I am going to write this post purely for myself. Because I assume that not so many people are interested in reading another text by a groaning young mother.
My son is one year old today! Wow! That went fast! That sudden switch from being a young active constantly travelling European into staying at home, washing, cooking, cleaning, walking with a trolley mom. Anyhow, this year had 365 days which makes about 3650 times of breastfeeding and about 730 walks with a stroller. I feel like I need to reflect and structure my feelings about this year. Because I definitely gained a fair amount of new skills. And it is definitely not interesting to anybody except my son. Who is, let’s be honest, not going to appreciate it anyway.
So here we go. Starting from 23 July 2019.
- AAAAA…my breasts hurt like hell! Why nobody ever told me how hard it is to breastfeed?
- Will he survive if I close my eyes and try to sleep for an hour?
- I need food, please, feed me!
The first few weeks were so hard, I can’t even describe. Full of anxiety, self-doubt and frustration that no one (NO ONE) ever told you how it is to have a baby. How to change a diaper, how to make him suck milk from your breast, how to hold him, how to calm him, how to carry him, so his burps and farts can come out. I spent at least 20 years of my life studying all kinds of things. And nobody taught me the most important one: how to take care of my child. I remember myself cursing the school system so many times those weeks. Why did I spend hours learning geometry, chemistry and physics if I can’t remember even the most basic things from those subjects? And why we never even talked about how to be parents growing a child? I had no idea that babies need to learn about night/day concept. That when they are just babies usually sleep all day and cry all night. Woooof… we over than time now. Thank God!
- I am on the groove
Breastfeeding goes much better. We start travelling a little. There are three of us. And that is cool. Our son loves to sleep in a sling. So we can even go for an evening drink with him still sleeping on his papa’s chest. Seems like we are nailing it!
7 weeks – 3 months
Boom! I am alone taking care of a child. And my husband is working. Now all that we hardly managed doing together, I have to do by myself. I barely eat, shower in one minute, forget about my basic needs and sometimes scream from frustration into the pillows. But all of a sudden other moments come – when my son falls asleep eating from my breast. And then I can read “War and Peace” for an hour or two. And just relax, listening to his cute sniffing.
3 – 6 months
A new world opened up in the eyes of my son. Hello, endless walks with a trolley in the forest! Three times a day – so that he gets as much good air as possible. Hello, relax chair where he can sit and look at me cooking! Sometimes smiling, sometimes falling asleep. Communication seems to be more fun and I can’t wait until he starts crawling. These three months were the easiest cause I knew what I was doing and Leo was still almost not moving at all. So I could leave him on the bed or whatever surface without panicking that something will happen.
6 – 7 months
Parents are visiting. We are travelling. He is super cute. And I am slowly starting to crave for mental stimulation…which touches upon something less physical than babies poop and feedings.
8 – 10 months
Another boom! He is crawling. And crawling fast! All the old things as baby gym and relax chair are gone. Now it is time to explore, drag things down, reach out to all that was never reached before. We share the duties with my husband. He works only three days per week. I am writing my thesis. Life becomes more balanced.
11 – 12 months
Talking, almost walking and flirting with the entire world. That’s my boy! I loved the moment when we managed to have fun together like buddies. It was in a car. I put on club music. Leo holds the steering wheel and dances. Then he puts on the window wipers and laughs. I also laugh. I loved it!
Summarising all. If someone asks me whether it is a good idea to take that job – a job of a newborn parent. I would say – I don’t know. I am not someone who would go on describing how miraculous it is having a miraculous miracle in your arms. It is a freaking hard work. The hardest I have ever done. It is the most unappreciated and unrecognised work I have ever done as well. So if this someone is used to achievements, career success and independence. Bloody hell. Don’t rush with having a baby.
My society prepared me well for being an educated intellectual who is competitive and ambitious. Who values freedom of movement, thought and love. This same society taught me nothing about creating a family, being a partner and a mother. And I see it as a problem. Because during this year I noticed that my ego had been screaming every day: “Why you are not achieving things? Where are your colleagues? Where are people who admire you? Where are people you can learn from?”
I don’t want our society to go into the opposite – educating women only for being a mother and a wife. But I want teenagers in the schools to learn what is it to be a dad and a mom. No matter if they will choose to create a family or not. I also want the society to be more inclusive for families. Only one out of twenty cafes in Brussels offers a baby chair. Not getting a baby chair means that parents have to eat fast and in turns. Read: not enjoy their food and dream about leaving home as soon as possible. To find a kinderharden for our son, so that I can start working, has became a “mission impossible”. I don’t want to be excluded from the job market when I have a baby. I want to be invited to conferences, business lunches and cocktail receptions. I am still the same Diana. Who is also now – a mother.