For my sisters, my sanctuary.
Sometimes it’s all too much, you’ve not slept properly in months, you spend half your life covered in sick or poo or mashed banana. It’s all a mess, the car, the carpet, the walls. You rarely get chance to text pre-baby friends let alone meet them and on the day you’re ready to have to cocktails you’re ill/daddy’s ill/friend’s ill. Cue tears.
There are a select few that can make you feel that not all hope is lost.
More likely they will laugh with you as you recount the time your placid wonder-baby transformed into a homicidal, hangry banshee in the middle of the supermarket/high street/shopping centre, laugh at you for putting your hand in poo or join you in a revolt against health visitors. I feel sorry for people who go through life without a sister and no, brothers are not better (women only say that because they wish they had a sister). I’ve been lucky enough to share my maternity leave with my sisters, 3 cousins born within 7 months, 3 new mummies flying through parenting at 1,000,000 miles an hour together.
I remember the health visitor incident like it was yesterday.
Hugo struggled with reflux almost as soon as he was born. On the day in question the health visitor was coming for her second visit, I’d been wearing my Ama Wrap with massive success. Baby was comfy, sleeping and I had it all under control. Everything went wrong. He screamed for 90 minutes solid. I cried for about 85 of those 90 minutes. I sounded like a psychology paper waiting to be written. The health visitor offered a me chaperone to a baby group at the children’s centre, repeatedly told me ‘don’t suffer in silence’ and tried to pick up my screaming baby while I went to make him some milk (way to trigger protective mother mode). She clearly thought I was suffering, holed up, alone, screaming baby all day, without a sole to turn to*. When she finally left I fed Hugo, he stopped crying and promptly threw up everywhere. I went to greet my sister, who had taken camp at my nan’s house next door. She took one look at me and knew what had happened, whether experience or intuition I don’t know.
You have to laugh.
We laugh about it now, the amount of sick that came out of Hugo that day was incredible. It was literally all over my house, when she came over she just cleared it all up, laughing, I can only assume in disbelief.
I feel honoured to have shared my experience with my sisters and their gorgeous babies. I admire their strength, courage and kindness. Between us I think we are rewriting the baby hand book. There will be countless tears, fall outs, and make ups but I couldn’t think of two better people that I’d rather share the ride with. Raise a toast to your sisters, your confidants, your army, on your side, fighting your corner, daytime, nigh time, every time.
See you soon ladies.
*Health visitors can often be the first people to diagnose pre/post natal depression, one of many reasons they are invaluable, even if we don’t all see eye to eye.