Today as I dragged my tribe kicking and screaming into the supermarket for emergency supplies I saw, out of the corner of my sleep deprived eyes, a lady standing back to let me pass. She was looking at me expectantly with a look that seemed familiar, but which I just could not place. It was then that I saw the baby car seat clasped firmly in her hands, and I was hit with a sudden overwhelming memory about what it’s like when you have your first baby.
Being pregnant for the first time was frankly awful. I spent the whole 9 months vomiting all day every day while working full time when what I actually needed to do was sleep full time. However, being pregnant makes you SPECIAL! Strangers that you pass on the street suddenly stop and ask questions all about you, people give you their seat on trains, and you can eat clotted cream to your hearts content (replaces the calories lost as you aren’t drinking wine every day).
When I pushed my little bundle into the world (it was not dignified, not dignified at all) I remember actually thinking that no-one in the whole entire universe had ever done anything as clever as I just had. The fact that someone else was screaming at the top of their lungs in the neighbouring room could not damped my belief that I was some kind of miracle, not only clever enough to grow a whole person with arms, legs a head and ‘bits’, but actually able to eject it from my body as well.
When I began to explore the world with my little bundle (usually to be found screaming in a rage in my chosen mode of transport – we called it purple face as he would get so mad he turned a kind of purple) it was at first very daunting. Once I actually stood and sobbed in the supermarket queue because he wouldn’t stop crying, and at least 10 judgemental sod pants had felt the need to comment on my predicament, but not one of them helped me pack my shopping. As he grew a little, he got better, probably because I stopped being so terrified of invoking his displeasure at any moment day or night.
In that moment today at the supermarket , I remembered being exactly like the lady I saw today. I knew that she was still enjoying that amazing feeling when you are a new parent to what you are certain is the most precious little being on the planet. As I passed, I saw her check to see if I looked into the car seat and admired her little bundle (which of course I did). As I carried on into the shop, I could almost feel her beaming smile of pride.
The thing is, you only ever get to live it once, but it’s a totally amazing sleep deprivation, wine drinking induced fuzzy feeling that’s truly a once in a lifetime experience. Having your first real little baby, you know, dressing it and yourself in co-ordinating Arran knits so people will coo, having a car seat that isn’t covered in milk and banana and baby vomit, a blanket that is the right colour for the sex of your current baby rather than your last one. Once you have four of the little darlings, including two that came together, you really don’t care what anyone thinks. Everything is unisex including pink and blue garments, stains are fashionable, people should coo because you actually made it out of the house alive with the tribe even if you are all covered in spaghetti bolognese and baby pooh, and hair brushing was so last season. You just want to get the shopping done without blood loss or breakages. So to all the new or expectant mothers out there, enjoy it while it lasts!
(Did anyone else get the fuzzy feeling thing or was it just me being weird again?!?)