If I only I knew how much things would really change when this little life entered my world.
I had so much advice thrown at me while I was pregnant. Some of it was pretty good, some of it was pretty shit.
A good friend told me 'you find out who your true friends are when you have a baby'. There is so much truth in this, but at the time I thought, 'really?'. But f**k yes. Since becoming a mum, I've come to realise it's better to have a small amount of really good, close friends than a bunch of people you barely hear from. Some of my friends I considered myself close to haven't even met my son. But I'm okay with this – I've come to realise who my true friends really are, based on their actions throughout my pregnancy and the birth of Baxter.
I used to be that somewhat cautious friend. I didn't have a baby, so I didn't realise how much your life was turned upside down, especially in those first few weeks. I didn't want to be a clingy friend while they were sleep deprived, but I also didn't want to disappear off the radar and leave them wondering why. As somebody who has now been on both sides, the advice I can offer is to just be there: send a text every now and then so they know you're thinking of them, offer support where possible, and understand that they're probably tired as hell and won't respond straight away, or always be up for visitors. Know that they appreciate the invite out even if they can't make it – it's the thought that counts. After all, going out with a newborn is tough, being on time is a thing of the past, and quickly 'popping out' is no longer possible.
My love life was the next to get hit –obviously there's little 'us' time these days, as all our energy is focussed on our little man. We argue about the most ridiculous things and I put it down to lack of sleep (and patience, but I'll touch on that later). I don't love him any less – in fact, the day our son was born, I fell in love with him even more. It's tough, as we're both going through so much and adjusting to our new life as parents. We talk often and are both aware of the changes, which is the main thing. It is hard though, and I'm not going to sugar coat that. So make sure you set some time aside for you and your partner – it's so important to maintain some form of normality.
As for patience … what patience? I seem to have lost it in the delivery room, along with my dignity. I have the lowest tolerance for bullshit these days, from dramatic friends to opinionated people online (ironic, as I am one of them). I have so much more to worry about now, and have just found I simply can't be bothered with trivial things that are of such low importance. In return, I have so much patience when it comes to my son – I just seem to have lost it for everybody else.
I could have never prepared for how much I could love another being, how much energy I would devote to him, how much I would worry, protect and second guess my parenting decisions, all to do my best for him.
I've grown closer to my family – they've been amazing, and I love seeing them with him. I've gained some amazing new friends through our antenatal group, and have also reconnected with some old friends who now have kids.
Life changes so much, and I wouldn't swap it for the world.
What's changed for you?