Dear pre-motherhood me,
You have no idea what’s coming. Right now the idea of being a mum is so abstract.
Right now your babies are but a twinkle in your hubby’s eye, a whisper on the wind, a little bundle being carted about by a tired and stressed out stork.
You know you want to be a mum. Even at this early stage of trying to get pregnant you worry over silly things like whether you will be fertile, will you be able to conceive. You’ve read many an article about fertility and how you should have started trying when you were 21 (seriously!?).
The thought of having a baby is a magical concept that leaves you daydreaming and gazing wistfully at gurgling little babies as they’re pushed around in pretty buggies by their mums.
You wonder what your own baby would look like, what they would feel like to hold and how exciting it would be to celebrate a new baby in the family with your loved ones.
But before you get too carried away, here are a few things I would like you (me) to know:
You’re overthinking daft things, like not knowing how to change a nappy or not knowing what stuff you’re going to need to care for a baby.
I would like you to know that changing nappies is the absolute least of your worries. That part of parenting is a piece of piss (boom boom).
As for stuff, you are going to end up wasting a lot of money on overpriced pretty things that you do not need and will never use.
Put down the Bumbo, step away from the baby shoes and for goodness sake don’t buy the baby bath.
Here’s your shopping list: Nappies, wipes (x100,000), muslins, vests, baby gros, blankets and a car seat.
You don’t know sleep deprivation
You think you’ve experienced bad sleep because you once tossed and turned all night before nodding off at 5am and sleeping until midday? Bless.
You haven’t yet spent the last 11 months up at all hours of the night, looking like a loony as you skip, hop and bounce on your feet trying to find the right rhythm to send your wailing baby back to sleep.
They say sleep while the baby sleeps, right? Try doing that when you have a toddler who no longer sleeps in the day but does like to demand piggy backs and stick their finger up your nose every chance they get.
Baby books should not be trusted
Baby books make a lot of promises, but deliver very little in the face of a baby who doesn’t give a toss about the EASY routine or self soothing.
Yes they can be a lifeline to some, but when you’re flicking through those books you bought in preparation for what’s to come, don’t think of them as a manual. Babies don’t come with a manual. That’s because you didn’t construct and install them, you grew them inside of yourself.
They are humans with their own mind. And you will soon find out that though they are tiny, they have a habit of dictating your every waking minute.
Don’t judge what you don’t yet understand
You saw that mum in the supermarket yelling at her toddler. You sanctimoniously tutted in your head and thought “I’m never going to be THAT parent, shouting at their kid in public”.
I’m going to keep this one really, really simple: No child, no opinion.
Solidarity is the most important rule of motherhood
You sat on a table next to a family with young kids and rolled your eyes as the children flicked peas and shouted about wanting ice cream.
You were annoyed at the noise, wanting grown-up time while out on your date night with hubby. You didn’t come out to sit in a crèche.
The thing is, one day you’ll sit in a similar situation while your own kids are being babysat by someone else at home and look across at that family and think: “Good for you for getting out of the house and braving a restaurant.”
Because taking them out in public can be bloody terrifying, embarrassing and exhausting.
And do you know what else? You’ll also feel great to see it’s not just you who struggles during these situations and grateful that you have two hands to eat your steak with tonight.
It’s not that you’re stupid. It’s just that you don’t know, you cannot know, what parenthood entails.
So with all of this carnage and life upheaval in mind then, my dear self, why the hell did we have/do we want kids?
I’m afraid that is something that cannot be conveyed in a simple letter.
I can’t explain to you how it feels when your baby grabs your finger for the first time. Not just the feel of that chubby fist gripping you so very tightly, as if they’re afraid you’ll vanish, but how it makes your heart feel like bursting.
I can’t explain how it feels when your toddler throws her arms around your neck and squeezes. Even though she’s also kneeing you hard in the stomach, it’s the most beautiful feeling in the world.
And that’s what life is for me, soon to be you, now. It’s days of hardship, fatigue, frustration, anxiety and, let’s be frank, utter monotonous boredom.
But there are moments of such joy, happiness and outright contentment that none of the bad stuff matters.
You have absolutely no idea what you’re letting yourself in for, thank goodness because you would be like a rabbit in the headlights if you did.
These early years with a baby are both the best of times and the worst of times, with challenges at every turn.
But you will not regret a single second of it.
Now, drink up your wine, and get to bed. You need all of the sleep you can get.
Lots of love,