Life has a funny way of changing your perspective on things. For us, the idea of our family tree spreading didn’t start with that giggle and jiggle under the sheets. The drawn-out two-year conversation about whether it was the right time to start a family, hung like a cloud over us as we thrashed out the whys, the ifs and the buts. It was a long process. It’s the old story of I wanted kids, he wasn’t sure, I pushed the issue, he pushed back, and I won in the end.
It’s possible I should start off by the saying that you should really enjoy the baby making sessions because there may come a time when squeezing in more than a thirty second smooch becomes tedious. But that may put you off the idea of having kids and what would be the point of that. Let it be known, sex as a parent is both limited and glorious for all the obvious reasons. But when is the right time to add a baby to your daily grind?
My recovery was a long eighteen months combining so many actions on a daily basis to keep my head flying higher than the flamingo. What did I do?
I was once asked, on the radio no less to thousands of listeners, to describe what anxiety feels like. Where do you start? Anxiety isn’t simply a nervousness that makes you indecisive. I’m sure I’ll list off how I was feeling and any woman who has suffered will nod in agreement. It’s painful, physically painful. There is nausea, headaches and dizzy spells aside from the mental overload. It feels hopeless and it can pass before it hits you hard again. The lull and low of anxiety didn’t affect me all the time but it sure did like to linger and attack quickly.
Something transpired out of motherhood, rising from the ashes like a giant pink flamingo. It probably began earlier than I care to admit, but a few weeks after Devin was born, my focus was gone, my routine and schedule, all fragmented and I suddenly felt this overwhelming urge to blow up. It was less to do with the fact that we had a five-week-old baby and more to do with the extreme possibility I was suffering from intense postnatal anxiety and depression.
There are days, quite a lot of them, when I don’t feel like the adult in this Momma Bear, Baby Bear scenario. Allegra crept up to me one afternoon and wrapped her dainty arms around my legs and hugged me hard. The little mite, in her tiny years and few short feet, has grown up so much but still so desperately needs her Momma’s hugs. And I hope she always will. In that instant, as her arms squeezed me tight, I thought, dammit I needed that. I needed that hug. And I also thought, dammit I’m the Mum.
Are we ever truly ready to have kids? Like really, really ready? Mentally, that is. Are we mentally prepared for the noise, the chaos the lack of time, the constant worrying about money and how we’ll get the first kid through college, let alone the rest? When do we know we’re ready to become a parent? Is there a moment when life just hits you? Like a flashof lightening that sparks the realisation in you. Do we wake up one morning and think ‘I’m ready for this’ or is that our biological clock kicking us in the rear end? Is it something we think we’re ready for, only to then worry whether we actually are ready when it’s too late and baby is cooking nicely in the oven?
I’ve had some incredibly mixed emotions lately. Little Bean is almost one and I can’t help but think back over the year it’s been. It’s been good but it’s also been bad. And those bad days are standing out more. But I am ending today focusing on Little Bean and her big sister because while the year has been a challenge, guess what, we got through it.
It’s one of the first worries most parents who are expecting number two have. It was something I often thought about but brushed it aside considering my sister has four kids and seems to manage with balancing four personalities. But lately the sting of the reality of caring for a baby alongside a four year old has crept in. The last few weeks, as I look at the curls lengthening on Little Missus’ head, I wonder if she’s losing out as Little Bean demands more attention. I truly feel outnumbered and underpowered.