Motherhood can be lonely. Especially the first time.
When you don’t know anything much, and you’re overwhelmed by this small, soft, wriggling being for whom you have suddenly become responsible.
When it’s your first child, and you have no toddler or pre-schooler to keep you busy, but keep you company and keep you laughing, while you tend to your new baby.
When you have no friends nearby who have babies.
When the initial rush of visitors has ebbed away, and the house is quiet, so very quiet.
When everyone is at work. When it’s Winter and it’s raining outside.
When your baby doesn’t nap like the book said babies should.
When you try to transfer her to the basket asleep but she wakes up every time. Every single time.
When you try putting her down awake as the parenting experts advise, but she cries.
So you carry her around the house, wandering from empty room to empty room, wondering what to do next.
When there is nowhere to go but the supermarket again. Or the café for a solo coffee and a silent prayer that baby doesn’t wake and cry. Because then you’d have to leave, you don’t want to irritate other customers.
When you physically ache for Friday to come around, so that you have co-parent company for the oh-so-short weekend.
When you think about going to a mother and baby group, but they’re all on very early in the morning. Being organised so early seems an insurmountable task, the Everest of daily challenges.
When you roam around the local shops yet again, pushing the pram, afraid to let go – the pram that has become a security blanket as well as a vessel for it’s precious inhabitant.
When you gently rock the pram incessantly while standing still in the bookshop, in case she wakes. You don’t want to leave the bookshop, but you will if she cries.
When you attempt to play with your baby on her mat, trying to interact with her just as the book suggested, but you’re not sure what you’re doing. It doesn’t feel like it’s working but you don’t know. You’ve never had a baby before.
When your baby cries a lot. All evening. And you don’t know why.
You feed and rock and feed and rock, watching the clock.
When co-parent arrives home, for that’s what he is now, and you hand over the baby, guilty but relieved.
When six months roll past and it’s time to go back to work, guilty but relieved.
When you vow it will be different next time, and it is, you feel absolved.