Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you for following Darling Street and all my renovation and DIY projects this year. I have loved growing the blog and reaching new readers, and I hope to have many more adventures to share with you in 2015!
As I sit and write this blog post, I am 3 days away from my due date for my first baby. As you can imagine, the impending arrival of our little one is taking up a lot of my thought time at the moment. So, it only seems fitting that I write about what’s on my mind, rather than renovating this week.
Here’s the thing. When you’re pregnant, mums and dads everywhere offer you little pieces of advice, words of wisdom they wish they had known prior to embarking on parenthood. We have been blessed with many amazing friends who have gone before us in this crazy child-rearing journey and they have been a great source of love, support, information and advice over the past 9 months. However, during this time there is one comment that sticks out the most. It came from my cousin Margot, who has a one-year-old daughter. She simply said this:
“Oh Pen, you are going to love being a Mum. It is just awesome!”
I stared at her for about 5 seconds, waiting for the rest. I waited for her to tell me how difficult breastfeeding is, how I will never get another full night’s sleep in my life, how eating out at restaurants is a thing of the past, how I will never have any time to myself anymore and I won’t be able to shower alone again. But these comments never came. She just beamed at me, and told me what a joy being a mother was. And it made me feel sooooo good!
The truth is, it took my husband and I a while to fall pregnant. We were living in New York and while we loved our years living there, we would have given up that last year in the big apple in a flash if it meant we could have fallen pregnant. We reeeally wanted to become parents. So it has taken me by surprise a little to be told so many negative things about motherhood, most notably in books I have read and sometimes by complete strangers. Up until I fell pregnant, I day-dreamed about holding my little baby in my arms and smelling the top of its head, kissing its tiny little feet, washing its hair in a warm bath. And in the past few months, I’ve realized that I have stopped day-dreaming about those moments, and instead, I am worrying about all the hardships motherhood will bring.
The thing is, I don’t believe anyone sets out to scare or discourage others from having a baby. In fact, I think the reason people share their hardships with mums-and-dads-to-be, is actually to encourage them, so the new parents don’t feel like they are failing if they find feeding hard, or the mum is struggling with her new body, or they are both tired all the time. It is a way of standing in solidarity with the new parents and making sure they feel supported and not criticized if they find things tough.
I have found myself doing the same thing with pregnancy. I’ve had a few friends fall pregnant after me, and when they ask me how I feel or what to expect in the next few months, I often go straight for the negative – legs are tired, tummy is sore, tired all the time bla bla bla. When in fact, I have had a really easy pregnancy, and have mostly enjoyed it! Since realizing this, I’ve actively started to tell my fellow-preggars friends the awesome stuff about late-pregnancy, so as not to overwhelm them. Mainly, that no one in my family let me do the washing-up on Christmas Day – WIN!
Now look, I understand that I’m not a mum yet, so I have no real idea about how hard this newborn phase will be. Perhaps it will be hellish and I’ll feel grateful for all those people that told me how hard it will be! But at the moment, while I’m still pregnant and apprehensive about labour and becoming a mum for the first time, I have often told myself… “Well, a lot of people have a second child, so it can’t be as bad as they make out, or they wouldn’t go for round two!”
Perhaps it is as simple as for every negative, we could give a positive. For every “get ready for your entire house to be a mess” there could be a “when your baby snuggles into your neck and falls asleep, it is just heavenly”. Or for every pregnancy comment about how tired we are, we could throw in a “its lovely how excited everyone is for you when you’re pregnant!”
Since I started to notice my own baby day-dreams had ceased, I have actively fired them up again. I take a few minutes everyday to think of all the lovely little moments I will share with our baby. So the next time a mum or dad tells me that my washing basket will never be empty again, I will take this useful information on-board, and then think about all those lovely little clothes I will get to dress my baby in.
Happy New Year Everyone!
– Penny xo