So here you are; desperately counting down the days and hours until your first baby decides it’s time to make an entrance… I know you’re excited. But Sarah there are a few things you need to know, and nobody else is going to have the balls to break some of this to you so it’s down to me.
The birth which you have been planning so carefully? Well, it’s not going to happen babe. When Dylan decides to enter the world elbow-first; no amount of hypnobirthing cd’s are going to help you. I’m glad you don’t know that yet. I’m glad that you think the term ‘crowning’ sounds like you will be giving birth to a prince… rather than the reality: the raw burning agony of a skull hitting your pelvis before ripping your poor undercarriage to shreds.
That’s the bad bit. Ok? You’ll survive sweetheart.
Now for the good bit.
You are about to be knocked sideways by a big old wrecking ball of LOVE. And I don’t think you’ll ever quite recover from the blow. You will obsess over his every newborn facial twitch and yes, eight years on you will still creep into his bedroom to kiss his beautiful beautiful face while he sleeps. Even on the days he’s been a complete prick.
You are not yet prepared for the enormity of seeing how much the people you love, love your kids (yes I said kids. Plural. You don’t know this yet but there will be three of them!). Your gruff; hard-as-nails Dad? Your cold-as-ice little brother? They’re going to turn to complete mush over your kids, believe me. And your Mam? Well, just wait until you see what she’s like. I can’t describe it.
It’s not all going to be rosy though love… some things; or more to the point, some relationships will derail. Or change irreparably. Some friendships just won’t weather the storm of your crazy new life. But the ones that do? You’ll love them even more for standing beside you when you can’t get a babysitter/can’t stop crying/can’t fit into any of your clothes. Those friendships will have a worth that you never imagined.
You will spend a lot of your time over the next few years desperately wishing for time away from your kids. I know you can’t believe that now as you stroke your tummy and feel the little kicks. But those fuckers are going to drive you to the brink of insanity and you are just going to have to put your big girl pants on every day (make sure to wash them in between uses) and keep going. You are going to be oh so very tired. Just don’t be too proud to ask for help when you’re on your knees.
It’s not all about you now, you see. It’s not about your hair, or your face, or your gym membership, or even your career. And that; that is probably what’s going to piss you off the most in these coming years. You’ll watch your wants and needs slide down the list of priorities faster than a downhill skier.
I want you to prepare yourself also for the low level panic that comes with motherhood. The anxiety that comes from your happiness being intrinsically linked to a person who is only ever going to grow further and further away from you. That one takes some getting used to.
But you know what’s wonderful? You will never ever feel jealous again! It’s a FUCKING REVELATION! You will never again view your friends’ amazing new house or hear about their big promotion and feel the green-eyed monster approach. Because you see; only you have those kids. Only you. You are the luckiest girl in the world.
And one day, eight whole crazy years from now; somebody will ask you a question which pulls you up short and makes you think long and hard. They will ask you if it annoys you ‘being defined as a Mother?’ And you will shake your head and pause and really try to summon up some indignation. But you will have to admit without any embarrassment, to them and to yourself that at this stage of your life ‘Motherhood’ is absolutely what defines you. I know, I know; the raging-feminist 29 year old you is furious right now. But it’s true. You are not just a mother of course. You are a wife, a daughter, a friend, a teacher. But 95% of your brain-power, time, energy and heart will belong to those kids.
You don’t know this yet… but they might just be your greatest achievements.