I have just hit nine weeks into my new role as a mum and I can attest to it being the steepest learning curve, with the greatest adrenaline rush I have ever experienced. While some moments are challenging, some moments I feel almost super human with my new found abilities to function on little and broken sleep; produce consumable liquids from my body and hush the toe curdling wails of a crying little person sometimes with nothing more than my voice.
As I sit here and reflect upon the pregnancy that feels like so many moons ago, those months had lulled me into a falsehood of what was to come. All of the reading materials (of which I admit to reading very little of them) and information out there can never prepare you for the battle fields we experience each day. No two days are ever the same. Within each and every day there is a collection of moments so memorable that you feel as though the space in your mental memory card is well and truly filled, yet there is always room for so much more. And regardless of how many times you have seen that smile, each time that it spreads across her tiny lips, exposing her deep set dimple, without fail each time it takes your breath away and you feel as though it is the first time you are seeing it.
In and amongst it all, there are some lessons I have come to learn in my short experience that I thought I would share…
Life is all about control and routine:
Prior to my daughter, my life was somewhat ad hoc, aside from the time frames of employment I enjoyed living spontaneously and as the wind blew. Clearly my daughter did not get that memo because from the moment of her arrival she had set herself into a precise routine and she sticks to it regardless of where we are and what is happening. She is in complete and total control of her body clock at all times and I am a slave to her almost OCD routine.
As a result of my tiny daughters ways, she is teaching me to adjust into a solid life routine and I must say, I am not disliking so far…
Multitasking takes a back seat:
Back in my former life, I had the ability to get many things done at the one time and I was able to do them well. I was efficient and proud of my abilities and I finally felt as though I had mastered multitasking.
In my current role and duties, I am now confined to one task at a time as my mind is internally screaming and praying to the heavens to duplicate me to enable me to complete multiple tasks at a time. You are no doubt shaking your head in disagreement because it is a well-known fact that mothers are the best at multi tasking ever. I challenge this concept as the child is in its infant stage. Picture this – baby is hungry as you are in the middle of getting ready to head out and there are a few small tasks to get done before you leave. As I sit down to feed her, I stare at the half packed baby bag wishing that I could mentally pack it and put it in the car, all the while cursing myself for not having packed it earlier. I look at the pile of dishes in the sink and attempt to calculate how long it would take to do and how late might you be if you did them – on second thought you will be cooking when you return home – more dishes anyway. You reason they can all wait.
You look at the clean yet unfolded pile of clothes you dumped on the couch when the baby started crying a feed ago and wonder what is the most effective way of hiding these! I am driven to leave my home in a fit state because I am terrified of the police having to attend and for me to explain that I can’t be certain of what a potential burglary did to my home because the way I left it could be confused for a ransacking.
So as part of the anti multi tasking, I am learning to enjoy the moment and get into a better organization pattern to prevent my head exploding when the clock is ticking against me.
I have become a moving coat rack!
Now this will sound odd – but to anyone who is packing a car and only wants to make the one trip, you become super creative. I have now mastered the ability to carry the baby bag and everything the baby requires including the kitchen sink and about 62 blankets thanks to the Melbourne winter – as well as the baby – all in one trip without dropping anything and locking the front door! I have virtually become a magician!
Babies are the bearer of happiness:
There are so many things in the world that make you stop and feel a pain in the depths of our hearts whether it’s a personal tragedy, something that has happened to someone we know directly or the news that carries of others sadness and grief. Unfortunately there is no shortage of sadness, yet the birth of a child cuts through pain and brings a pure and uncensored happiness. The interesting part is that the child will probably never know the happiness and peace they generated just from being present…
The true value of being present:
At first the 3am feeds felt like the devils hour. A few times I may or may not have mistaken the babies gentle cries for my previously set morning alarm and tried to press snooze on my phone. I dreaded the feed time as my eyes were so heavy and shut, my arms feel rubbery and not attached to my body and everything felt hard.
Fast-forward a few weeks – my favourite time of the day is the 3am feed. My body clock wakes slightly ahead of the baby as I anticipate her gentle stirring of hunger. I listen in the darkness for the sounds and my heartbeat slightly quickens with delight as I watch her eyes open just enough.
After years of practicing meditation and struggling with being present without using the time to make endless to do lists, the 3am feeds gets me to that point without much thought.
As I am settling the baby back into sleep, the world in this moment is quiet. There are no distracting sounds – nothing but the sound of her gentle breathing as I watch her eyelids become heavy and shut. Her head against my chest succumbs to the comfort and she flies off into her dreamland. There aren’t any pressing chores to attend to and my mind isn’t distracted by a ticking clock. There is nothing more important and nowhere else to be in that very moment but to breathe in the beautiful and intoxicating smell of her newborn head, or to watch her fingers wrap around my finger and to enjoy the warm and comfort shared between us.
Motherhood is a challenging yet exciting time. For me, in the past few weeks not only am I getting to know my daughter but I am excited to be getting to know a new and very different version of me… a version I am quiet happy to become…