Recently I’ve been thinking about how my life has changed since Squidge was born and I’ve realised that while many things are different, things haven’t changed as much as I thought they had.
During my pregnancy one of my biggest fears was that my life after having a baby would be completely unrecognisable as the one I had before and that everything would be so focused on Squidge that I would cease to be my own person or have anything left for, or of, myself.
So here is my list of ways that life is different now that Squidge is part of it and the things that even the huge upheaval of pregnancy, a new baby and mental illness hasn’t been able to change.
Things That Have Changed –
Most of the flat surfaces and the lower cupboards in my house are suspiciously sticky (probably something to do with jam).
Missing mobile phones and remote controls are far more likely to be found in toys boxes than down the side of the sofa or any of the other usual hiding places.
The rug in the hall is brightly coloured and covered in lions, tigers and other jungle animals as opposed to the stripy (but tasteful) rug that was there before.
There are little hand prints all over the windows and mirrors as well as the bottom half of the fridge that never seem to completely disappear no matter how many times I clean.
I can go to work on four hours sleep, do a 13 hour shift and get up the next day to do it all again without bursting into tears and actually feeling reasonably chirpy after my relaxing (honestly) commute home.
If I don’t have yogurt in my hair or down my clothes, I’m either at work, Squidge is at nursery or we’ve run out of Petit Filous.
The washing machine seems to be running almost constantly and the spare room always seems be covered in laundry at varying stages of drying.
I have been known to eat my breakfast with a plastic weaning spoon because I can’t face the mountain of washing up and besides, the spoons are far prettier than the boring, grown-up metal ones.
Being able to read more than one page of my book at a time is a rare occurrence and considered to be a huge treat. Finishing s book in under a month (as opposed to a few days) has happened exactly once since Squidge arrived.
Reading the same children’s story for the fourth time that day is definitely not a treat but happens most days all the same, to the extent that I will hide certain books and then feign ignorance as to their whereabouts.
I no longer have a nice, neat office and spacious guest room; instead I have a nice tidy nursery and a very crammed laundry/overflow storage/guest room to put visitors up in when they come to stay.
Going to work part time to save my sanity (as well as save on nursery fees) is not the huge, career-destroying failure that I thought it would be.
I’ve remembered how much fun a simple things such as a ride on the train or a trip to the local park can be.
Things That Haven’t Changed –
I will still do just about anything for a lie-in and will resort to bribery and other underhand methods so that I can spend another half an hour with my duvet.
I am still far too fond of chocolate for my own good and can be bribed to do most things with the promise of Dairy Milk when all other methods of persuasion have failed.
My house still has cobwebs in all the corners, huge spiders setting up house under the TV table and random crickets committing hari-kari in my bedroom (the furthest room from the garden).
I still have precious time to myself to do my own thing or to just do nothing at all and having Squidge makes me appreciate this time as opposed to taking it for granted.
Both the Northern One and I would much rather celebrate a special occasion with a quiet evening in rather than a big night out because we are clearly old and boring before our time.
I’m still good at my job, even on the days where I’m so tired I fall asleep for a few seconds in the shower in the morning and my breakfast ends up consisting of an entire bottle of diet coke.
Gin and tonics are still a medicinal necessity most evenings (just for slightly different reasons).
The Northern One and I are still quite happy to discuss poo and equally icky things over meals and only realise how gross we are when we have non-medical/non-small-child owning visitors.
I still haven’t found the bottom of the ironing basket (nor am I likely to) and work shirts/uniforms are only ever ironed as needed. The only things that are ironed with any regularity are Squidge’s clothes
My car is still dirty, dented and full of crumbs and while it’s now full of baby books/toys/story CDs it is still my space where I can drive to work for half an hour in peace.
No matter how busy the day has been, how tired we are or how much Squidge doesn’t want to go to bed there is always time for a cuddle, just the Northern One and me.
Looking back at this list I can see that more things have changed than have stayed the same but I know my life is happier, richer and more fulfilling with Squidge in it. There are days when life is difficult; when we are tired, tempers are frayed and I long for just a few days without having someone wanting all of my time and attention but those days pass and once again Squidge brings the sunshine into our lives.
Louise is a full time mum, a part time neonatal nurse and award nominated blogger who has battled depression for many years but was particularly ill during her pregnancy. She lives with her husband (the Northern One) their little boy (Squidge) and their three guinea pigs who live in the kitchen.
Louise blogs at 23weeksocks (http://23weeksocks.com) about lots of different (and seemingly unconnected) topics that she’s passionate about, including mental health, antenatal depression, neonatal care and baby loss. She’s also involved in #MatExp (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MatExp/); an online maternity experience campaign that was formed to help improve maternity services in the UK. As part of this she hosts the #MatExpHour Twitter chat every Friday and would love to see you there.