That woman…the one with the huge, protruding bump, so enormous it looks as if it will cause her to topple over. That woman, with the beatific smile and the dreamy look in her eyes. That woman, who has just said to her friend, with a self-assured nonchalance: ‘I know it will be hard but I’m sure it won’t be that bad,’ a remark met by a knowing look, and an unspoken ‘you’ll see.’
That woman….she’s a fool. A fool who told herself lies.
And that fool…was me…..
- ‘It’ll be great having a baby in the summer. I’ll be able to sunbathe whilst the baby sleeps in her pram in the shade’.
Oh how I laugh bitterly at my pre-baby fantasises of a relaxing maternity leave, on a par with a break away. This lie was absolutely absurd on so many levels. Firstly, newborn babies do not sleep. At least not when you want them to. Secondly, take my child outside?! Are you joking?! It took us half the day to make it downstairs, a venture into the garden is completely beyond us. And even in the shade, my precious daughter is far too close to the perils of the sun – she’s best off right beside me, safely tucked away in the house where I can spend every waking moment keeping a beady eye on her. Besides, it’s pouring down with rain, as it does every year during our short window of ‘summer.’
- ‘Once we get her into a routine, after a couple of weeks….’
Routine? A couple of weeks? The level of delusion I was operating under was overwhelming.
- ‘I know baby’s nappies are pretty horrible but surely they can’t be that bad’.
Anyone who has experienced a teething induced nappy explosion which has necessitated an immediate bath knows that yes, they are that bad. And yes, it is incredible that someone that small and cute can produce a stench so horrific that it assaults your nasal passage with such ferocity that it makes your eyes water. They aren’t that bad. They are worse.
- ‘We’ll have a date night once a month and leave the baby with a family member’.
This would have worked beautifully were it not for a few extenuating conditions, including a complete unwillingness to leave my child with anyone else for the first few months. Then finally, when we eventually did get out for our first post-baby dinner, one glass of wine had me tumbling down in my chair, longing for my bed with a heartfelt yearning, and no desire to repeat the experience for a good year or two at least.
- ‘The house won’t be that messy. I’m not going to let it turn into a pig sty just because we have a child’.
My house is constantly in disarray. Toys are found in the most obscure of places, crumbs are in every crevice and a milk trail runs through the house as if a snail has been on the rampage. The best way to deal with it is not to attempt to tackle the mountain of mess, rather to just leave my glasses off. Things don’t look so bad when viewed through a blurry fog.
- ‘I’m going to be a strict parent. She’ll know who the boss is’.
‘What’s that darling? You want my phone. Here you go sweetheart. Yes, you’re right, it does make a very loud noise when banged against the door. Better give it to mummy though….yes, darling…give it to mummy – whoops! Oh no, you’ve broken it instead. Oh please don’t cry, I know you’re upset that mummy’s phone, I mean, your new toy, is broken. Oh don’t cry, here, have a chocolate button….’ (which leads me on to)
- My child won’t eat rubbish. It’s healthy stuff all the way.
I’ll be honest, there weren’t a lot of health giving properties in the crisps that I allowed my daughter to eat that morning at the airport when, brow beaten, I finally gave into her demands for the most unusual of brunches. And to be honest, the only fruit that might have been found had been squashed and fermented into my pre-flight glass of wine (I’m far from the best at flying.)
But, there was one truth I did tell myself.
- Everything will be ok.
I’ve got this.