After Moo was born, I didn’t venture out for weeks. The only trips outside the house were to the doctors for crazy pills with my husband or mum. I just couldn’t face seeing anyone. Listening to the constant ‘oh she’s beautiful, you must be so happy, how was the birth blah blah’. I didn’t think she was beautiful. I was regretting having her, wishing I could turn back time and ‘undo’ her. I wasn’t happy, I was desperately upset and frightened. My birth was horrific. I didn’t want to tell people, or force smiles. And leaving the house was a military operation. Bottles of expressed milk with a 6 hour window. Bottles of formula with a two hour window. Formula, a flask of hot water. I had to time trips out around pumping sessions. The health visiting team were keen to get me out and about, and I knew I’d have to do it. For Moo and for my sanity. I didn’t want her to live the life of a recluse. I wanted to be the Mum I’d dreamed of being. Trips to the swings, feeding the ducks, walks by the sea.
When Moo was twelve weeks old I braved it. I’d met a woman that I’d known at primary school a few weeks previously. We’d begun chatting online as our babies were due around the same time. She had been inviting me to meet her for weeks, and I always found excuses. I was busy with Moo, my husband and I had plans, maybe next week. But that one week my husband convinced me to meet her and take Moo to be weighed. He would walk with me to the clinic. Then he’d leave me to go for coffee. I said goodbye to my husband with a lump in my throat and my heart fluttering with anxiety. I walked into the cafe, saw a group of smiling faces, and have never looked back.
My ‘mummy’ friends are a wonderful group of supportive, inspiring, caring, honest women. We all parent differently. Breast feeding, formula, cloth nappies, disposables, sleep training, co sleeping, we’re such a mixture. But yet it works. And it works so well. Our children love each other dearly. Moo will often ask to see them, or be chattering away to herself, saying their names to her toys. They scream at each other over who will push the dolls pram, throw balls for each other and even hold hands on the way home from soft play. They’re always there to conquer the boredom that sometimes descends after several days stuck in the house with only a toddler to talk to. There are only so many towers you can build before claustrophobia sets in. They’re always there with a sweet text message, an invite to a girls night out and there’s plenty of in jokes and banter. We’re not just sharing our parenting journeys, we’ve become true friends, friends I hope to keep for life.
Thank you to Kelly for this beautiful quote. And thank you to the mothers of the Babies Of 2011, for the coffee, the cake and the love.