Well. We did it.
We had those babies that were growing inside us when we all met, pregnant strangers in a draughty Sunday morning village hall somewhere back in the distant past.
All of us politely clinging on to the last remnants of our previous selves, before falling off the cliff that is new motherhood.
We talked about it. We wondered about it. We laughed at the anatomically correct drawings and played along with the tape recorded howls of agony as we guessed which stage of labour they represented. (MOO!! – Anyone? Anyone?)
We became confidantes, making plans to meet up to shop for unnecessary new parenting equipment, (cot bumper and matching facecloth anyone?) laying the foundations of a support network as we talked about birth plans.
We were some of the first to meet our brand new babies, comparing notes on labour (It’s actually not so bad. You’ll be fine! the unspoken code of the recently-birthed when talking to the about-to-births.) We held each other up through the first blur of early months, sleepwalking through the desperate fog of new motherhood and providing each other with a safe set of hands, a safe place to go, being our reasons to get up and out of the house. We carried car seats, you showed me how to burp my baby, we shared calpol, baby wipes and spare sets of clothes when needed – baby and adult. (Mental note: MUST stop shitting self in public.) We kept vigil by text at 4am whilst the world and our husbands slept and our babies did not.
As our children grew up, so did our friendship. Five buggies crammed into a supermarket cafe, several sets of inexpert breasts exposed, became regular lunches – back when we still thought that “lunching” would be an easy hobby to take up – our homes became second homes to one another, long delicious lost afternoons watching our children play, grow, smack each other on the head with hard plastic toys, and smear powdery orange child-snacks over every. god. damn. surface.
Our only children became brothers, sisters. We weathered sickness, illness, tears, tantrums, twins; this time a little more liberal with the gory details. We cried more. We laughed more. We drank more. We continued the futile pursuit of trying to get an entire line up of our children to smile for a picture at the same time.
And somewhere along the line, I realise that we are not just new mums anymore; we are old friends.
And I love you all the more for it.
So thank you, for holding my hands all this time. Because who are we now? We have changed. Those ‘normal’ selves that we naively thought we’d return to once our babies had popped out are long gone, replaced by a new us. Our bodies have changed. Our circumstances have changed. Everything is changed.
But I never knew the ‘before’ versions of you – all I know is the people you’ve been alongside me these last years, keeping me sane, making me laugh, loving my children with me – and for that I am forever grateful.
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