Someone commented on an ‘Instagram’ picture I posted this week saying ‘you have a beautiful life’. They are absolutely right. I do. I live in a beautiful place. I have a gorgeous husband and a beautiful daughter. However, I am always really conscious of the Instagram filtered world that we create. We literally put filters on our photos to make them look better. We take 10 photos before we get one we like enough to post. We only post photos that show the highlights of what we are doing.
I have recently become a mum and find so much support in people being honest about their experiences. Yes, it is amazing. Yes, I adore my daughter. Yes, I find I cannot stop staring at her and find her unbelievably cute. Yes, I’m convinced she’s some sort of child genius. But my life has changed massively and adapting to that change hasn’t always been easy.
I cannot help looking at other peoples babies thinking they look so content and wondering why Zara can be so unhappy. I went to a post natal group where one lady insisted that she didn’t understand why people think having a newborn is hard. Every other baby in the group was fast asleep whilst Zara sat on my knee looking around and fidgeting. Hearing other people talk about what they find hard and those melt down moments encourages me and makes me think Zara and I are normal. Last week there were days when maternity leave involved wandering along the seafront with Zara fast asleep in her sling, catching up with friends over coffee and cake and seeing her really develop the little sounds she makes but there have been some absolute disastrous moments too.
On Wednesday we went to meet my parents for tea and cake. When we arrived I heard and felt Zara poo. My cake arrived and I completely forgot about the poo. A short while later she started to scream. I couldn’t for the life of me work out why. I tried all the usual tricks to calm her down and eventually managed but she really wasn’t happy. My mum very gently reminded me about the poo. I took her off to the toilets. No changing facilities. I lay her down on her little mat on the floor of the toilet and began to change her nappy. I soon realised that the poo was everywhere. It had somehow managed to explode out of the front of her nappy all up her front almost to her neck. In the freezing cold toilet I stripped off all her clothes which were covered in poo. The vest had to go straight in the bin. Zara, who usually loves nappy change time started to scream as though her head was on fire. I was desperately wiping all the poo off her whilst loudly trying to reassure her/the people outside the toilet who probably were about to call the police thinking something terrible was happening to the baby behind the door. “Oh dear, has mummy had to take off all your clothes to get you changed. It’s really cold isn’t it!” I said. My only saving grace was that I did have a spare outfit with me.
On Friday we had a lovely morning at Wriggle and Rhyme and then decided to walk into town with a few others for some lunch. Great, I thought to myself. I’ll put Zara in the sling, she will be exhausted after all the singing and jiggling about, she’ll have a lovely sleep. No! She howled and screamed and writhed around in the sling so much that I had to take her out and carry her in my arms. She didn’t sleep. She then proceeded not to sleep the whole time we had lunch (which was eaten entirely with one hand whilst holding/feeding her). Getting her back into the sling to walk back I was sure she would have to sleep now. Again, I was wrong and this time she decided to even scream if I held her. I had to do a 20 minute walk with her absolutely screaming and screaming. Passers by looked at me sympathetically and one woman even crossed the road to see if I needed any help. I still have no idea what was the matter with her! I got into the car and cried the whole way home…as did she!
So there we go. Being a mum is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to me but I am never going to pretend I find it easy. I can look back on incidents like this and see the funny side but at the time I feel like I’m failing her and feel like everyone is staring at me.
I saw a picture on Facebook of a man on fire with the caption ‘I’m fine’ and I guess we can all be like that. I’m not suggesting we all start posting pictures or statuses about the harder parts of our lives but I don’t mind being honest about the fact that I do not always have it all together!