I've wanted to do this sort of post for a little while for so many reasons. Because when it comes to the topic of having children, there is a lot of advice out there about 'what should be', 'what needs to be' and often forgotten in the process is the story of 'what actually is'. This week, I am so incredibly honoured to be sharing a few of those stories with you here :
Clio : Last night my toddler woke up around 10.30 pm. He banged on his door and I groaned as I hauled myself off the couch and got into bed beside him to try and coax him back to sleep. He sat up, and told me in a loud and clear and very awake sounding voice about the planes he saw on the beach that day. He’d been to the Bray Airshow and was recounting it all – in one word sentences albeit – to me for a second time. It clearly made an impact. He lay back down and thankfully a few minutes later was back to sleep. It was one of those moments where I felt the true weight and love and wonder at my role as this boy’s mother. He had a big day (those planes were loud and he got a fright) and he needed to talk about it a little more before falling back asleep.
My boyfriend and I were 23 when we found ourselves expecting a baby. The timing was less than ideal. We weren’t well established in our careers. We were barely out of college. We were just finishing up a year in the Bay Area and didn’t have anywhere to live back home. We had feck-all savings at the time and no friends with children of their own. So yes, we were young. But we were not naive. I transitioned pretty naturally from babysitter to mama myself. We had no set routine or years of ‘independent living’ to be destroyed by a howling newborn. We just buckled down.
Having babies is the one thing I have always known I would do. I feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful teammate and partner in crime as young as I have. It’s not easy but we generally have each others backs and just get down to it. The whole ohmygodwerehavingababyholyshit situation was no different.
Tadhg was born in April of 2016. We were 24 and together 7 years. The first two weeks were some of the hardest of my entire life. It was emotionally and physically draining. The baby was amazing, he was perfect and beautiful and gained weight like no tomorrow. But breastfeeding was hard and recovering from birth much more difficult than I anticipated. They say that you forget all the trauma and the pain in the sweet scented newborn fog but I 100% call bullshit on this. I can remember it all. I can still recall the visceral, toe-curling, stitches clenching, moments. Those moments are real and true and unforgettable but they are vastly overshadowed by the good stuff; the laughter, milky grins and midnight cuddles, the milestones, first words, and the rediscovery of the whole world through our child’s eyes. I haven’t forgotten any of the pain but I will attest that it was 100% worth it and I would do it again and again and again for him. I likely will. Parenting is a heady mix of painful heartache and joyful heartache. I regularly feel the weight of responsibility not only for providing for this kiddo, but for nourishing his spirit and helping him walk through life with a sense of purpose and dignity and fairness and very well-checked privilege.
I still find it weird when I am referred to as ‘mummy’. I definitely identify as Tadhg’s parent, I love when he calls me ‘mama’, but I am so much more than that. In the two years since he was born I have grown in immeasurable ways in my work, life and relationship. I am so proud of the family we have built and the ways in which we are figuring things out and making our own way. There is so much crap out there geared at women and mothers and I wish more was made of parenting and parenthood. If my boyfriend had been in a position to take six months off work after me to care for our son it would have a profound effect on our relationship and family as a whole. It’s something I hope we will be able to do in the future.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong time to be a parent. I genuinely believe that we are the best parents for our kid. There is no right way to do anything – despite what every single article on the internet will tell you– if you and your baby are happy and healthy and safe then that is all that matters. If your baby sleeps in your bed attached to your boob all night go you, if she sleeps in her cot from 7–7 wahey, and if he bangs on the door to talk planes at 10.45pm, listen and cross your fingers he’ll soon fall back to sleep.
...Thank you to the bright talent that is Clio for allowing me to share your words here x.
ps. This series is for you mama-to-be, mama-in-wait, not even thinking about it or independent woman- wherever you may be on your journey, whatever it is that you are facing, you are not alone. Sending you an enormous amount of love xo