‘It changes your life’ – Part 2

It seems trite to say that when you have a baby (or babies) your life changes, because it just seems so obvious. Of course life is going to change. But no-one tells you that you might not like those changes.

We thought we were ready to start a family. It wasn’t on a whim, nor an accident. Ok, some things are left to Mother Nature so you can’t plan everything about your new family (in our case, having two children was a shock), but we’d sat down, considered it, and decided that if it happened, we were ready. So why, for the first few weeks, did I feel like my life had been stolen from me?

I had a pretty awesome life before getting pregnant, it’s true. A great job, a happy marriage, a full social life. I loved that we could travel when we felt like it, decide to have lazy Sunday brunches or late dinners on a whim, make plans at the last minute.

For that’s one of the biggest things that disappears when you have children – spontaneity. Now leaving the house is a military operation, social engagements have to be planned in advance and around nap and feed times. We can’t meet up with friends on a Sunday afternoon and then decide to stay out for dinner, because the babies have to be back home for bedtime.

For me, loss of spontaneity was a big deal. I’d read about new mothers feeling like milking machines, about the blurriness of getting up for a 3am feed, about the loneliness of being at home all day; but no-one mentioned that feeling unable to do anything on a whim is something to watch out for.

Somewhat conversely, the lack of control also got to me. Even a spontaneous life with an adult partner includes a certain amount of control – you can reason with each other, decide not to accompany each other to a boring drinks evening, explain that you’re feeling out of sorts and just want to curl up with a book. A baby, however, has no inkling of how tired mummy is, that mummy is in the middle of a meal, that mummy really just needs 10 minutes to take a shower. I used to think, pre-children, that these things were petty, that they paled in comparison to having a child. Looking at the big picture that might be (and probably is) true, but when you’re living it the inability to know that you can finish a cup of tea is frightening.

The third thing that no-one told me was how I would grieve for my old life. That I would need to go through a grieving process – very much the five stages of denial (that lasted a while), anger (it’s all your fault), bargaining (it would be so much easier having one baby at a time), depression (life is over) and finally acceptance. I’d assumed the joy of my new life would automatically negate any feelings of loss over my old life. I was wrong. Then I felt guilty for feeling like I’d lost something when I’d gained so much. But it just took time to work through it. It was just a phase. Shame no-one mentioned it beforehand.

This post has highlighted three things which I wish I knew about how my life would change. There are others. But I’m exhausted from being up with BabyBoy at 3am last night so will end this post now….


One thought on “‘It changes your life’ – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Goodbye My Body | afterninemonths

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