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.
It’s the weekend. The day begins at 4.38am with the gentle babbling of baby Henry from his cot at the bottom of our bed. We drift in and out of sleepiness until 5.56am when Molly’s face appears inches from mine. “Mornin’ Mummy,” she says climbing into the bed with her entourage of teddies. Bleary eyes are rubbed, a poo filled nappy changed and bottle dispensed, until half an hour later we’re up and raring to go. (Ok, ‘raring’ might be just a slight overstatement here.)
(A letter from baby no. 2 about what we could do differently this time around)
First up, I must say, I’m really looking forward to meeting you. You seem like a pretty cool Mummy and I think you’re doing a fab job, even if you don’t think so yourself most of the time. I want to tell you not to worry about my arrival – it really doesn’t matter how I get into this world. I see how you still sometimes feel a little tearful about the birth of my big sister Molly. I know it wasn’t easy on your body or your mind, but all that doesn’t matter now – Molly doesn’t seem fazed at all – in fact she seems pretty cool too.
I know that you’ll be really tired in the weeks to come and I want you not to be so hard on yourself this time. I don’t mind if we cry a bit together, get things off our chest. I don’t want you to bottle things in at all like you sometimes did when Molly was little. Ask for help when you need it. Hand me over to Daddy. Tell Granny to give you a break. I’ll give you a shout when I need you again as I know it’s not easy caring for a tiny one like me, so don’t take it all on yourself.