A package came today. When the postman rang I rushed to the window. 'Top Flat?' I called out. 'Yes love' he replied 'Shall I leave it on the doorstep?' Still dressed in pyjamas I hurried downstairs and ripped open the plastic. Yellow Wellies! This was my treat to myself - a welcome to motherhood essential - and I was as excited as a child. I pulled them on and pranced round the flat. Perfect. Muddy parks and puddles here I come.
Yellow. The colour of sunshine, of fishermen's waterproofs, of the cheese moon of childhood. An obvious colour
choice I thought for an item that suddenly seemed to represent a rubber
umbilical cord connecting me from my own childhood to my new status as a mother. And
just like the red shoes that made you dance as I slipped on my new wellies I
felt myself becoming more of a mummy. I have rubber boot therefore I am.
And so this blog was born...an online
journal of my journey into the heart of modern motherhood. My resolutions are thus: I will pull no punches, I
will take no prisoners, I will seek to lay bare the myths and booby
traps as I find them. I will report honestly on the agony of childbirth and
I will not sugar coat my experience. On the other hand I hope to communicate
the joy and wonder of being a new mother. The inexpressible beauty of your
newborn child. The unbelievable softness of their skin and downy hair. The
melting sweetness of their sleepy body. The miracle of breast feeding, of
holding your infant to you and feeding them from something that previously
has been merely ornamental. And yet the panic that their frenzied cry evokes.
The terrifying fury that rages in their tiny body when you are
still too new to each other to know if it is hunger or pain or sheer
I never thought 2013 would turn out the
way it has. I have experienced crushing lows and professional humiliation, all the worse for being completely unexpected. Losing my new job in the same week as discovering I was pregnant was a true test of mettle, and for some time I felt buried alive. I felt my established identity; gallerist, gymnast, happy-go-lucky girl ebb away, replaced by a thousand question marks. A birthday slid past like stray dog, unwanted and unloved, and during the darkest time of the year I felt myself slipping into a depression. My overriding feeling towards being pregnant was at best ambivalence, at worst unalloyed panic. I announced it reluctantly and to very few. I felt nothing; a black hole had opened up in my life and sucked me inside. The foetus sapped what energy I had and left me drained and deflated. And then, at last, green shoots began to appear on bare branches. The smell of spring, that unmistakable, irrepressible scent of sap rising and grass growing wafted into my lungs, and I breathed deep of life. As the days lengthened and the sun showed its great golden face I became focused on my slowly rounding belly. Piece by piece I slotted my life back together, and as spring morphed into summer and the baby grew inside me I rediscovered my zest for for life. I was whole again.
Nine months and many moons later, I find myself giving 'full time mother' as my occupation when we go
to register the birth, and I am startled by the pride I feel. Full time mother.
Me! ‘An ordinary devoted mother’ to quote Donald Winnicott, and I am
unutterably proud to call myself one.