Having a bébé is a big deal and it is not all cute babygrows, nursery rhymes and cake (although it is a lot of that). I had not fully appreciated how this journey would change me; not just physically but emotionally. I don’t think you can anticipate the change. It is utterly mind-boggling.
This post is entitled “baby steps” but I’m not talking about actual “baby” baby steps, with mini Nikes (although those are awesome #wishlist). I’m talking about the transition from being a pregnant lady to a new mum, and a new mum to … well, a normal functioning mum. The former isn’t a step, it’s more like a giant screaming projection into a parallel universe. The latter, well, it feels like you are taking a lot of tiny baby steps towards something, but you’re never entirely sure what.
A baby step could be doing a load of washing, washing your hair, it could be sending out your thank you cards, going for un petit jog, baking a gateaux, taking bébé out in the car, changing bébé in a restaurant changing room, drinking a hot drink that is actually hot, eating your lunch at lunchtime as opposed to 4pm, fitting into your pre-preggo jeans (ok that’s a big step – well freaking done!!)… All of these things seem like little nothings to anyone that hasn’t just had a baby. But I can assure you, each one feels like a massive achievement to a new momma.
I remember emerging from a baby changing room for the first time, victorious after about 30 minutes of precarious balancing of wobbly-headed bébé on my hip, inevitable complete outfit change due to up-the-back-poonami and carefully ensuring all precious baby change items were returned to correct place in mary poppins-esque changing bag without dropping bébé or bag. I genuinely expected a round of applause. I felt like shouting out to the people sitting unsuspectingly at their tables that I have just changed my bébé for the first time in a strange space that wasn’t my home and he seems to have survived the experience! I was so proud of myself. Later I realised I had poo smeared down my top but you can’t win them all.
Taking a shower is another classic achievement. In our NCT classes the lovely Caroline, our NCT guru, was asking us what we planned to do with our bébés when it came to shower time. “Erm, put them in a chair and take a shower?” was my smartarse response. I remember guffawing at the idea I wouldn’t be able to take a shower. Pah! Well. Guffaw I did not when I realised Caroline was right. I was on my own for the first time with bébéFF and I was in dire need of a shower. So I look at bébéFF and he looks back at me. Silent. Not smiling at that age. Just staring back up at me. Ok, I can do this. How hard can it be? I will just put him in his little bouncy chair and he will be fine! Off I go to get the bouncy chair up the stairs (smash a few things en route) and carefully position it somewhere in the proximity of the shower which is basically outside the door. In goes bébéFF. He looks at me. I look back. Pause. Then he starts to scream. Not just a little cry but the full-lunged job. Right. Ok. At this stage you are still trying to understand what the scream means – food? poo? gas? sleepy? need a cuddle? 30 minutes later I have addressed most of the aforementioned and he is ready, again, silent, in the chair. I take a delicate step towards the shower, and I slowly start to extract myself from my milk and spit-sodden PJs. By the way it’s about 2pm. Shameful. I’ve got a leg in the shower when the screaming starts again. Seriously. Then the doorbell rings. Amazon Prime. And so it goes on. Eventually you progress to getting in the shower quite quickly, having your 5 minutes of calm, and then when you go to switch off the tap you hear the dreaded howling that was drowned out by the water. You are a terrible person. So, when you finally manage to have a shower AND wash your hair AND there is no crying at all for the duration – you are winning.
New baby life really is like learning to walk all over again. As the months go by, the steps increase in frequency and strength, and you become more confident. But the terrain keeps changing and you need different shoes. Usually it changes right about when you’ve got the hang of the current challenges. I mean what is this weaning business? Bébé can’t possibly drink from a cup?! That’s soooo grown up!! He can sit in a high chair?! WTF! Next thing we know he’ll be crawling. Yikes. Then how will I do … Anything?? Can you actually put them in a cage? Mind. Boggled.
The message in this post is simply this: baby mommas are amazing creatures. Don’t let the tiredness and exhaustion make you forget this. Every step you take no matter how minuscule, is a step in the right direction and you are winning. Felicitations! We need to be proud of each and every step. Take your moment in the baby change to be proud of yourself. Enjoy that 2 minute shower when you get in there.
You have probably seen the baby milestone cards, you know the ones: woohoo mon bébé smiled today! or yoohoo mon bébé rolled today (into the sofa leg… Awks). Well the mummy milestones are just as important. Maybe even more important. Happy mummy equals happy bébé. I will say this a lot.
There are some great new baby momma achievements to be marked. But the milestones keep coming. Some are more critical than others. Leaving bébé with someone else for the first time, that’s a big one. Finishing a glass of wine, perhaps less of an achievement (to some), but still up there.
Luckily some clever mummapreneurs have come up with cards to help you celebrate your milestones. Mummy Milestones are available on Etsy and you can follow on Instagram @mummymilestones.
Hey, here’s a blogging baby step for me: – let’s attempt to get interactive! It would be great to hear about your mummy milestones. Leave a comment and share – we can revel in your glory mamabears ❤