One year in...
This time a year ago I really didn't know what was about to happen to me. I was so concerned by labour that I couldn't see much past it. I know this ridiculous short sightedness is not unusual, and has lots to do with us knowing and hearing so much (perhaps too much) beforehand, especially other people's horror stories.
As we celebrate Our daughters first birthday, 7.5 years after we started hoping for her, it's tempting to wax lyrical about what a miracle she still seems to be for us everyday, or to write about how I still feel guilty that we have been blessed when I know so many who continue to struggle with the infertility demons.
But what I have been struck by in just the last fortnight, is how many articles on motherhood I've read this year that are defensive of their own choices or judging of others. I know I have learnt and shared a huge amount with women who have had babies around the same time as me. But it is easy to see how stressed it can make you when things aren't going well and others seem fine. Women writing about motherhood seem to make this even worse, doling out advice, justifying their own choices, or offering us the 'opportunity' to learn from their mistakes.
The reality is that every combination of parents and child/ren will be different; and will change within themselves. It is wonderful to learn from others, and I wouldn't be without my NCT friends or many others, but I wish just once i had been offered an article this year about how everyone parents differently, and that we will do fine most of the time, even if we don't meet the standards of x or y or even of ourselves.
Very few deliberately make a mess of it, but we all will from time to time. No one method or book is fool proof, because babies don't come with manuals, but they are incredible diverse creatures who we have the privilege of helping to mould in our own diverse ways.
Generally we will all try our best, whether as working mums or stay at home mums, attachment parenting fanatics or Gina Ford routine followers. Co- sleeping or separate bedrooms, breast or bottle, we are all making choices the best we can, and should support others in theirs, whatever they are!
I get very excited when friends tell me they are expecting. I know I have to hold my tongue as the tendency to want to gush is hard to hold back on, and inevitably well meant words of wisdom will come tumbling forth. I apologise now for them. Ignore me. Make the choices that work for you, and chances are, they won't quite fit any one model, but they will be your choices, and I hope you don't feel judged for them, and don't judge others for choosing differently. It's an incredible journey. And a difficult one. And we'll all, mostly, be fine.