Three months ago, I welcomed my son into the world and it mainly feels…surreal. I look at him and I am in awe of what I have created. My body did that. I had no clue what character I was creating whilst he was growing in my womb and now he’s here and, unlike what I’ve heard countless times, it doesn’t feel like he has always been here. For the first week it often felt like I was just looking after him. Even now, I look at him and I’m like “Wow. Your mine. You’re my son!”

I also went against the grain when he was born as I didn’t get that intense rush of love I’d heard about. I just didn’t feel it like I thought I would. When that last forceful push released him into the world – I also didn’t cry. I don’t think I could have done if I had wanted to, I was absolutely knackered. I have countless videos of me holding him close to my chest, my whole body heaving, trying to catch my breath. I’m panting and making grunting noises in between speaking, whilst he’s wailing and I’m asking the midwives “Do they always make this much noise?”

It has been a growing love. In fact, the first week I masked the love I felt for him. Not allowing him to be mine so if I was to lose him, it wouldn’t have felt so hard. There I go again – pushing love away, until I couldn’t any longer. This has been a love that expands and develops whilst watching and learning about him. A love that stops me in my tracks when doing ordinary tasks such as loading the washing machine or refilling his changing bag. A love wrapped up in gratitude, that comes in waves. A love that holds me tightly and has me kissing him whilst repeatedly telling him: “I love you. I love you so much”. I’m loving more deeply than I ever thought possible. Love no longer scares me!

Every evening as my eyes adjust to the night light, I trace the outline of his head. I watch his chest rise and fall as he sleeps. I laugh at all the noises he makes and smirk at the position of his arms, his little hands balled into fists. I understand the Foo Fighter’s line more clearly as I breath him in as he breaths out. All very quietly of course, so not to wake him. It feels great to have got past the stage where I would hold my breath just so I could hear that he was breathing and be fearful of every noise and movement he made.

I want to freeze the moment as the new day starts and I bring him into bed with me. As I snuggle him in for morning hugs, I smile adoringly at his button nose and the deep lines above his full lips. I want to capture it but it is too dark for photos and the pictures I do try and take don’t do it justice, just like trying to take a photo of the moon on your phone. So instead, I nuzzle my nose into his neck, hug him tightly and smother his face in kisses. Basically, I am a pest, I am besotted with this boy!

Whilst there is love there is also worry. I have always been a slight Google addict and it has now intensified. People always talk about a ‘mother’s instinct’, mine apparently wants me to type in baby related questions not forgetting to add his current age at the end. ‘Why does my baby sound like a congested alien at 4 weeks old?’, ‘Baby, grunting and whining in sleep 2 months old’,Baby sick after feed 10 weeks old’. These searches often lead me to blogs or forums of someone who had previously had the same question and I generally find out, that it is ‘normal’ and I relax a little until the next question presents itself.

My mind oscillates from being scared for my health, worrying that something may happen to me or even worse, happen to him. To being excited for the life we are going to create and experience together. I am pretty good at pulling myself out of the doom and gloom until I see another hazard: ‘What would happen if I slipped in the shower and no-one noticed for days?’. I am also thinking about my age more and whilst I love that I’ve chosen to have a child later in life, I am also aware that I am an older mum and that sometimes scares me. Then I bring myself back to the present day and enjoy that time with him as the road ahead is uncertain and no amount of worry will change that.

Before having a baby my main concerns about motherhood were; giving birth, the sleepless nights, finding the repetitive days mundane and how I would be able to afford it. A lot of time has been spent overthinking these worries for only one of them to actually be a cause for concern, my finances – childcare costs are ridiculous! Me being worried about finances is nothing new so I allow myself a small window of time to worry and then accept that I will cross that rickety bridge when I need to. As soon as I became pregnant I stopped worrying about the birth and was further put at ease when I attended the hypnobirthing sessions. I have so far been fortunate that my baby sleeps well in the evening so I’m managing to get more sleep than I had anticipated and being on maternity leave there are many days when we don’t get out of bed until 10am.

