Being more human by Donna Smith @mrsdonnamsmith
So a typical day for the pre-pregnant me involved the tram into work with my head down in texts and emails. It was then into back to back meetings in the office, inbox overflowing, little time to think, and staying late to catch up.
Add to the picture rushing home to drag myself to the gym, and then trying to be a decent wife, daughter, friend and remembering birthdays, and plans I'd made. The world was busy (as it is for most of us), and frantic at times. I was always on catch up, asking myself who did I need to ring? What had I forgotten? What was next on the to do list?
Then after a few months of trying to start a family, I decided to go along to some reflexology sessions, which gave me the hint that I needed to slow down. By relaxing and reflecting on how things had been, I realised loud and clear that I needed to look after me, if I was going to make you.
It did the trick, and we were blessed with the faintest blue line on a test stick (well on 4 sticks!) - the news that we were growing a person. From this day on, something happened. I became a bit more human.
So what changed for me?
1.Telling work colleagues I was expecting a baby made me feel a bit exposed and vulnerable, but it also let people in and gave us immediate common ground.
Before pregnancy, I was the ultimate professional (probably a bit cold at times) and wasn't used my personal life blending into work. So post bump announcement, lovely people I'd previously have passed at the coffee machine without time to chat to, stopped to congratulate me and share a ditty on their experience of parenthood.
2.I connected with my every day world (and the people in it) a little bit more.
So I started taking notice and learning from of all the interesting people I came across who took the time to enquire about my news, and shared how it would change my life and bring joy I’d never known.
Doctors, midwives, bank clerks, old family friends, people in the Post Office queue. Everyone showed me they cared. Everyone had a funny story to share. Everyone was really damn NICE.
I know it's a bland word, but it is so true. The world reminded me that people care about people, and that making and growing a new person brings out excitement and intrigue wherever you go.
3.I let myself make lots of new friends.
This sounds bonkers written down!
Who wouldn't just make friends if they came along? Well I didn't think I had 'time' for this before being pregnant.
This was probably true to an extent. I couldn't keep up frequent enough dates with my current fabulous friends, let alone find time to make new ones. Each catch up had an 'agenda' as long as your arm because it had been so long since the last one.
So since Isaac came along I've met some ballsy, bright, and funny new mum friends through NCT. I’ve got to know my lovely neighbours who are mums, and I’ve up stuck up proper friendships with work colleagues who I just didn’t make time to get to know properly before.
4. And finally – I’ve opened up and admitted things aren’t perfect, and I haven't got all the answers. As a new mum at 37 years old, it was back to school knowing very little and making each day up!! Never mind tears on day 3, they were more of a weekly occurrence!
No amount of NCT classes or ‘contented baby’ books or googling can prepare you for working out how to care for this amazing little person you've created and trying to fathom their every need. You go from feeling accomplished and capable in work and life and adept at solving problems and making plans, to not having a bloody clue.
And you learn that it's absolutely okay to feel that way, and that everyone else is feeling pretty similar too!! It makes you more human and enriches who you are as a person. The day your little person starts smiling up at you reminds you you're probably doing something right with this motherhood malarkey.
So why share this story? Well, from talking to friends I think there’s plenty of people that feel this way and perhaps have this realisation after a life transition, whether it be starting a family, an illness, getting divorced or a bereavement.
My huge reflection is that I wish I’d let the world in a bit sooner, as there will be things I’ve missed out on from simply being too self absorbed, too busy.
The post motherhood human version of me is making time to look after myself, for my family and friends, for new experiences and for continuing my career in a job that I love.
Ps whole piece written whilst pumping breast milk in the small hours ...multitasking dreams come true!