Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

When my daughter was born I fell instantly in love with her. I remember my partner and I gazing at her for hours as she slept, so peaceful and content. Beautiful!

After 25 hours of labour and a further 12 hours of sleeplessness lying in a hospital bed we were allowed to bring her home. My partner and I drove back to a house full of family all as amazed and as instantly in love with her as we were.

You can't believe that they are finally here after all those months and blurry images on the ultra sound. You always knew they were a real person but you never really believed it until they were in front of you. I didn't sleep for the first 3 nights after she was born. I just dozed, waking about every 20 minutes to check that she was still breathing.

You feel this overwhelming need to protect your new baby and you can't quite believe that someone has allowed you to take them home and has entrusted you with the responsibility, because honestly we didn't have a clue.

We stumbled our way through the first few days, weeks, months. Lost in a sea of dirty nappies, sleepless nights and dawn choruses. My life consisted of 2 hour intervals between feeds, night and day ceased to exist.

I struggled with my raging hormones as did my partner, who regularly got the full force of my emotions. I could go from laughing and smiling to sobbing in a matter of minutes! The house was upside down, piles of dirty dishes, mountains of washing, nothing in the fridge except a big 6 pinter of milk for all the cups of coffee that were sustaining us. We lived on take-away food and meals that were cooked and delivered to us by fantastically supportive family.

There were times, in the early days, when we felt that we would never get the hang of this new routine, that we would be forever late for every occasion that we managed to make it to and that it would always take us at least three hours to get ready before even attempting to leave the house. However nine months on and we have got it down to a fine art. We are only late half the time now!

In truth the house is still as messy at times and I am forever wading through a sea of dirty and clean washing, an endless cycle of laundry but somethings are easier now. We are not so clueless anymore, at least about the stuff we now understand which is enough for now. Life is about learning and that was never truer than with your children. What we don't know we will figure out because when you don't think it is possible to love your child any more than you already do, they do something new and amazing and you fall in love all over again! Which makes all the sweat, tears and sleepless nights worth it.

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