Oh dear I’ve been away for a good few weeks again. I didn't mean to be gone for so long, and I had such good intentions when I started writing this blog to post weekly but that quite quickly went out the window. It turns out there’s still so much going on with lockdown life, owning a small business with new restrictions to implement every other week, and also my baby turned 1. He turned 1! I can’t quite believe it. So apologies for the absence, if anyone is even reading this at all...I might just be speaking into a void. I will try and be better. No promises though. Life is pretty crazy at the moment.
Anyway here we are talking about turning 1. Whilst this blog will go back and continue talking about those early postnatal days, specifically from where we left off, I just need to take some time to reflect on my son turning 1. Lots of people asked me if I was feeling super emotional about him turning 1 in the lead up to it and I wasn’t really, until a few days before. Then suddenly it hit me. Not so much about him actually turning 1, although that in itself feels mad and like time has flown by at a ridiculously fast-paced rate, but actually more about how much has changed in a year. Not even specifically with my son himself, even though so much obviously has changed with him, but everything else. Because what a strange year it has been. As a family we’ve struggled with our small business to survive an unprecedented worldwide pandemic crisis, missed loved ones, lost loved ones and been reunited with our friends and family again after months unable to see them and sadly there’s a very loved person we won’t ever get to see again. I've been personally navigating an awful lot in the past year and hadn't really taken the time to reflect or process a lot of it. And all of a sudden the emotions came flooding in. It’s been a lot this past year, let alone welcoming a baby to this mad world too.
I also found him turning 1 a little...I’m not the biggest fan of the word itself but; 'triggering'. The anniversary of 1 year since it all began threw me back to really remembering how I felt in those early days, weeks and months and how much time, energy and purpose I lost to postnatal anxiety and depression. I know I talk about it a lot but this is literally what this space is for, for me and for reflecting back on my experiences and sharing them in the hope they might help someone, even just one person, feel a little less alone and confused then I did. But that doesn’t make sharing those experiences any less difficult and the anniversary of my sons birth, and therefore the anniversary of the start of those emotions and experiences was a little challenging for me. More so than I anticipated anyway. It brought it all flooding back, however, that being said, I am now so much more happy and content in myself as a Mum that I was able to use that to push away those encroaching negative feelings that like to try and sneak back in.
I mean I still don’t really know what I’m doing, it still feels like I’m absolutely winging it daily, but I know that’s how parents feel. No one gives you a manual! Now I’m more comfortable and confident in my choices, my abilities, my parenting, in a way I never thought I would feel at the beginning. I still have good and bad days, like I think all parents do, and sometimes that nasty little anxiety voice starts to creep back in but I look at my son and how much he's grown, how well he's doing and how happy my wonderful little family is and I can bat away the negatives. It also helps MASSIVELY that he now sleeps through the night and doesn't need to be held to nap in the day anymore. That was a game changer!
I'm still processing the year anniversary even now, a few weeks after it's passed by. When the wrapping papers all gone, the new toys are mixed in with the old and the cards still stand on the shelves. I don't know when I might fully process it. Even tonight as I sat and gave my son his bottle before bed I couldn't help but think back to that exhausted, confused and anxious women who felt totally lost and in over her head that I was a year ago. I couldn't help but compare how different my days and nights are to now, how much they've improved and how much I've improved. Maybe I need to celebrate myself a little more. Because it might be the anniversary of our children's birth but it's also the anniversary of a life-changing, monumental shift and change in our lives...and we did quite a lot of the work to make it happen!
Whether your baby is brand new, a few weeks or even days old, and you might be reading this disbelieving that it does get better and easier (because it REALLY does please please believe me), or your baby has just had a birthday or whether your children are older and you're thinking back on this time fondly; please celebrate yourselves. Because however old or young our children are it's hard work and we deserve to remind ourselves that we're doing great. Now I'm going to go and pour myself a well-deserved glass of wine and raise a toast to all parents, young and old, new and more experienced, because you're all doing a bloody great job and we should celebrate ourselves more.