The first year of motherhood is emotional, crazy, stressful, wondrous, hormone-addled, exhausting, exciting….to be honest, mere words can’t really sum up what it feels like.
So…I decided to convey my version of a Mother’s first year….through the power of animals.
Month 1: The Naked Mole-Rat
Photo Credit: Meghan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
Never have you felt so vulnerable and exhausted. Those first few weeks are without a doubt the hardest. Like the naked mole you are up all night, your skin (especially nipples and vagina/caesarian scar) are all pink and sore and you want to hid away in your burrow. The only thing you don’t have in common with this little creature is that (hopefully) you don’t eat your own faeces. Instead you crave chocolate and cake. You are naked mainly because your emotions have never been so raw and free for all to see.
Month 2: The Scruffy, tired dog
Your baby isn’t sleeping much at night and you are one tired lady. You’re generally feeling a bit “ruff” (you could definitely do with a fur trim in more than one place) and your puppies are rock hard and sore still. You’d love to curl up in your basket and have a nap by the fire after a lovely dinner but you’re not really getting a chance. There are however a few tail-wagging moments of pure joy like when your baby smiles at around the 6 week mark.
Month 3: The Cat
Things are getting a tiny bit easier now and your baby has started sleeping more. You’re getting a chance to indulge in a (very tiny) bit more preening (ie you now have the confidence to actually leave your baby for a minute while you have a speedy shower) and if anyone annoys you (namely strangers/relatives who try to tell you how to bring up your baby) you now have the strength to stick your tail in the air and slink off in the opposite direction. You are still nocturnal but you’re kind of getting used to it now. You’re also slightly more confident about this whole parenting thing and have a bit more strength.
Month 4: The Monkey
Your little one is a lot more fun now and you’re finding him entertaining. You have fun trying to make him giggle and generally monkeying around. You’re also feeling a lot more sociable now and perhaps hang out with other Mums at play groups and classes. You might even go to Monkey Music? Life is still challenging but feels a bit easier than it did and you have a teeny bit more energy.
Month 5: The Fox
The subject of sex has come up quite a lot recently. Some Mums have apparently been at it for months but you’re still petrified of your lady bits (which you haven’t looked at since the birth.) You feel about as foxy as the mangey old stray in the garden but you might put some sexy underwear on and give it a go? Then again you might not!
Month 6: The Blue tit
The time has come to start your baby on solids. You spend your time lovingly preparing purees and become totally obsessed with whether you should follow the Annabel Karmel timetable or consider the slightly scary world of baby-led weaning. Either way, like the mummy blue tit you are the ultimate provider.
Month 7: The Meerkat
Like the nervy meerkat you’re possibly a bit on edge this month. You can’t believe how quickly your maternity leave is going. You’re really enjoying being a mum and the thought of going back to work is making you feel nervous and sad.
Month 8: The Busy Bee
There’s every chance that your little one has started to crawl which means you’re spending much of your time chasing after him. You’re getting more exercise than you have in months and the pride you feel now that your baby is on the move is sweet as honey. However, rather than buzzing with energy you’re blimming exhausted. (Your jeans also have rips in them from crawling around on the floor with your mobile little friend).
Month 9: The Butterfly
You’re finally getting the chance to have a bit of me time and this may be the month when you get your hair and nails done and finally go shopping and replace the hideous maternity leggings that you still live in with a pair of jeans. You leave the house as a caterpillar and within a matter of hours quite likely return as a beautiful butterfly. (You also feel hideously guilty for spending money on yourself and for leaving the baby at home but that’s another story for another day.)
Month 10: The Hump Back Whale
You’ve finally got the confidence to leave the comforts of the UK and take your baby abroad. In your mind you are a free spirited explorer like the Hump back Whale. In reality you spend most of your holiday hiding indoors to protect your little one from the sun. You’re still bloody proud that you survived the flight and the incredible challenge of packing!
Month 11: The Kangaroo
This is the month when it REALLY hits you if you’ve chosen to return to work. All you want to do is keep your baby as close to you as possible. If you were a Kangaroo he would be in your pouch 24/7.
Month 12: The Mole-Rat (take 2)
If you are going back to work this month you probably feel as vulnerable, nervous and naked as you did this time last year. You can’t believe how amazing your first year of motherhood has been though and in no time you’ll get used to juggling work and motherhood and you’ll feel a hell of a lot more human :0)