The end of the year always makes me sentimental. This one more than any other seems to have passed by so quickly. I was 11 weeks pregnant this time last year, keeping everything crossed that my little baked bean stayed put and at the same time terrified of the future. I couldn’t see past the sea of ‘last’s’ Pete I and I would experience to the joy of the firsts that were yet to come. I have changed tremendously in this year – I suppose motherhood does that to you, but I’ve also had time to reflect on it all and what I’ve learned in that year…
Unconditional love does exist.
I think we all hope for unconditional love from a partner or spouse and I hope we all receive it, but the awe of the way your baby looks at you is true unconditional love. I realised that one morning, sat in my pyjama’s, a bit puffy from lack of sleep, obviously makeup less, could have been cleaner… the list of imperfections goes on. But Bea had never been happier to see my imperfect face. She didn’t care and that is unconditional love.
Human kindness is everywhere.
When you have a baby everybody is interested, in the same way people are interested when you’re getting married. Advice is
impressed offered, wry stories told about their first born or new parenting experiences, and sadly much of it is passively negative. Since having Bea in contrast it’s the kindness and human nature of strangers that has struck me. On my errands about my local community or into Manchester, never a journey passes without a kind enquiry. Surprisingly many a man has engaged with Bea and I when we’re out and about. So many people have offered help with the pram, or give up a seat, or to get things for me and it’s enough to restore my faith in humankind but also wonder why we all are not so polite and kind to each other every day.
Letting go is freedom
The times I’ve felt most trapped by motherhood, the days when I’ve not been able to leave the house, or get something done, or just settle Bea as usual, giving up and letting go has always been the key. Often, with the benefit of hindsight, just to stop fighting battles that can’t be won is immensely relieving.
My work does not define me
There have been times I’ve felt insignificant since I stopped work to go on maternity leave, without purpose or direction, I suppose because I haven’t felt I was contributing. As time has gone on I have realised the contribution every mother makes to the future of society, or taking a microscopic as opposed to macroscopic view, just the future of their child. Work is only a part of me and didn’t define me before, but it does even less now.
One bad day does not a bad mother make (and nor do bad habits form in one night.)
And neither do two, or three bad days for that matter. It’s hard to remember on a bad day, but Bea crying doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong. She won’t hold it against me in the future and it doesn’t make me bad at my new role. I learned not to be afraid of picking her up from her cot when she cries, (in case she starts doing it every time I put her down,) or feeding her in the night if she wakes up in the early hours (in case she wants a feed every night.) It’s so easy to make yourself feel bad. Sometimes babies just need cuddles. And so do mummies
Pete will do anything for me and together we can do anything
This isn’t the first year that Pete has supported me unconditionally, but it’s the first time I’ve realised it at the time. He has physically supported me through late pregnancy and in the weeks and months after my c-section. He’s emotionally supported me through my doubts before having Bea and worries about motherhood after. He’s worked day and night to get the house finished or cleaned or tidy, when I was hugely pregnant or when Bea needed me. He’s fetched and carried a million different things when I was immobile or feeding. And when towards the end of the year we’ve been back to working together again, we’ve knuckled down and achieved a lot in the house, even when mountains have needed to be moved. I wouldn’t want to do it all with anyone else.
It’s been a truly amazing year, in the awe-inspiring sense of the word. It’s been difficult, frustrating, intense, frightening, exhausting but totally fulfilling. I have no idea what 2015 will bring but I know just being in my little family will be just fine with me.
How has your year been readers? Did you have any big revelations?
*All the photo’s in this post are by Peter and Laura Lawson taken when Bea was 7 weeks old.