every day you were inside me, but now you're here, why would I suddenly crave the life you weren't yet a part of?
Maybe as time passes I'll make more sense of this. Right now, at the end of Week Two, I can't come up with something smart or suitably sensitive to explain why the big hazy happiness I'm experiencing is lined with sadness. Maybe it's the lack of sleep? Maybe I'm learning that while sleep deprivation may not do too much physical damage to me, mentally I'm crushed.
And I've just waved my parents goodbye. The two people who I regard most rock-like in my life - always there with hugs, encouragement, pride - have gone back to being at least four hours and a plane ride away. This, of course, is my choice not theirs, and I love where I live, but I also love the support they bring to my and therefore your life. Can I really be as ever-present, strong and rock-like for you as they were and are for me? It seems so impossible now. It's something that is definitely outside of the next one, two hours. But time will tell and I hope it does go on to tell that story. But for now, let's just focus on this next hour, shall we?
Your emotional, both-happy-and-sad-but-mostly-happy, still-sleep-deprived, crazy-in-love mother x