“You’re looking great!” a friend of mine told me this week. “Seriously?” I reply. “Have you seen these dark circles? And look at this belly!” I say, grabbing a handful of flesh from my mid section. In my head, I’m asking myself if she’s actually seeing the same person that I do when I look in the mirror. I mean, I feel pretty haggered most of the time. I look pretty haggered most of the time. Can she not see that too?
I want to tell you the tale of a first time mother. She had read many books in preparation, to help her become the mother she always hoped to be. A calm, centred mother who took the challenges of parenthood in her stride – who rolled with the sleepless nights, the changes to her body, the changes to her life – with complete ease.
“When will it get better?” asks the weary husband, as we debate the ins and outs of why Henry might be waking like clockwork at 4.30am every morning. “I’m sure it’s just a phase,” I reply as I catch a glimpse of my bedraggled self in the mirror. Ah! “Just a phase.” Those three little words. If I had a pound for every time I heard them (or uttered them to someone else), then I would be a very rich woman!
“Let’s play dollies!” Molly declares, waving her Frozen dolls in my face. “You be Elsa and I be Anna!”
“Ok, let’s pretend they’re going to the park,” I say, bending my knees on the sofa to create a slide for them to go down, in an effort to keep my part in the game horizontal for at least a few more minutes.
“No, let’s go on the bouncy castle!” she cries, making Elsa jump vigorously up and down on my belly. “It’s nice and bouncy, Mummy!”
“Mummy. Your bum…” says Molly as she comes up behind me and places her hands on my hips. “It’s soooo big.” In despair, I turn to the husband. “Don’t worry about it,” he says, patting the derriere in question. “After all, you are nearly 8 months pregnant, it’s bound to be a little bigger.” Not exactly the reassurance I was looking for. Sigh. It has been one of those weeks.
Yes, it hasn’t been the most yogic of weeks. It has been a week in which Molly dropped the ‘F’ bomb. Twice. I’d like to say she learned the expletive from some unsavoury child at nursery, but instead I have to take full responsibility, having uttered it myself on at least three occasions that I can recall. Personally, I blame the raging hormones of the third trimester for making my fuse a little shorter.