Wow. I know I've heard it said before, but there really is no ‘How to be a Mum’ manual.
I mean, I’ve talked about babies. I’ve talked to other people about their babies. I’ve read a few baby books – well, really only one, and I skimmed more than I read. But until I had my own, I had never held a baby. Really. I was one of those people who always managed to busy herself when someone asked if I wanted to hold their baby, or always said “I’ll have a hold later (when I’ve finished pretending-to-look-busy to avoid holding your baby).”
I don’t have anything against other people’s babies, I just never felt overly maternal. I always wanted to be a Mum, one day, if I met the right man. Well, I did meet the right man. My Mr Perfect. He whisked me away from my busy career and social-focussed lifestyle in Melbourne to a sleepy little farm in Tasmania. I won’t even start to talk about the complete and utter culture shock I experienced… that I'm still experiencing. I’ll fast forward to two years later when Mini made us three.
I didn’t have the greatest pregnancy. I was not a graceful pregnant woman. I was not one of the lucky ones that was ‘all baby’, even though people kindly told me this. I swelled up, had heartburn, insomnia, all day morning sickness for most of the pregnancy, lost my ankles early on, ate for four people or more, hated almost ALL smells and definitely did not have that pregnancy glow everyone talks about. I managed to put on a ridiculous amount of weight, so much so that I still can’t talk about it out loud without cringing. Then whammo, hello Preeclampsia. Ugh. It was terrible.
BUT surprisingly, through it all, I bonded with the little person growing inside me and loved it when she moved about. Labour wasn’t the greatest 30 hours of my life, and neither was my four day hospital stay in the middle of a 40 degree heat wave in a Public Hospital with no air conditioning and a new baby who wouldn’t latch.
Heading home from the hospital was a whirlwind of tears, nappies, failed breast-feeding attempts, too many visitors, no sleep and me, the deer stuck in the headlights. I had no idea what I was doing or what to do.
As for being a stay at home Mum, I’m not quite sure what I thought it would be. I had a vision in my head of perfect hair, perfect outfits, daily gym visits, sipping lattes with other mums, long lunches and tennis lessons. Ok – the tennis lessons may have been a stretch – but I truly believed I’d have a social life with other Mums. Unfortunately, I don’t. I’m still considered a ‘Mainlander’ down here and don’t have my close friends nearby. I also don’t have perfect hair – it’s a good day if I get to shower, a great day if I get to wash my hair and a miracle if I get to dry it. Forget about the perfect outfit too. Most days I wear gym gear even if I have no intention of exercising. It’s just easy. And comfy. And works with my dishevelled hair.
10 months on, I’ve become more maternal than I ever expected. I’ve become one of those Mums that cried on the way to day-care even though I was only going to look at one – I haven’t even enrolled her, I actually can’t bring myself to enrol her. I compare her to other kids and, quite clearly, I think Mini is better than them all. I brag about her crawling, walking, eating, drinking, talking, swimming, teething… everything! I think she is the most beautiful baby there ever was. Full stop.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have it all figured out. I still don’t always know what to do, but I’m learning as I go and enjoying the good, bad and the ugly.
It ‘s 4am as I type this. Mini is awake. I can hear her babbling away. I know there is no chance of getting her back to sleep. She’s making those distinct “Get me out of here I want to play” noises. Part of me wants to sleep for just one more hour, that’s all I ask. The excited part of me misses her and wants to jump out of bed. Then the part of me that wants to sleep a bit more reminds me that I saw her at 9pm, midnight and 2am through the night. But the excited part wins. It always does. I’m getting up to see that beautiful face.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
I love her so.
She is amazing.
I’m ready to go for Mini Number 2…. almost.
Kim Saunders, Captain + Co.
Kim is a proud Mum to baby daughter Mabel, who moved from the big smoke to a small sleepy town. After having Mabel, she decided she needed something more so started her small business Captain + Co.