I’ve written before about my elective caesarian section and today I am thinking of it more than ever. This time last year, we nervously checked into a hotel preparing for what was ahead. I couldn’t help but smile at the irony at the time, we had booked a hotel to relax a bit as we knew that what was ahead of us was sleepless nights…and yet relaxing was impossible. We were suddenly stepping into the unknown together. To be honest I don’t think it even dawned on me how this was a defining moment in our story, starting our own family.
When Emma was 5 weeks old, I had a chance cup of tea alone with my sister-in-law and she asked the best questions I have been asked since the birth.
What’s it like now not working? Was it strange changing the nappy for the first time? Do you know what to do straight away?
As she asked me these questions, genuinely wanting to know, I realised how rare this was. That for 5 weeks everyone had been asking the same things: Have you recovered yet? How’s her sleep? Above all, I realised that these ponderings hadn’t even entered my mind. And as I took a deep breath and we had a chat about it, I sighed with relief that someone actually cared how I was feeling. Someone actually acknowledged me before telling me how cute and beautiful my baby was.
The thing is, I had completely lost myself to looking after Emma without another thought in the world. It’s like I had put the pre-baby me in a little box – the one who loves to eat out, who always has to have fresh lime with her vodka and tonic, who loves to read a good book and chat for hours with friends on the phone. Just as I had automatically and without question said goodbye to those things, I felt like everyone else did too. I was now Mum. Until this day, my beautiful sister-in-law who is always thoughful and kind, will never know what she did for me. On this day I was Bridget again.
A year on and little parts of me are creeping back in to say hello, but the truth is I’ll never be quite the same again. Becoming a mum has changed me – empowered me and made me more confident in so many ways. It feels like I was always Emma’s Mum. And as I watch our little girl smile from ear to ear with the excitement, I can’t help but take a moment to acknowledge how far we’ve come. For the fractious moments, the tears and so many worries: whether her love for Bing and CBeebies in general is creating a TV addict, or if she’s sleeping enough, eating enough, why she doesn’t seem to be able to drink from a sippy cup – this smile makes it 100% worth it.