There’s a moment in every new mum’s life. A sort of realisation. And it’s one we all remember, no matter how traumatic the birth or how strong the sedative. It comes right after your insides have been sewn back together again and all ten fingers and toes have been accounted for: You find yourself alone with your baby for the first time.
YOUR baby. Alone. Just you and her (or him).
I like to call this the, ‘Oh Shit Moment’. The culmination of nine months of hoping, wishing and waiting. And if you’re not lying flat on your back already then you’re damn close to ending up that way after it hits.
Time stops still. The rush of love you feel is more powerful than anything you’ve ever felt before. But it’s a different sort of love. It comes with a protective perimeter fence made of barbed wire and broken glass. There are checkpoints every few metres, manned by angry looking faces and loaded guns. Nothing and no one is ever going to hurt your baby.
You find yourself making promises you really, really want to keep: That you’ll always be there. That you’ll put them first above any work commitment. You’ll never miss a Sports Day or a Parents Evening.
Some of these will be honoured. Some won’t. But in that ‘Oh Shit Moment’ anything is possible.
After a few seconds reality starts to creep in, staining the edges of your ‘Oh Shit Moment’ like a spilt cup of coffee. There’ll be testing times ahead. Sleepless nights, worries over milk-production, nappy leaks in inconvenient places, inoculation fevers…
If you dare to look further then you foresee teenage arguments, slamming doors, tearful phone calls. Recriminations. The next twenty years flash forward like a television show. Like a rollercoaster. You try to hold onto the safety bar but your hands keep slipping away as if greased.
Baby stirs in your arms and that’s when it hits you. This ‘Oh Shit Moment’ isn’t going to be confined to these few seconds…
You’re a mother now.
This love is real.
This out-of-control feeling is permanent.