One Year On: The break up
This week my daughter reached the grand old age of One year old!
She also had lots of love and laughs with some of her favourite people.
To add to the series of firsts, she had her first half day at the childminder, and for the first time, I had to think about letting her go – just a little bit.
For a whole year we have been together. We’ve stayed at home and visited places; seen other people; played with friends; and she’s loved spending time with her grandparents. She is such a happy little girl. (Most of the time)
I’m so used to her giggling, clapping and smiling that I wondered why she got so upset when I left her at the childminder. I left her in tears. It was awful.
And then I cried!
Let’s face it, if I am crying because I have left her with someone she doesn’t know, no wonder she is upset!
She is only One year old, and here I am with 38 years more experience, crying at the same thing.
Probably for slightly different reasons.
This will be the beginning of many moments, when I have to trust, and let her go. And it’s hard; guilt ridden. And no doubt, it will get harder.
Just one year. Yet the world is so different.
We’ve been through so much already.
Before we had a baby I could never have envisaged what the first year would be like.
To begin with you have to survive birth, and the first six weeks of blood, pain and blur.
Then when it hits you that this is forever, and it is hard work, you take a deep breath and plan to make it through the first year. One step at a time.
I think I definitely had a rosier picture of Motherhood in my mind than the reality. No one can explain the sleep deprivation, you have to experience it.
The worry over every little thing, from their first cold, to their jabs.
Are they eating enough; drinking enough; is this poo the right colour, the right consistency? (It’s true, we all check the poo).
I couldn’t have predicted how I would feel; the highs and the lows.
You don’t think there will be lows when you longed for a baby for so long, but my goodness, it’s been an emotional roller-coaster for me. Why should I feel so low, when I have such a beautiful gift?
But some days, you just do.
I couldn’t have predicted how I would cope. One day it’s easy and all comes naturally, and the next my patience is tested to its absolute limit.
I never knew I’d love her so deeply, it seems like I feel what she feels. I can almost read her mind. (Apart from when I really need to, of course!)
I never knew I would get so cross about all the food that is chucked on the floor, yet I’ve had to make peace with having a house that is not as clean and tidy as before, and a lounge that looks like a playground.
I had forgotten that holidays would in fact not be holidays, but a military operation.
I hadn’t realised I’d almost never go out for dinner of an evening again!
Most of all, until now, I hadn’t quite dealt with the fact that she was her own little person and not part of me. She started as part of me, spent her whole first year with me.
I feel we experienced it all together. She developed her own little character and sense of humour, but it never felt separate.
Now I have to let her go, just a little bit at a time, to become her own person, of independent mind. Let her make friends without me. Gain a little confidence away from me. Let her begin the long journey of making her own way in the world. And I need to deal with it.
It feels like a mini break up! Who knew?
Just another step on the emotional journey of Motherhood.
We’ve achieved the first big milestone; and after some reflection back on the first year (and a little toast to survival), it’s time to look forward to the next one.
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