I never really understood motherhood before now. My brother-in-law called it ‘The Conspiracy of Parenthood.’ It’s been said that it’s like a big club that you think you know the membership rules for. You join and discover actually that it’s nothing LIKE what you thought. And there’s a baby-shaped bouncer on the door and you can’t get out.
I’ll never cease to be grateful for the fact that the other clubmembers that I have met so far, though, are FABULOUS…
The Boy and I signed up to antenatal classes for the information only. He spends so long seeing ill children in hospitals for work that his version of normal is COMPLETELY skewed. I was not going to rely on his interpretation of ‘regular deliveries’ to manage our own. The teacher started the first session by saying ‘I know you’re all here to make friends but I hope you find some of the information I have to give useful nonetheless’…I remember feeling that the coincidence of similar-timed pregnancies does not make the basis for a true and lasting friendship. Or, the more crude way I put it at the time ‘Just because we all had sex that month doesn’t mean that we have to get along’.
How wrong can I have been??
I also recall a visit from my husband’s brother and his young family a month before Tilly arrived. I was brought various accoutrements that had been found useful when their, now 2 year old, son was first on the scene. I happily dismissed the breastpumps and birthing balls with a naivety that makes me cringe now. The flippancy must have been rather amusing (or galling) to witness. I admire my sister-in-law for biting her tongue and not beating me over the head with my innocence. These days, the Boy and I can barely get started on a glass of wine with an un-babied friend before we are disgorging all manner of vivid trivia of ‘generic leakage’ and divulging all the secrets of the club to the blissfully ignorant non-members.
The horror, excitement, trauma and worry of the experiences that we have shared have allowed me to form friendships that I don’t doubt will last longer than one of Tilly’s nocturnal feeding sessions. And that’s saying something.
I’m honoured to become a member and join the ranks of uninitiated, unknowing and uninformed, surviving the daily assault courses of decisions, debacles and delights that motherhood seems to be.
In my last few weeks in the office, I was asked a few times what I would do with my ‘time off’. I joked that I might put the baby in a drawer and go travelling. I have so far managed to get dressed of a morning but frankly, leaving the house is a right of passage each and every day.
And so I will never cease to be grateful for the new found friends. With cake. And wine. And many and varied shoulders to cry on. The tears are by no means limited to the babies. But neither are the gurgles and the occasional glimmers of laughter to come.