A letter to a friend, from a new mama

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To my friend, I am changed – I am grown, I am new
My heart is outside of my body, and transformed into another being

I am lonely – I hurt, nothing quite works the way it used to
only you and I remember truly who I was before, remind me what I enjoy, remind me what makes me laugh

I am lost, lost to a love I don’t know, one I have never felt before – but I don’t want to forget, the memories of old

It’s all so different, I am drowning – in newborn smells, cries and an exhaustion so intense
I have changed, but please don’t leave me – for I need you to remind me who I was
Please don’t leave me, I need you now more than ever

Come and dry my tears, don’t offer, just show up
Hold me, or hold my baby – it depends on the day
I am now never alone, but I feel so lonely

I know we will change; I hope we will grow – I need you so
The older we get, the less ignorance can we tolerate – don’t offer, just show up

Help me know, that I am still worth your time
I am unwashed, scarred and worn
but I am still me
help me to breathe

And if you can’t, then I shall grieve, but the sooner I know, the sooner I will heal
My mind it cannot read, I can hardly speak. This change that has happened has well and truly rocked me
for if you love my babies, I know you love me too

I need you more than ever, and for you I will be there too
Just give me time, as I am healing – I will do my best
If I do not see you, I will not know that you care
I will distance myself as the pain I cannot bear

What I have done, has changed our course
but you have the capability – to be a lifeline
I am lost to the sounds, of a never-ending feed
sit with me, for I am not gone – I can still be me

I don’t have the time, for everyday tasks
Come and hold me, or hold my baby – it depends on the day
I don’t have the space, for what we call normal
I will feel you, when you come and tend to me
and I will know that I am seen

And in time, when I am back on my feet
take me somewhere – remind me what it’s like to be me
I will not ask – for that I do know
my last intention, is to stop you from growth

Come to me and show me, your presence is enough
Do not offer – just show up
hold no expectation, there’s a lot I cannot give
my gratitude is tenfold – and no longer will I worry

That what I have done, will lose you, my friend
the person who knows me, please hold my hand
I’m scared and unqualified –
some days I lose my mind

This is the hardest thing I’ve done and I need you to remind me
who was I before this – my body it has changed
my arms they are full, will you share my burden
sit beside me as I cry and let me be open

For you too I will do in kind
for I will not ask, you know me too well
I do not have time to wait
Please show up, you know where I will be

I need you more than ever, you can remind me what it’s like
what it is to be me
for mummy I am too, motherhood all consumed
I hurt, and I am lonely, I really want you

So thank you for being there, for holding my heart
for letting me know that what I have done
it will not change us, you’ll show up and love
my babies just like I do
because without you
I will not remember who I was, before this all happened
and changed the tide
we are all just learning how to navigate this life
but with you, it’s less lonely
the faster I mend

Remind me how to be, the memories we love
lets sit together and laugh, behave like a teen
for without your guidance – I lose a lot of strength
If you love me with babies, our friendship it cannot bend

so thank you my person, for the meals you have cooked, the floors you have mopped and the baths you have run. I rebuild when you visit me and hold my sweet babe, for I can look at them and observe and my hands are so free. Thank you for reminding me what it’s like to be me, for laughing and brushing my tears. I will never forget, what you have done for me these years and for you I will too, to my friend, love from a new mama.

The Wriggler.

Finding out I was pregnant was shocking to say the very least. I was given a three month (max) preparation period and was demanded to shake off my allergy to babies and fall in love with a stubborn little bean that despite any amount of gin, white water rafting, heavy lifting or violent dancing had clung on inside me and chosen me to be his keeper.

Was I to feel an instant connection to this little human? At the time of discovery he was way too big to even see the gender, everything was to be a surprise for us. Who was this person? Were they safe? Did I love them? Did I want them? Who knew. The only thing I did know was that beneath all the shock came shining through with a fire of passion a need to do everything within my power to ensure that from that day on they were not to be harmed, not to be alone, not to feel sadness if it were in my power or ability for them not to. From that day, that hour, that moment, I became a mother. 

And so I continued – and tried to do my best to get to know my unborn child. I started to speak to the baby, started to sing to it. I didn’t know what I was doing, I had gone from rejecting my physical appearance to embracing it, to touching and caressing my belly. To letting my other half see it, stroke it and kiss it for the first time since we had been together. It had gone from the worst part of my body to the best, in the space of a few hours. I went from ignoring every pain and discomfort that I had previously diagnosed as cysts, to enjoying the ebbs and flows that came with the baby’s movements. We created a character – and soon enough – the baby became ‘The Wriggler’.

The Wriggler fast became a pretty good friend of mine, it’s hard not to get to know someone well especially when you spend all your time with them. Wriggler slept mostly when I was awake, always in the car and often when out and about. Wriggler had its fun when I was trying to sleep – always. Partying until the AM. Wriggler was cheeky, and a fighter. Wriggler would push its feet and hands against my desk at work if I leaned too closely and would hiccup it’s way through important meetings and push on my bladder whilst on sales calls. Wriggler did whatever was inconvenient and I loved that – I loved that already my baby felt independent, my baby felt wilful. I was proud and I hadn’t even met them. 

My boyfriend and I would meet at the end of a working day and he wouldn’t just ask how my day had gone he’d also ask how Wriggler was – did Wriggler have a good day? I wasn’t sure if the guilt born from not being aware of our baby’s existence was the reason why, but we fast became obsessed. Every movement, every time my belly grew, each new sensation was spoken about at great length. At times I became too frightened to sleep, so wanting to make up for lost time that I felt I should always be ensuring that the baby was happy and okay. Monitoring our new prized possession. 

The personality we created was everything to us,  The Wriggler was not a morning person, was definitely cheeky, stubborn and had an insanely sweet tooth. The Wriggler also loved Ed Sheeran, I would sing ‘I’m in love with the shape of you’ at the top of my voice and my darling would jig along inside me in response. 

The creation of The Wriggler felt crucial to our success – The Wriggler had not chosen to exist and it was our job to ensure that we were the best parents we could possibly be, that our baby was loved and knew it. The fact that I felt that I had been neglectful meant I had so much making up to do and each day I promised this to Wriggler. I woke up each morning and would declare – ‘I love you my angel, Mummy will always take care of you’. My eyes would fill with tears and I would go about my day ensuring every move I made would prolong my fulfilling that promise.