Baby brain

Tuesday 11 September 2012

As I sort of expected, my commitment to blogging has fallen by the wayside somewhat since giving birth in May. The newborn stage of having a baby is just a blur now - you have this creature that alternates between eating and crying (some people's babies also do naps but I seem to have produced one that isn't keen) and you muddle your way through it. Eventually you emerge from this stage having gained little chunks of your day back because said creature is managing not to eat non-stop and is learning to play.

Despite this, you still don't get a whole lot done. And this is hard. You go into this motherhood lark knowing that it's going to bring huge changes to your life. You're used to a busy job and an enormous to-do list, going to the gym, writing in the evenings and on your lunch break, attending events and conferences and staying on the ball, getting stuck in at church, keeping up to date with the news and blogs and always thinking, planning, getting stuff done. And all of a sudden, you consider it a huge achievement that you did the washing up and made the bed and only had to walk round the park for an hour before the baby would fall asleep. You think you might write about something but before you know it the day's flown by and the moment has passed.

I'm not going to lie - it can be really disheartening. Despite your love for that child and the amazing experience of watching them change and grow every day and the support from your partner and your family - it's difficult. Despite the new friends you make and the old ones you still see, it can be really isolating. On bad days, you wonder if something's happened to your identity, whether it went somewhere and whether you'll get it back - or maybe, it's just changed.

You read ridiculous articles like this one by Katie Roiphe and think "Crap, this is what some people think of me". God forbid that I should talk about or post pictures of this little person I spent 40 weeks creating and several hours birthing and now devote my days to caring for because he depends on me entirely. Hide me from your Facebook feed and unfollow me on Twitter and assume that I feel I don't matter any more and that my identity is my child, if that's what you want to think.

Last month we made our annual trip to Momentum. My favourite of the messages preached there that week was from Danielle Strickland, who flew halfway across the world with her four month old son in tow to tell us, among other things, that your circumstances don't have to be a barrier. She recalled women telling her:

"How can I do that? I'm a mother."

As if it was a problem that was going to stop them doing what they were passionate about. Danielle didn't think much of that.

"This is tough," I told God afterwards. "This is really hard."

It was confirmed to me then what I really did know all along.

"Don't worry. What you are doing now is really important."

Which doesn't mean that I'm not looking forward to really getting stuck into stuff again.


Jenny said...

Brilliant and oh so true. My overwhelming feelings in those first few months was - it shouldn't have to be like this. I have never wanted to live in a big collectivist commune more!
Thank you

Koralimba said...

What you are doing is really important. And before you know it things will be easier. My little one is only seven months old and already that newborn period seems many moons ago. I'm sure you'll find the same.

@kieraruth said...

Hannah, you're wonderful. Still so impressed you were there, camping looking after your family & the surrounding village. Seriouy hard core. Thanks for the honesty, always a great breeze of fresh air.

Hannah Mudge said...

Thank you for your comments everyone. I hear that once they're six months or so everything is so different! As you know it's the initial shock to the system that is so overwhelming! Kiera - surprisingly camping seems like a dream now compared to the four month development phase, argh!

Red said...

Only just seen this post (even with my youngest child now 6 years old I still fail regularly at keeping up with stuff!) But I really wanted to encourage you, that it does get better! or maybe I should say easier. and the thing is it's so easy to spend the early months and years feeling down that you can't do what you used to do, (I am so guilty of this) but as it has been pointed out this is such an important time! I don't think there is any easy way to get used to the massive life changes that baby brings, but just remind yourself that the all consuming stage doesnt last forever and actually you are probably gaining a whole new set of people to influence and reach too! You know it's that whole season thing - a cliche and I hate it when people bring that one out and now here I am doing it! But it is true, you've moved into a new season, not totally leaving everything behind, just moving to another stage.
Bless you :)

Hannah Mudge said...

Thank you so much for that :) I do have to keep remembering that this is such an important time and that as you say, things will change as he gets older. I think things are already improving bit by bit now he is almost six months old, but you know how it is! x

Anonymous said...

I could relate very much to this! (& not just because we are the same age and have the same first name!) To be honest, I just wish that I didn't need to sleep - when my son is awake I want to devote all my time to him, but everything else has fallen by the wayside considerably. I think becoming a parent forces you to re-prioritise everything, I used to have a full-time job and loads of hobbies and now if I can read a bit, keep up with my book blog and prevent my house looking like a rubbish tip I consider it a good week!


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