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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.