This blog is about having children at a young age. It might come as a shock to some but I am 25 years old at the time of writing this. I was 22 when I gave birth to Cadence and turned 25 the same month I gave birth to Asher. I hope you enjoy.
I haven't travelled the world yet. But I journeyed to the edge of the universe when I gave birth to you.
I see pictures of people with hearts still inside their bodies and wonder how they boarded planes or clambered rocks or swam in oceans without a tiny hand to hold.
Some of the people in my life put on high heels and go out into the world. We stay here, in our own world. A world without lunch breaks or much adult interaction. I spend my days with you within these four walls, so privileged to call my home "your home; our home". We spend time in nature. We spend time in libraries. We spend time at playgrounds. We spend time.
I pack your toys away where my magazines once lived; the magazines that sold a different life.
My old clothes are no longer worn due to the impossibility of offering my breast to you.
My body, the temple that loved you to fruition, is different. I stand proud and slightly softer, both in body and mind, as I watch you, a piece of me. I watch you experience the world with the eyes, brain, lungs, heart and feet that I created.
My work is sometimes invisible. My work happens around you. My work interrupts our play. My work is important. But not important enough that I would trade a tidy house for another game of doctors or story.
I don't sleep.
I think back to my former self, the person I was before you. She was magic. And I am still magic. But she didn't know.
I am watching you and you are watching me and I know that you know. You know that I am learning still. You are patient with me as you teach and guide through this season of my life, our life.
We aren't watching the time. The time is just fading. There is no plan. There is no waiting. Because you were always the plan. You're already here. Now, we have an entire lifetime together. But it's not long enough.
I am thankful that you came to me at a young age. I am thankful that you chose me at a time when I thought I wasn't ready for you. I am thankful that my life took a path where I am able to walk it with you.
"You idiot", they said. "Was it planned?" they asked. I found myself holding you closer to me, sucking my belly in, my cheeks a rosy red of shame.
The moment I did this though was the moment I was denying myself the power of you. It was the moment I decided I would never be ashamed of you, even when you tell everyone at the supermarket about your runny bum from last week. I say this with my tongue in my cheek. There is no exception.
My children, I am blessed to have such a title for you. But it doesn't do you justice. My angels, my soulmates, my loves: thank you for being here in this life with me, this very second. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In gratitude, your mama. X
Welcome to the September edition of The Postnatal Project Q&A. Here, I answer two questions a month related to parenting, sleep, breastfeeding, postnatal depression and everything in between. If you'd like your question answered, get in touch via the contact page.
Just a reminder that this post does not replace medical advice.
If I can help other people to feel happier and more confident in caring for their children in the way they feel best suits them then I've achieved my goal.
The media lately (and some practitioners themselves) attach it to pain free, drug free, intervention free ‘natural’ birth. And whilst in some cases that may well be what it looks like, often it’s not.
I wanted to give encouragement and speak the unspeakable.
Welcome to the August edition of The Postnatal Project Q&A. Here, I answer two questions a month related to parenting, sleep, breastfeeding, postnatal depression and everything in between. If you'd like your question answered, get in touch via the contact page.
This is a hard one to begin. Part of me wants to lay it on the table for context. And the other part of me wants to leave this version of my life untouched. It's like putting your feet in the ocean. The more you kick around, the murkier the water gets and the harder it seems to see every other aspect of your life clearly. And it stings.
The only thing I have in common with my father is the memories we share before being his daughter got hard. He could be reading this - I don't know. He could know I have a second child - I'm not sure. Did I tell him I graduated uni? I can't remember. I wonder if he'll notice my married name.
If you search Google for "newborn checklist" or "things to buy for baby" you'll likely come up with a list a mile long. It can feel really overwhelming to be planning to give birth and bringing a new person into the world but sometimes I feel like more emphasis is placed on the nursery than on the entire lifestyle shift that occurs. It's extra pressure you do not need.
I'll make a point now that personalised name decor, wall decals, matching side tables and trinkets are lovely but absolutely unnecessary. Instagram and Pinterest show these divine nurseries that make your ovaries ache. But I think time and money could be better spent and it can perpetuates the idea that motherhood is this pristine and glorified interior design job for some. Some people enjoy this kind of thing and I'm a sucker for wooden toys and lovely books but it's not something you need to focus on or feel pressured by if you'd rather not. You do you. You're not any less of a mother if your nursery is plainer than anothers'.
I am a firm believer in any birth having the ability to be empowering. Natural vaginal birth, medicated vaginal birth, elective caesarean, emergency caesarean, caesarean under general anaesthetic - and everything else in between.
But I didn't always feel this way. I did a Hypnobirthing course and thought that made me some sort of birth goddess with no limits. And it did in a way.
I didn't write a caesarean birth plan. I didn't know what happened during this procedure nor what my options were during it. I didn't pack any high waisted underwear or any appropriate clothing.
I thought birth just happened. I thought that everything always went smoothly if you could just get through the pain. I thought the rate of caesareans was low. I thought all medical professionals believed in a woman's body and ability to birth. I'm no longer so naive.
I'm no longer so naive.