The past year has gone so quickly, and it’s strange to think that I will be mother to a one-year-old in just over three weeks.
I remember the last few weeks of pregnancy. From about 38 weeks, all I could think when I woke was: “Will today be the day?”
I didn’t enjoy pregnancy as much as I should have. I found it hard thinking about the huge transition from Tamsin to Mum, and I was scared that I wasn’t ready. I found it hard to get to grips with my new body: Small, with a massive belly. Stretch marks everywhere, and thicker thighs with cellulite.
I was self conscious for a lot of it, having been proud of my size 6-8 body. I had felt attractive before, but during pregnancy, I didn’t feel like I was anything to look at. I was just a shell, protecting a tiny human being inside me.
Once Esme was born, I felt even worse. My once taught round belly was now jelly-like, and the stretch marks looked even worse. I had, and still have, a long road ahead of me if I wanted to get my body looking the way I wanted it to.
I’m almost there, but I still need to work at it.
Being a mum was hard. It’s not so much any more, it has definitely got easier. But I found it hard coping with the transition of just having myself and Al to look after. It felt like I didn’t matter as much as I used to any more, and that the only reason people would visit was to see the baby and not me.
However, a year later, I reflect on my pregnancy with a smile on my face and fond thoughts, of how Esme would wriggle about in my belly, and how I would dream about a faceless baby I couldn’t wait to meet.
I’ll always remember the day we brought her home. I’d already stayed one night at the hospital, and after being told I was going to stay another night after numerous promises of being able to go home, I cried.
I desperately wanted to go home, and when the staff realised this, they let me. I sat in the back seat with Esme the whole 45 minute drive home, watching her the entire time. Being a new mum, I was concerned about the heat levels, so had Al toggling the air conditioning dials throughout the journey.
We brought her home, and put her in her pink bouncer. She looked so tiny and peaceful. I felt ready for the next step: the night feeds, the bum changes – everything. I handled everything confidently, and didn’t often question myself.
It was only in later months I began to, when weaning commenced. I would stress over every little detail, and was told, I think, rather rudely (I might have just taken it the wrong way) that I should certainly not be feeding Esme baby food from a jar, especially if I wasn’t working, which I wasn’t. With that, I started cooking food for Esme.
It didn’t feel like she was tiny for long. She soon grew, and Al and I suddenly had a house full of baby clothes that didn’t fit our beautiful daughter. In no time, she outgrew her bouncer and her cat seat, and was sitting in a high chair eating finger foods, and saying Mum and Dad.
She started saying Dad first at around five months, and Mum a few weeks later and she hasn’t stopped saying them since. And now, at 11 months, she has a whole range of words! Her favourite at the moment is “mine,” which she shouts when pointing at things that are definitely not hers!
It was lovely to experience Mother’s Day and Father’s Day the first time around. I was given a lovely lie in, and when I got up, Esme was sitting on the sofa next to a card, a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates (I think! Could have been a candle), and I received my first card addressed to ‘Mummy’.
It was also really great to see Al spend his first Father’s Day with Esme. I can’t actually remember what Al had, but I know for certain he received a card addressed to ‘Dad’!
We decided to move house in October, and moved closer to our family and work. I miss our old house a lot – it was beautiful. There was never any noise pollution, and even though the small village we lived in always got the brunt of the weather, it was easy to maintain, and had a fresh look about it.
I think what I miss most about it, is it was small and compact. It was also, the place where I spent the majority of my pregnancy. My labour started there, and it was the place I brought my baby home to.
It will always have a special place in my heart.
Just like, the flat Al and I lived in when she was just a twinkle in her father’s eye. It was the first place in a long time that I felt at home. I absolutely loved it there, and Al and I spent perfect quality time with each other there.
Once we’d moved, it was time to start looking forward to going back to work. I was nervous, but I was looking forward to it. I think I might have lost my mind a little if I hadn’t found a little part of myself again.
We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year together. I loved every second of it, and even though Esme doesn’t know what’s going on, I’m pretty sure she was pleased with all the toys that were presented to her!
I remember thinking with disbelief the year before that I woud be welcoming 2016 as part of a family of three. However, when it came around, it didn’t feel strange at all. It’s a normal thing for me now.
And, with the little time left that Esme has being age zero, I’m starting to wonder if I can still call myself a ‘New Mum’? Am I still a ‘New Mum’? Or am I supposed to be a pro now?
I suppose, I can call myself a new mum to a one-year-old, because I’ve never had one before!
It’s amazing to have seen Esme grow. It’s been tough, but it’s all been worth it. She’s a beautiful little angel, and she’ll never know how much she is loved. And, I really, really wish she did.