“I don’t have time to write.”
Hmm, I say this, yet every night (as the people around me might have heard me mentioning once or twice before… ) I’m trapped in bed feeding Joseph to sleep for a least an hour – So really I should utilise this time better; rather than scrolling through Instagram, looking at cool mums or loosing at candy crush, to write.
Tonight is no exception. I have now been boobing my greedy 6 and a half month old for 48 minutes and yet still, his little eyes flick open the second I try to stealthy roll him onto the bed and escape for a cup of tea and possibly a whole pack of chocolate digestives.
Two things to address here;
Firstly, at nearly 7 months old, yes my baby still sleeps in my bed. I thought it would be different too – I thought the beautiful, neglected Moses basket was a one off.. but it turns out Joseph just loves sleeping on my chest, nipple in mouth, sweating like a micro pig all over me.. what you gonna do.
I guess I can’t blame him too much as our life is a bit “up in the air” what with moving from Bristol and now finding ourselves in between my parents and Fergus’ parents – he doesn’t really have a set bed as such.. And to tell you the truth I kind of love sleeping with him. There really is nothing better than falling asleep, nose to nose with your baby all cuddled up in the crook of your arm (it does mean I don’t really sleep properly but it’s a small sacrifice to make; one day he will be 16 and I won’t even get a hello from him, so I’m clinging onto these moments with both hands!)
Of course once were settled in Scotland in the next few months he will ideally be in his cot as I think Fergus is probably a bit tired of being ignored or booted out of bed all together..
I’m also looking forward to no longer having this conversation:
“Your baby sleeps with you?”
“What.. In your bed…?”
“Yes most of the time”
“Oh my god! Aren’t you scared you’ll squash your baby?!”
Really?? I’ve never squashed my boyfriend in bed, let alone touched him (unwittingly) without knowing it, I don’t see how I could roll and squash my own child.. Particularly because what parent to a newborn really sleeps?? And I mean that real, glorious, deep sleep of dreams (the sleep that might make you an unconscious killing machine?) you know that peaceful, impenetrable sleep of your carefree twenty-something year old former self, who’s biggest concern was what colour to pain her toenails? That’s the sleep I can now only fantasies about.. *sigh*
I think I get funny about it because I hear so much negativity when it comes to co-sleeping and I’m not some activist for it, Im literally just shit at putting my baby to bed – there I’ve said it. Plus, I do not know how other mums get up (like physically UP) in the middle of the night, and sit in a chair feeding their baby?! How do they ever end up sleeping?! I guess with bottle feeding it’s slightly different as your up anyway, but the beauty of co-sleeping and breastfeeding is Joseph pretty much helps himself.. (bit odd I know) but it saves me fully waking up and having to be alert serval times during the night. So although my sleep in general may not be as sound, I feel I get more sleep on the whole. Plus to me it just feels natural – although… I categorically will not be having a two year old still star fishing all up in my super King. It’s not happening. That is not natural.
Secondly, I am still eating as if pregnant/perhaps more, as Joseph is still breastfeeding for pretty much half the day and therefore my energy is pretty much always zapped. I did have visions of by the time Joseph was at least 6 months old, of juicing and running and yoga… but to be honest, toast makes up about 60% of my diet, I can’t be arsed to run and i don’t have time for yoga.
I’ve been quite lucky in that my body has pretty much gone back to how it was before I was pregnant (with the added additions of crepe paper tummy and saggy dog ear boobs) but I still feel I should be doing more to keep fit and looking after myself now that im a mother (doing more than eating a whole tub of Hagen daz in one sitting, weekly, by myself – Bridget Jones anyone?) Again Scotland is when Ive told myself that I will actually make an effort to exercise and eat like a grown up.. Watch this space.
So where was I?
Joseph is growing up so fast. I know everyone says it, but everyone says it because no one can escape it; your baby will not be a baby for long.
Joseph already stands up the majority of the time and has been trying to walk for the last month, he wants to feed himself and is eating real food by the bucket. Every little thing he learns is so amazing but also is a sign of him getting that little bit more independent and grown up.. So it’s mixed emotions constantly; proud and heartbreak all at once.
It’s amazing how quickly your life adjusts to having a baby though – I run perfectly on at least half the sleep I used to have (I say perfectly… I am prone to mood swings and require a lot more coffee) and I can’t even imagine my life before feeds and changes and playing; I can’t imagine how I was ever happy.
One thing that is hard to adjust though is yourself as a person. I’ve said it before; it’s hard being Hollie and mum and getting the balance of the two – I’m so utterly absorbed in Joseph that it’s often hard to remember what else there is around me. Before the baby, my main hobby (sadly enough!) was drinking; I would go out all weekend long with my friends, get shit faced and party. But now I can’t do that, it’s like there’s a space I need to fill – a hobby I need that actually requires skill or thinking or interest and since a lot of my time and effort is taken up with Joseph, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of resources left for this new space that I need to fill to feel more human.
It’s also hard because this hobby defecit has made me question what skills and interests I do stil have.. And finding out there isn’t many I can remember is rather eye opening – I have spent the last few months thinking “what can I actually still do??” And having drawn a few blanks, it’s actually forced me to look outside the box for the first time in ages which is really quite exciting.
I think this is why some women get addicted to having babies; it’s so consuming that it keeps you from thinking about yourself too much.. And thinking about yourself in an entirely new way after having kids can be daunting; so by busying yourself constantly with the newborn haze you never have the space to fill with yourself as they grow apart from you.
Has anyone else experienced this though?
The “mum void” left behind from something you can no longer do now you have a baby? Or this feeling or starting a fresh once you’ve had a baby with a whole new perspective on life?
For me, one of the hardest parts of this crazy six months, is sitting round a table with friends or family and finding that if we’re not talking about Joseph, I can’t contribute, as my mind is so crammed full of him; I rarely watch tv or read a news paper as I simply don’t have time, so It’s that feeling of being a few paces behind or out of the loop bit also, the worry of becoming a baby bore?
I however, challenge anyone whose had a baby, not to be a baby bore and to flood their Facebook with cliche pictures of their baby’s first smile or find themselves describing, in detail, the contents of their child’s nappy to an almost perfect stranger in lidl over the canned prunes; it’s almost unavoidable.
So while having “me time” is so important, like I say, looking for a new hobby has got me very excited about projects that just wouldn’t have crossed my mind before being a mum, I also say embrace the baby bore – be around people who want to know exactly how much of a banana your child ate for breakfast, hang out with people who are interested in mastitis and talk about how many times your baby burps a day, because these simple days go so fast and soon, in your deep and peaceful sleep, you will be dreaming of a time when your baby still called out for your love at 3am, wishing for them back.