Yes, the days have been repetitive but in these 93 days I have never found them mundane. Not even the past five days isolating with covid, even though I most definitely got a heavy dose of cabin fever! I’ve always thought new-borns were uber cute but a bit boring but I am constantly enthralled by my son. There are many a day when I haven’t turned the TV on because I am entertained by him – watching him move, pull faces, make cooing noises, I could literally watch him all day and then all night over the monitor when he’s asleep and I’m downstairs having some me time – which always includes looking at some videos and photos of him! Yup as I said before, I am besotted!

Fun, Chill and Love

Those were the three words I said when the Health Visitor asked me to answer with 3 words that described what relationship I was having with my baby. This was 8 weeks into motherhood and I had been dealing with a calm and happy baby, who napped in his Moses basket and only cried when hungry or having a nappy change. Fast forward to now where he will only nap when strapped to me in his sling with me stood in a certain position, occasionally in the pram and sparingly in the car. He actually yells until red in the face for most car journeys and when awake wants my attention all the time. Yet, if the Health Visitor was to ask what my three words would be today, I would keep ‘fun’ and ‘love’ and change ‘chill’ to ‘present’. As present is what I have to be to keep a happy baby and as I am on maternity leave, I am able to be that. I know down the line things will be different but right here, right now I can be present – which is a beautiful gift for both of us.

I have also allowed myself to relax and take things slowly which was never a strong point of mine. I take each day in my stride and even cancelled on a couple of appointments as I was feeling tired. Old Emma would not have done that! The go slow has been so lovely and for the first couple of months no guilt was to be found but I had noticed the past few weeks it had started to creep in again, if I hadn’t been outside for long enough or done much with my day. I had a word with myself and that didn’t work and then I caught covid – life has a funny way of making us take heed!

So yeah, I had covid and I’m pretty sure he got it too as he was coughing a fair bit and fussier than usual. Fortunately, I wasn’t bed bound with it this time round but if I had been, the amount of support that was offered to me, I know I would have been fine. Offers of support came from all over, including the NCT ladies who I have only known a few months, a friend who doesn’t live in Leeds offered to come over and a pregnant friend offered to take him for a walk in his sling alongside her toddler – absolute legends! I think as I am a solo mum people are more attentive, which is a strange but wonderful feeling. Indeed, I still have to strengthen my ‘Yes’ and my ‘Ask’ but I know I have a community there when I need them and I have never felt alone on this journey. Although, one thing that these past five days isolating just the two of us has shown me is how much I missed contact with other people. We are used to seeing people at least five days a week so having no-one there to give extra cuddles to him whilst I stretch my arms and have a breather has been noticed.

A lot of people say that when you become a parent you lose who you are for a while and whilst I didn’t give it much thought before, I can see that’s true and I am actually embracing it. I have been many Emma’s in my life as life is not stagnant, it is a constant change and trying to hold onto something which is ready to be refreshed has never been my thing. So, instead of looking at it like I’m going to lose who I am, I see it as I’m walking into a new series of my life. I’m moving in a new direction, one that I had dreamed of for years. I’ve seen changes already, I have bought an air fryer, have become the neighbour that puts their bin out first – also known as a binfluencer and I actually love my post baby body. The three things that I didn’t like most about my body: my boobs, my belly and my thighs – I actually love now. Which is one of the reasons why I know I’m going to like this new me!

Love Emma x

To my son:

Happy three months on this earth Xander James Halliday. I love getting to know you each day and getting to know more about me through you. You make me feel like your mummy the most when I’m sneaking out of the bedroom once you’re asleep and descending the stairs with your dirty laundry. You have unlocked a whole new level of vulnerability I have to face and I look forward to going on that journey hand in hand with you. I will not always be confident as I grow into this new role but I promise I will always do it with love. We did it. We completed our first season!

Love Mamma x