On Friday, my little Milk Vampire will be 25 weeks old. 25 weeks. Just one week off 6 months. That’s half a year. Which is only 16 and a half years away from “mum, I’m borrowing the car!” Which is just mind blowing.
I gave birth yesterday. He’s still the tiny 6lb 13 (and a quarter) oz. It’s definitely not 6 months later and he can’t possibly weigh over a stone. Everyone tells you it passes too quick, but nothing, nothing prepares you for the first newborn you see when your little poppet is no longer newborn. I think my heart broke with sadness, burst with pride and beat a thousand times faster with anxiety all at once.
It is the oddest feeling, realising your creation has started to grow up. Every milestone, from the passing of a new colour of poo from the very bottom you kissed moments earlier, to the first smile is an incredibly joyful occurence. You demand the attention of your other half, best friend, the beloved grandparents, your siblings. Some of whom may well be baffled as to why they are applauding literal shit. But applaud they will. And you will be genuinely ecstatic. For a moment. Then the flicker comes…
What is that? Why do I want to cry? Why is my heart breaking? It’s actual fecal matter! Why would I be crying? Well…that’s one more thing that the tiny human can do. One more thing they achieved outside your womb. One teeny tiny amazing footstep on the road to them not needing you anymore. To them becoming a fully functioning, totally independent adult. One who makes all their own decisions. One who…who doesn’t need you anymore…
But seriously, snap out of it. It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking, it induces gut wrenching anxiety – the likes of which you’ve never felt before. But please try not to get bogged down. It can consume you. I’ve spent days worrying that the days are passing. There is genuinely nothing more counter productive than that!
I am not saying I don’t feel it,you absolutely must feel it, because you’re lucky to have the opportunity to feel it. Just try to feel it alongside the happiness and excitement if you can. And if you find yourself not feeling the feelings, don’t worry, that’s almost certainly normal too. But if you keep not feeling the feelings, or if you only feel the sadness, anxiety and worry; tell someone. No shame please, no concern about judgements, you deserve the same respect and love you’d give someone else. So tell your Health Visitor, your partner, a friend, tell me. Because you don’t want to miss these scarily wonderful and fleeting moments…even the ones about turds.
Now, there’s an old saying that the days are long but the years are short. I assume it’s bandied about to keep us moaning mummies positive. There is also a tendency for mums of older children to tell you to “enjoy every minute”, “savour the night feeds” because “they’re not babies for long.” Now, to be fair, in retrospect, these statements are completely accurate. But to say these things to a new mum is verging on bullying!
Enjoying every minute would include the minute (or rather weeks) spent bleeding, leaking, being too scared to poop and feeling pains in things you didn’t know you had; while being almost entirely responsable for keeping a wrinkly wriggly whiney human alive. All the while not being entirely sure that said whiney human is actually yours, or that it even knows you are there, let alone likes you. The only hint that it’s even part of your family is that it’s the spitting image of its father. Who, by the way, you can’t bear to make eye contact with because he saw some pretty gruesome things during labour that neither of you have forgotten yet.
Savouring the night feeds would involve looking down at your sore, bleeding, chapped nipples while a tiny frustrated mouth latches on to them unceremoniously and thinking; “This.is.wonderful. I am so lucky to experience this agony while everyone else I know is asleep and has been for hours. Why must it ever end?”
And telling someone they’re not babies for long? Well, that one makes me panic. Because they’re not. Soon my tiny milk leech will be a back chatting, Xbox playing 7 year old, just like his big brother. And I will be back to having all the feels. And I will tell sleep deprived, food deprived, leaking, bleeding new mums to “enjoy every minute”.
Luckily, Mother Nature has supplied me with a creature who allows me to be awake for the majority of the minutes. And hours. So I suppose when I’m sleep deprived and cranky I should remind myself that sleep would rob me of those precious hours together. So we have plenty of minutes to enjoy and night feeds to savour, the Sleep Thief must have considered all this. I’ve spawned a genius.
Perhaps I should start waking up friends and family so they can enjoy it too? After all, they’re not babies for long…