Because they’re worth it
by Julie Alpine-Crabtree
It’s been a while.
I was going to write about my post-pregnancy hair loss. About how, after losing handfuls of it for months, I panicked and got myself a £13.50-a-bottle L’Oreal Kerastase “densifying shampoo” habit. How, without thinking, I washed my bush with it too and now have a ‘fro down below and no money for the kids’ winter thermals.
I was going to write about some of the dives I’ve walked past recently that have signs in the window saying “Now Taking Christmas Bookings”. About how incongruous these signs look. About how I wanted to get a Christmas Bookings photo blog started and have people contribute to it.
I was going to write about how my toddler has started refusing to call certain things by their correct name, saying “me want call it” something else instead. About how his “Puppy” soft toy now only answers to “Bunny”, how the number ten is the new number five, “purple”, the new “pink”. About how confusing all of this is. And about how Mummy will from now on be referring to fig martinis as “milk”.
I was going to write about the two new lion cubs at London Zoo.
But I haven’t because it’s all been about work deadlines and baby mealtimes. Cleaning up shit. About having a giant, non-stop bad-hair day.
There I was, so anxious about the sea change of going from woman to mother, so terrified about the physical degradations that pregnancy and birth would exert upon me, so unsure if I should be doing this at all, that for me, surviving the childbearing years became the focus. My expectations were so poor that I’ve had a smile plastered across my face for most of the last three years. “Wow, so that’s what morphine feels like.” “You mean babies sleep 16 out of 24 hours?” “So it is possible to lose the baby weight, even after a pregnancy diet heavy on the Monster Munch, moussaka and double cream!”
But then what? Bang. Bye bye to summer. Hello to a toddler who’s testing his boundaries big-time and a baby who is not afraid to attempt daredevil stunts the minute my back is turned (and to the knowledge that one day in the not-too-distant future she is going to run, and not just run, but run in the opposite direction from her brother. Near a busy road. That they’re both going to be teenagers…) To not enough sunshine outside, not enough space inside. To not wanting to get up in the morning. To getting up but never keeping up.
Do you know how long it’s been since I read a book? I have got to stop having my single library book reissued and just take it back. Unread. It’s been four times now and it has only just dawned on me. This is not a temporary blip:
CHILDBEARING IS NOT THE MOST DIFFICULT BIT.
Talk about shortsighted. Now I’m running around trying to wrangle a toddler intent on sticking raisins up his nose, a baby girl who will only sleep in the parental bed, attached to my nipple, and everything else. Holidays are no longer holidays and long lies in the morning are a foreign land. There is no time off for good behaviour.
Please, somebody tell me this is just a bout of SAD. That my energy/resolve/ability to cope is going to resurface before Christmas. Before spring. Before my two reach school age.
Otherwise, there’s going to be a hell of a big pile of Saturday newspapers waiting for me on my return.