Despite the nine loooooong months of waiting, my entire pregnancy is over in a moment and in that instant I’ve got a new baby!
Seconds later we’re back at home, the fuss is over and everyone has gone. Breathe in, breathe out.
Get past this initial shock, focus for a minute and take stock of the situation:
Firstly, I just have to get off my chest how PROUD I am of myself! I actually kinda want to shout it from the rooftops if I’m being totally honest – I MADE A HUMAN! And then I miraculously evacuated it from my womb! Wow I'm awesome. I mean, I made an entire homo sapien, FROM SCRATCH, inside my body!
Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way and established that being a woman means I have some kind of super power, where does that leave me?
Well, I’m sore. Sooooo sore. Like, everywhere. Being this awesome has it’s price. My boobs ache with a capital A. My private (but now not so private seeing as everyone in the whole blimmin hospital has seen them) parts feel as though I was doing rodeo on a cactus for a whole week straight. And then there’s the after-pains, which no one tells you about, which are definitely more like BEFORE-pains, as in, before-the-baby-is-crowning-pains. These are NOT cool; every time I feed my bundle of joy I feel as though I am back in the third stage of labour as my uterus struggles to pull itself together. This is nasty, and I’m sorry, but my butt aches. No one mentioned hemorrhoids BEFORE I had this baby. I promise I won’t mention them again.
Now, if I thought I was emotional pre-birth, things are operating on a whole new level. And by level I mean anything but. I have ten zillion gallons of who-knows-what hormones gallivanting around my broken body and it just makes me want to cry and scream and laugh and cry and sulk and be overjoyed then cry some more. THEN DRINK. Which I can’t even do. I find myself grappling with a strange new mix of emotions too; guilt, anxiety, fear. I’ve somehow convinced myself I’m doing E V E R Y T H I N G wrong. My mother-in-law and my sister and our neighbour and his cat all tell me different things about how to raise this tiny human and I definitely get the impression I’m mucking it up 400% of the time. In fact, I swear I’ve already ruined this child’s life. She’ll grow up to hate me. I’ve failed her. I’m the worst mum that ever lived. Well, see, this is what I mean... Emotions, STAND DOWN! Most of the time I literally cannot control the expression on my face, so everyone please stop looking at me like I’m insane.
I quite possibly am insane.
But then, EVERYTHING has changed. Every-thing. No one thing will ever be the same again. Of course it won’t, because I MADE A HUMAN. And in order to have done this, to date, the cost has been: my body, my job, my boobs, my wardrobe, chocolate, my free time, sleep, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, cold meats, SUSHI, my hobbies, chocolate, seeing my toes, did I mention sleep? my dignity (hello, “private” parts)… I am clothed in spew and poo and baby drool and toddler’s marmite handprints and milk stains and coffee stains (decaf, gutted) and food crumbs and more spew and snot and my own cloak of tears. But thank goodness for these things covering me, seeing as my own clothes don’t fit me anymore. Not that it matters because these days immediate boob access is the most crucial element in any outfit. Most of the time the best I can manage is a dressing gown haphazardly tied, but hey Hugh Hefner made that a legitimate clothing item right?
I don’t have the courage to look in the mirror. The bags under my eyes are now full blown suitcases. There is a new wrinkle every day. Every. Single. Day. I used to spend aaaaaaages doing my makeup, I used to style my flowing mane… of late I rely on the empty tears of exhaustion to add a shimmery glow to my cheeks.
The house is a mess. Hmm, mess is probably an understatement: the house is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the brave dare tread. I knew there was a reason we had 45 thousand towels in this house; I’ll use every single one of them before I need to do any laundry.
Besides, hubby can always pick up the slack. Wait, hubby?! Who on earth is he?! Oh wow, in all my human-making-and-keeping-said-human-alive I had totally forgotten there is another adult in the house! I am buried in small helpless hairless primates ALL THE TIME that I genuinely overlooked poor ol hubby. Sorry babe, I just don’t have time to sit for hours and gaze lovingly into your eyes anymore. Unless I can do it with my eyes closed. I do still love you and thanks for picking up the pieces as I drop them. (Boy do I drop them!).
And yet somehow, despite all this, through the haze, through the overflowing boobs and emotional ruin I am able to conjure this image of myself; no, not the one where I’m wearing the decimated rags of my former life as I drag my enslaved body across a vast hopeless desert, but the image where I’m standing tall and strong, and there is this immense golden glittery un-fricking-believable cape hanging from my shoulders, flapping in the wind of fabulousness as I plough forward in red stilettos through a swirling storm. In the most trying moments, I remember my life-creating super power and there I am; Mother. Woman.
There we all are.
And we look magnificent.