All I Want for Christmas is....Me

But whatever happens, you can never really shake that feeling of no longer being a ‘me’, can you? There’s always a part of you that remembers what it felt like to carry another being in your body, that knows you’re always now an ‘us’. And getting back to running, or reading, or whatever it might be; getting ‘me-time’, whatever that means to you – you can’t ever get back to the person you were before.

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The Afterbirth

The trouble is, traumatic memories have a habit of jumping up and biting us on the bum just when we’re least expecting them. Even when any physical damage has healed, the psychological wounds remain as raw as ever. They could be as obvious as nightmares, or as subtle as a feeling of guilt when you look at your child. They could reappear as feeling sick when you catch a certain smell, or bursting into floods of tears at hearing about someone else’s birth.  But, because they are so raw and mixed up, it can feel easier to push them away again and try and forget about them.

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The Invisible Cord

As soon as your baby arrives in the world, the process of letting them go begins.  At birth, your previously merged selves become a duo and you immediately have to make choices (or they are made for you) about how separate you are going to be.

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Let Myself Love

I hold your sleeping body

Cocooned in the crook of my arm

Examine your crinkly lids

Alien feet

Rosebud lips

“Why don’t you put her down dear?

Get some rest yourself?’

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you

I rock your tense, taut body

Contained in the curve of my neck

Soothe your screaming lips

Flushed brow

Powerful lungs

“You’ll create a rod for your back dear

Just let her cry it out”

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you

I nurse your drowsy body

Cushioned on my lap

Stroke your growing hair

Chubby feet

Busy hands

“She needs to learn to self-soothe dear

Just leave her in her cot”

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you

I gaze at your soft, still body

Nestled on my chest

Meet your watchful eyes

Smell milky breath

Porridgey skin

“You’ll make her too clingy dear

Pop her in her swing”

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you

I lie next to your snoring body

One hand on my arm

Watch your rising chest

Far flung leg

Flickering lids

“She’ll never leave your bed dear

Put her in her own room”

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you

I rush to your screeching body

Toppled on the floor

Kiss your bonked head

Tear filled eyes

Dribbling nose

“You’ll make her into a sap dear,

Leave her, she’s alright”

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you

I sit by your wriggly body

Crawling across the rug

Fetch rolled-away toys

Bang cups

Share smiles

“Children should be seen and not heard dear,

Ignore her, she’s got to learn”

But, for now, I’m going to let myself love you.

Because now you’re too big to lie on the chest that once cushioned your head.

That used to rest on my shoulder.

That now peers around instead.

Because now you’re too heavy to rock in my arms that cradled your body tight.

That used to find comfort in me.

That now sleeps through the night.

And soon you’ll be crawling away from me. Walking out of my door.

Running into your own life.

Seeing the world, and more.

So I hold your sleeping body

Stretched out on my lap

Kiss your sweaty brow

Toothy mouth

Long lean limbs

“You are the bows from which your children

As living arrows are sent forth”

So, for now, I’m going to let myself love you.

Walking Womb

Emulating life in the womb for this frazzled, overwhelmed and overstimulated creature is one of the kindest things you can do for your newborn. For him or her, the only thing that has remained the same in the journey from the womb is you.

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The Bubble

Entering into motherhood can feel a lot like being ripped in two – between the individual that you once were and the mother you are growing into.  You might feel completely obsessed with your new baby, but unable to talk about it because it feels so unusual. Or you might be panic stricken at the enormous sense of responsibility you now hold. From having been a well functioning member of society, suddenly your universe revolves around a miniscule bundle, the sofa and bed.

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Mum World

However, there may still be a little (or big) part of you murmuring doubts that you will ever be a mum. That this pregnancy is going to end in a baby, rather than just a casting off of that big belly and a subsequent return to life as you always knew it. This might be a quiet whisper “Am I really going to be a mum?” or a full on screaming “I’m not ready for this!!”

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In It Together

Pregnancy for many couples is the first time that your lives may take different routes. Whether or not you choose to (or are able to) take time away from work after the birth, only you can carry that baby and bring it into the world.

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