How I got my mojo back
Having a baby does funny things to you. It softens your body, and makes you broader in all the places you don’t want to be. Stretch lines and brown marks all appear across your body, like tiger’s stripes. When pregnant, it’s easy to love these lines as a sign of what you are growing inside, watching them ripple as your baby turns and twists in their own dedicated swimming pool. When the baby is out, your tired deflated balloon of a belly just looks like a terrible jelly, no longer necessary for what it used to house. In the early weeks of no sleep, love hormones and the milky glow of a newborn, these changes to my body didn’t bother me so much. I was more worried about what was happening DOWN THERE, and if I’d ever be able to sit down again without a rubber ring. I was in no rush to give up on the soft elastic waistbands of maternity trousers.
But then the weeks pass, and you get braver. Your husband goes back to work so you go to the café on your own, wondering how people can drink a skinny latte when you just made a baby. How can the world keep turning when something so amazing just happened! And the next week you are yet more confident, breastfeeding in the corner, hackles raised as you have read so many articles about people being challenged for doing so in public but of course all that happens is the barista brings you a glass of water and a free croissant because, like most people, she’s a decent human being.
And then a few months down the line you go out with your NCT crew, and you pull on your old jeans and they don’t quite do up. None of your tops work with your still swollen boobs and you feel chunky. But sod it, YOU MADE A BABY, so you go out and drink too much Picpoul and feel like shit for two days.
In my case it was 6 months in, and I realised that I could no longer blame breastfeeding or sleepless nights for eating a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes in one sitting. So I went back to eating three meals a day, taking some exercise, and reigning in the biscuits. And no, my body isn’t back to what it was, but I’ve always carried a few extra pounds and frankly don’t particularly care – so long as I look ok with a pair of Spanx under my best dress, that’s all I can ask. And yet for once, it wasn’t enough.
And I went back to work, and something was still missing. I did my job and loved my colleagues, and cuddled my kids and went on the odd date night. I saw my girlfriends and went on a hen do and didn’t miss the kids (much) but something wasn’t quite right. And I realised my whole life was about other people. I work for my employer. I cook (rarely and badly) for my family. I watch box sets that my husband and I agree on, not the Grays Anatomy binges of my past. What was it that I needed? A spa day? Sod that. This was more than a one off. I needed to have something that was mine, all mine, and that I could take with me.
That’s where this blog comes in. And I’m so grateful to anyone who reads and shares my potty-mouthed collections of words. I’ve offended people, but I’ve made them laugh too. And somehow, I’ve been nominated for a BiB award (shameless plug – you can find the link to vote below). And the validation of someone who isn’t my mum, or my mate, telling me that I can write, and that I can be funny, and that this tiny place on the internet that is all mine feels pretty damn special. The Twitter message saying my words have given a new mum the guts to go to her doctor about PND – nobody can take that away from me. A tantrumming todder can’t, and nor can an unsympathetic boss. Even those trousers that I can’t quite squeeze into don’t take away from the fact that even though I have my beautiful children and my supportive partner (don’t worry, as well as being lovely, we annoy and irritate each other just as much as any other couple) I also have something that is mine, all mine. And as any parent of a toddler knows, anything that is “MINE!! It’s MINE Mummy!” is very special indeed.
Enjoy my blog? Please vote for Bell from Bow in the Fresh Voices category in the BiB awards! Thank you. http://www.britmums.com/vote-for-bibs2017-here/