Being a mother is the hardest thing Iíve ever done, and Iíve been president of a charity and had to deal with bureaucracy and red tape! It has been made even harder by my partnerís psychotic breakdown and my own subsequent mental health decline.
As it stands, Iím on the waiting list to access a specialised mental health unit for mothers and babies because my mental health suffered so much from what Iíve been through since Bub was born, and I am only coping at all because my parents stepped in to help out.
If this was any other ďjobĒ, Iíd have quit by now. Itís very demanding, Iím sleep-deprived, stressed and struggling. No amount of pay would convince me to continue working under these conditions. So why do I keep going? Why donít I quit?
Burps and giggles are why.
No matter how hard it gets, no matter how tired I am, no matter how much I struggle, Little C makes it worthwhile. He will be unsettled and crying and going bright red, and then Iíll meet his need (bottle, nappy, cuddles) and suddenly heíll burp and let out a massive toothless grin and giggle, and suddenly everything is okay.
I was in the shop with him today, buying nappies, and my partner suddenly vanished and left me with two big boxes of nappies. I tried my best to fit at least one onto the pram, but it wasnít working no matter what I tried. I couldnít carry both and push the pram as well, and I was getting frustrated, anxious and stressed.
And then I looked in the pram to check on Little C and he gurgled and grinned so wide that I fell in love all over again. That grin is irresistible! So I pulled a face at him and poked out my tongue and he grinned and poked his tongue out, and his smile reached his eyes and he did that bouncy little arm and leg toss they do when theyíre really happy. For a moment, nothing else mattered except that little human in the pram who was enjoying a special moment with his Mummy.
Why do I do it? Why does any parent do it?
We do it because we love them, and no amount of crying can ever take away those beautiful moments when they simply delight in being around us.
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.