The first month after giving birth, I was quite sure G would be an only child. The day she turned one month old, I sat breastfeeding her with tears running down my cheeks because things were just too hard. The next day I probably smiled. I don’t remember. Right now, I am ready for more children, but tomorrow? Who knows?
I searched for soul mates and found one in a friend of mine who was honest and straightforward. I searched for more but didn’t – couldn’t – find them. It seemed my friends had had the easiest of babies. One was good enough to tell me that things had probably been tough in the beginning but she had since forgotten. It warmed me a little but everything soon turned cold around me again.
I will continue to write this sentence: I never believed motherhood would be easy. I never did. I promise. But in so many ways it has surprised me.
I am all alone. I am the only one with a child that sleeps too little, needs help to be breastfed, cries at night for no reason. I tell myself this over and over again. One evening I tell J that I think it is fair to say we haven’t got the easiest baby. He looks at me and asks what good saying that will do us? We fight because I need to say it and he needs me to not say that kind of thing. The next day she is an angel.
I am scared shitless about attending the wedding of a couple of our really good friends. Scared because she juggled a three month old perfectly at our wedding last year and scared because our only other venture out into the real world has been a birthday party which we left early due to incosolable baby girl (ours). But G behaves her best. She won’t sleep while we toast the couple, find our seats and eat the starter, but as soon as the buffet is on the table, she’s out. Six hours. I dance with my husband, the bride, the groom. I don’t drink a sip of alcohol, but I feel as if I am at a party and I am having fun. Sunday is a fight, but who cares when Saturday was bubbly like a glass of champagne?
Every Monday I sit with five other mothers I didn’t know five weeks ago. Mother group they call it. At first, the only thing we had in common was having had children around the same time. Our children’s birthdays, the fact that it is our first babies and the part of town we have chosen to live in is what has brought us together. We were asked if we wanted to join, and we all said yes whispering to ourselves that it would be okay to quit should the others turn out to be people we didn’t get along with. So far we are still together. Getting along. We talk and share our experiences. Five weeks after our first meeting I dare to ask if any of them have felt as I have: This is too hard, this will be the only one I ever have. They all have. And just like that, question by question, we learn that we have things in common. We might never meet up for lunch without our kids. We might not see each other again once maternity leave is over and our kids are in day care, but right now we have something in common, something which brings us together.
I started school when I was six and I left university when I was 26. I feel as if I have learned more, seen more, these past two months than I did during those 20 years. Every day feels like driving around a country whose infra structure has not yet been thought through. It is a bumpy road. It is up and down and driving way too fast for my liking and turning corners when you would much rather just go ahead. But the view, the view is so great. And the people I get to ride with in the car, those people are so great. We fight, we cry, but we have so much together – laughs, smiles, naps, kisses, love – and all of that makes it all worth it. All worth it – even if tomorrow is bumpier than anything we have seen yet.