The baby chronicles #52: Reflecting on the last year

Age: One year old
I like: Sticklebricks, splashing in my birthday suit, watermelon, boobs

A year ago today the O family had been home from hospital for one day.  Little O was a grand total of three days old and I was still in a fog of hormones, adrenaline and general confusion. I feel like that person was a completely different person to who I am now.

One photo for every month of his life

It’s almost impossible to sum up the last year in a blog post. I have been trying to bounce the words around in my head for a few days now and nothing feels quite right.

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The last time he went to bed as a 0 year old

I have incredibly mixed feelings about motherhood. My feelings about Little O are very clear. He is brilliant and I adore him. My feelings about my role as his mother are much more confusing. I feel like I am probably doing a mostly adequate job and based on his assessment from the Health Visitor earlier this week his development is completely normal. However I am utterly dissatisfied with my performance. I don’t think that that will ever change. People have tried to comfort me by telling me that everyone feels the same way and that everyone is just doing an adequate job but I don’t find that at all comforting.  I suppose the entire concept of parenthood plunges me into an existential crisis where I think about how having a child is universally selfish. I had a baby because I wanted one and not because he wanted to be born and no matter what I do I am likely to fill him with all kinds of issues and neuroses and then I wonder if that is fair. I suppose it is too late to worry about that now… but I do dwell on it and have done so more since he turned one. Do other parents think about this kind of stuff?

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All the presents

One thing I am very sure of is that I don’t miss the tiny baby days. It is only now that Little O is older and communicates and plays and has a little independence that I realise what an incredible slog those first few months were at times for me. He is such fun now and I enjoy my time with him much more that when he didn’t really do anything.

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Not everyone was on board with the family selfie

I think I am a very different mum from what I thought I would be. I thought I would approach motherhood in a logical, rather than an emotional way. That’s how most of my life operates. I was very wrong. I didn’t think I would struggle to leave my baby or be utterly crushed by mum guilt at every turn. I guess I just didn’t think I would care so much. I am sometimes terrified by how much I care. Maybe that’s why I feel so inadequate.

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I guess Little O and I have grown together. He has gone from essentially being a blob to being a fully interactive human being. It is unbelievable how much he has changed in such a short period of time. I have gone from someone who felt really competent and quite in control of my life to being someone who has to try and figure things out anew every single day. It has been the most challenging and humbling year of my life. Claiming my survival of this year with sanity (mostly), marriage and baby still alive seems hollow. Almost every woman goes through and gets through this. It doesn’t deserve or require an award or a parade. I am not special. I am glad we are all still here though.

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I think the next year is going to bring a whole new collection of challenges… walking, talking, developing much more independent will… I feel utterly daunted but also excited. Maybe I’ll be better at being a toddler mum. Probably not.

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11 Comments

  1. Despite being married three times I firmly chose to never have children. For some of the reasons you mention above, but also because of issues in my own family that made me concerned about the reasons why people have children (deliberately) in the first place. There have been a few occasions (very few) over the years, where I have sensed that uneasy feeling that nobody will ever call me ‘Daddy’, or look at photos of me when I am dead, or have fond memories of things we did together. But at least for me, I am sure that I made the right decision.
    I have known a lot of Mums in my time, and based on that experience, I have no doubt that you have done a great job so far with your son, and will continue to do so.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Thanks, Pete. I am not sure if I will ever know if I have made the right decision but it is hard to express that in a way that doesn’t suggest that I regret Little O being born or in anyway wish he wasn’t around because that is not true at all. It’s a very complex set of feelings. I wonder sometimes if I should just stop thinking so much and get on with it. Mr O says sometimes living with me is like trying to enter into a daily negotiation with Satre.

  2. Your comments are honest and thought-provoking; thank you for sharing. One thinks being a parent is about instilling knowledge into the little beings as they go through their stages of life, but in fact, children teach the parent how to be wise. You are reflecting on the first year of parenthood. Soon you will reflect on the toddler years, the preschool years, the elementary years, the teenage years. Eventually, you will look back and realize one stage complimented your personality and you will “like” one stage more or less than another. I loved the 5-10- year-old stage the best. Before and after was more of a chore for me. That’s me.
    You have given everything to your son. Naturally, all that selflessness is apt to make you feel fragile and out of control. Your son is lucky to have a dedicated, loving family. Three cheers to you and Mr. O. What you are doing is good enough! If Little O could tell you, he would. 🙂

    1. I sometimes fear that no stage will suit my personality and that I really just don’t have the right personality to raise children at all. It is too late now though and the poor kid is stuck with me.

      1. Mr. O is the perfect partner then to share and lighten the load.

  3. I think you’re a fabulous mum who is doing a wonderful job.

    1. That is very kind of you to say, Vinnie.

      1. It’s the truth, I think you’re doing an amazing job. I don’t know whether I’d be cut out to have kids.

        1. I’ll tell you a secret… I don’t think any of us really are 😉

          1. Then again, I don’t know what the future holds for me.

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