A short time, and a long time. Time. Disappearing before my eyes. I look down at my little baby girl while she is breastfeeding. I stroke her patchy hair and run a finger along the soft skin on her face. Her eyes roll back slightly and close as she drinks. A flailing arm flies up and around as she reaches for my chin and runs her hand across my chest. I gently place my thumb in her palm and her tiny fingers grasp on tightly. Calm.
There was a time, not so long ago, when that little arm didn’t know how to reach and touch. Those little lips had to learn how to suck, and those big eyes had to learn how to focus. Now Baby chats and giggles and grabs. She watches and smiles and rolls. She knows she needs to crawl but she’s still figuring that out.
Before she was born I thought that by six months I would be a seasoned, capital M, Mother. Like the ones you see in the street dragging babies and kids and shopping in and out of cars. Turns out I am still just me, running round like a headless chook with a baby under my arm. I suppose those capital M Mothers I see in the street are just the same as me, learning something new every day. Trying to remember what you learnt the day before.
There is so much to take in it’s almost impossible. The best piece of parenting advice I have been given so far (aside from ‘trust your instinct’) is something my new and fabulous maternal child health nurse from the Gabriel Centre said to me…
She said, ‘Every night before you go to bed, take a few deep breaths. Reflect on the things you did that day – the good things, the not so good. Think about the good things you will do again tomorrow.’ That way, every day you are grounding yourself, becoming a better person, but not beating yourself up for making mistakes, just reflecting on them and letting them pass.