All the things I never knew

Photo of my daughter Millie

A post where I reflect a little on parenthood so far…you might have also seen this on the Selfish Mother blog!

I thought I knew what it would be like to have children. I’ve grown up around babies, I’ve got lots of friends and family with little ones, and once I was even a birthing partner for a friend, so I was ‘prepared’. I always knew I wanted children one day, millions of people reproduce and that’s what we’re here for after all, right? It was all good, until I actually tried it.

So here are the things I never knew.

I never knew…just how hard this really is. Everyone has something to tell you, advice to impart, and though I listened well and read around, I honestly never knew until Millie arrived. Those first few weeks just took my breath away; the lack of sleep, the continuous trial and error, the emotional rollercoaster – and though it does get easier in many ways, the obstacles just shape shift as you go along. It’s the steepest learning curve I’ll ever experience.

I never knew…my husband could look like that. We’ve been together for 15 years and ben through a lot, but the look he has when he’s with Millie is one I’ve never seen before and it melts me every time. I was so focused on my career I made him wait for years before trying for children, and I don’t think I truly appreciated just how patient he was. She means the absolute world to him and is such a lucky little girl to have him. It makes me so happy to watch them together, and I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful husband/team mate/buddy to share this with.

I never knew…how much my daughter would mean to everyone else, which might sound naïve, but it’s true. Once I announced I was pregnant, my grandmother was so excited she stopped talking to me as a person and interacted only with my bump for six whole months, and the support and good wishes we’ve had from friends and family far and wide has been overwhelming. Babies bring joy to so many people, but to see the love I feel for Millie mirrored on the faces of my parents, my sister, and so many of our loved ones just delights me every time.

I never knew…that I could actually do this. When I take a rare moment and actually think about it; I carried and grew a human inside my own body, I went through labour (which NOTHING can prepare you for), and then when that didn’t work I had major abdominal surgery, and finally I was given this tiny little person and had to just figure it out. It’s such a huge undertaking. That little person is now nearly six months old and she’s so awesome, every day. I did that, so high five to me.

There’s such a lot I never knew, and I’ve had to learn fast. There are the most wonderful giggles, heart melting milestones and the best cuddles you’ll ever get, as well as utter desperation, floods of tears, and some pretty serious physical and mental challenges, but it’s been so amazing starting out this little journey of ours together. I honestly never knew quite how much I’d cherish all these things, and how much I’d look forward to getting it wrong, getting it right, and just enjoying (almost) every minute.