Sunday 8 September 2013

"You're worth it, love".

Based on diary extract 23/03/11 (Albie 2 months)

My mum used to try and warn me when I was a teenager of how hard it is to have children. This would inevitably lead to a discussion about various negative post-natal body changes (which at the time seemed far worse to me than a baby crying several times a night). Not that my mum ever thought I was trying to get pregnant at the age of 16, but I guess there's always that worry in every parent's head that their children will decide to take on parenting that little bit too soon and, well, 'wreck' their lives. I think she put me off that little bit too much because I still remember those discussions decades later and it took a lot for me to decide to have a child and risk the inevitable stretch marks. She did, however, always end our discussions with 'you're worth it though, love'.
Years later, during my pregnancy, I would look in front of the mirror and see my belly getting bigger and bigger. I actually liked it - like a perverse infatuation with what my body was capable of (in this instance, looking like some sort of giant butternut squash with little legs peeking out the bottom). I found the whole experience funny, like it was some sort of game. Admittedly I was very blessed with good hormones during my pregnancy and what would normally have freaked me out I took in my stride, albeit a very clumsy one. I was very very lucky to have had such a good pregnancy, and maybe it was fitting that I should have such a horrible birth to compensate all those ladies cursing me with their morning sickness, like some sort of sick karma. Yes, that's really how I think sometimes.
Don't worry, I won't go into the birth story again, but it took everything out of me. For the first time in my life I wanted to die, call me pathetic but it's true. I felt a mixture of disappointment, pain, frustration and then the joy of seeing my baby for the first time. I've been through a mix of emotions and I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I'm no good on no sleep. I've battled with a change of identity, feelings of failure and guilt and even anger. I feel like I sometimes can't cope, especially when I don't know why he's crying. I hate feeding him. To top it off I have a little pot belly.
I've had serious doubts as to whether I should've had children. Don't get me wrong, I have felt a special bond with Albie from day one - a love like no other - but it's almost been too much for me to cope with. I think that maybe he should've been born to a stronger woman, to someone more capable. That feeling of it all being worth it was so far removed for me.
Today, however, Albie has been on particularly good form (always helps) and he smiled at me all day. Neil and I took him out for lunch and he was as good as gold as we sat outside the cafe and had a bite to eat in the glorious sunshine. I suddenly felt incredibly blessed - it finally hit me like a tonne of bricks.  I felt lucky to have this little person in my life, this little monkey was worth it. Yes, he is. For the first time in two months I picked him up and honestly said 'You're worth it, love.'