My little dude turned two this week.
How did we make it to this milestone? There were times, back in those awful early days of motherhood when I was stuck in the fog of Postnatal Depression, that I’ll admit that I couldn’t even see a way though to make it to the next day, let alone two years old.
I can remember his birthday party last year. Turning one is a major moment in any baby’s life and for the parents too. It should be a happy day to celebrate with family and friends. It should be a day you look back on and smile about.
But I don’t.
I went through the motions that day, shared all the ‘good’ pictures on social media etc., but the truth is, I had a complete meltdown that morning. I had both sides of the family coming over to our small house to celebrate and the pressure of it just got to me. I was only really starting to begin to feel more like myself and still battling so much on the inside which I kept hidden. The feeling of being a failure as a mother, the feeling that I wasn’t a natural, that I didn’t deserve this, that I’d let him down at the start because I couldn’t cope.
The anniversary of his birth, just brought all of those feelings of being overwhelmed back to me and when he wouldn’t nap the morning of the party, I just lost it. I felt myself slip backwards, I felt the water rising again. Of course I painted on a big smile when the guests arrived, but I couldn’t wait for them all to leave. That burning feeling in the pit of my stomach was back and it terrified me.
Fast forward to his second birthday and the difference is staggering. I wasn’t stressed. I enjoyed the day. It’s a day I will enjoy looking back on.
I was able to stand there amongst my family and say, this is me, take it or leave it. I may not be the most together mother in the world. I may still have no clue what I’m doing. I may still be full of self-doubt at times and on occasion lose my shit. But this is me. I’m here in three dimensions now. I’m not drowning in feelings of being overwhelmed.
I’ve found myself again and I’m happy with role as mum. I think I’ve accepted the change in my life and accepted that what happened at the start was not my fault. I still feel guilt and probably always will, but it’s less crippling than it was.
I looked at my little boy running around laughing on his second birthday and my heart was as full as it has even been. I just love him. So damn much. And not just on the good days. I love him even when he tests my patience to the max, even when he has epic meltdowns, even when I want to turn in my badge in and resign; I still love him in my bones. He’s my first thought in the morning and my last one at night. He’s has this unbreakable hold on me. He’s this amazing, beautiful, innocent, delicious creature of goodness that somehow came from me.
Yes, I’m now a walking bundle of clichés.
But while I won’t say that I can’t remember my life before he arrived, because I can. Very well. I will say that I now cannot imagine my future without him in it.
Happy birthday love, you’ve changed me for the better and I thank you for it, every single day.