Wednesday, 4 December 2013


Writing this latest blog has been a real strugge. Nearly a fortnight has passed during which I have half composed several entries but scrapped every one. Nothing has felt right. The words have refused to flow. A touch of writers block perhaps? 

I tried listing my daily itinerary and scaffolding some observations of daily life on top. This merely came over as a pathetic 'poor me' bleat, for it is impossible to convey the fullness of a day spent in the company of your nine week old baby. It may be an impressively repetitive list of tasks but it is the spaces between the tasks that are so difficult to convey. The niggling cry that interrupts the morning nap and which effectively ensures you can't get anything done. The extensive burping session after a tricky feed that bleeds into two hours. The afternoon walk that you left too late and which ends in you running the half mile home with a bawling banshee in the pram.   

So I have decided to come clean about how I'm really feeling at the moment. Crushingly, brutally tired. The cumulative effect of never sleeping more than four hours at any time is starting to take its toll. I worry that I haven’t had proper REM sleep for weeks, and that the exhaustion is drying up my creative juices like a drought in the desert. Until now I have powered through, refusing to surrender to the despotic routine of the baby. The tiny tyrant who dictates the ebb and flow of each day and night. Whose needs are so vast and so urgent, whose moods are so unpredictable. 

What have I learnt in the past ten days that I can communicate to you, my dear reader? I have learnt that motherhood is relentless. Overwhelming. It demands 100% and nothing less; for you cannot half feed your baby. You cannot half comfort them or half dress them or half love them. It is all-consuming, impenetrable, stifling, and yet wonderful, rewarding and incomparable. It is unique and cannot be explained, cannot be taught. It can only be learnt through cold hard experience and trial and error. You earn your mothering stripes through graft alone, and though you can be supported no one else can do the job for you. You alone are the mother. You are the centre of your baby’s universe and therefore must be their sun and their moon. There is no shortcut, no substitute, no 30 day return policy. There is simply a long and sometimes cruel road, one with plenty of blind corners and hairpin bends that test the mettle of even the most diligent driver. There are potholes aplenty and never a hard shoulder to pull onto when you really need one. There are sheer drops and excruciating hills and endless irritating bumps. And yet the views are magnificent. Life-affirming. Unsurpassed. Only a mother sees the whole view, and in her heart of hearts she nurses the secret truth; that she would never exchange the journey for anything else the world can offer.

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