It’s been almost a year since we welcomed our new little friend, Grayson, into the world… I can’t quite believe it.
I don’t think it will ever completely sink in that I’m a real life ‘mum’ now… It feels like only yesterday that I was cycling in circles on our driveway and demanding that Mum made my pony tail as smooth and bump free as Shanna’s from school – which, sadly, she never did quite manage! Perhaps I don’t feel like a ‘proper’ mum yet because Little G hasn’t said it out loud… Typically, he’s said pretty much every other syllable besides ‘ma’.
As Grayson’s first birthday fast approaches, I’ve been reflecting on this last whirlwind of a year and how it’s shaped me and my values. It’s hard to put into words what becoming a mum does to you, but if I had to try I’d say it dissolves a big part of you to make way for the new person in your life. The things that matter seem to change almost overnight. All of those small sparkling trinkets adorning shop windows that once dazzled me with their promise… all of that and more can now be found in just one tiny moment with Grayson. In this year my whole life has changed; I’ve started my own makeup bag business, filmed my life each week for thousands of people to watch and, of course, become a mother. I feel like I’ve been watching my own life fly past me and I desperately want to press ‘pause’ and just soak it all up!
There is a lot about becoming a mother that sometimes people don’t want to talk about or share… It might be embarrassing things, or things you aren’t ‘supposed’ to say or think, but after uploading a video of myself giving birth, I think I can safely say that I’m not embarrassed to be honest – so, I’m going to be.
Being a mother is the hardest job I have ever had, and is a lot harder than I anticipated. It’s challenged me in so many ways, but is the most rewarding and magical thing. I feel totally blessed to call Grayson my son. I want to savour every tiny moment and cherish every cuddle, when he rests his little ridiculously round head on my shoulder. He really is my world; I love how I feel when I’m around him, and I love him more than I ever thought could be possible.
One of the many beautiful things about motherhood is that you actually want to give yourself to your child. Sure, there are still those days where I need a little ‘me’ time, but that’s totally normal. At first I felt so guilty for feeling like I needed time for myself, but now I understand that it’s okay, that I’m still my own person. I’ll admit, though, 99.9% of the time, all I want to do is be around Grayson, even when we have tough days and all he wants to do is scratch my face and pull my hair (yes, he can be a little savage sometimes!) Even when I’m away from him for just a couple of hours, I miss that little guy like crazy. Heck, sometimes I miss him when he has a long nap…
Back in those early days, though, those first couple of weeks after having Grayson were definitely the hardest, both physically and mentally. I think no matter how much you read or how ‘prepared’ you think you are, nothing can truly prepare you for life with a newborn. We were thrown into this crazy world of nappies, sleepless nights and extreme emotions. The realisation that you have a tiny little person who is utterly dependant on you can be pretty daunting, and slightly terrifying! At the same time, your body is recovering from a pretty traumatic physical experience.
I was very lucky with my water birth; everything went completely according to my birth plan (despite my begging for drugs in any form), but honestly, the part I was in no way prepared for was recovering from birth. There wasn’t very much about it out there that I could find to read – well, nothing completely honest, anyway, and I didn’t have any close friends with babies whom I could ask.
For me, recovery was worse than child birth itself – a pretty big statement to make, I know (I’m sure my husband will disagree here, too). I chose to stay overnight in hospital, which was something I never imagined I would want to do, but my whole body just felt broken, exhausted and weak. I remember looking down at my swollen hands and crying hot, wet tears of shock. I just wasn’t mentally prepared; I had no idea what to expect, or what was normal. One of the main issues for me was that, for the first two weeks, going to the bathroom became terrifying, as I knew how badly it was going to sting (the squirty water bottles I left in the bathroom were life savers). Even when you don’t want to go to the bathroom, you can’t avoid it; unfortunately, you just don’t have very much control over yourself for a while, and little accidents do tend to happen every now and then. I wish someone had told me at the time, “this is normal”, because it’s really not a big deal, and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, as almost 70% of women experience some form of light bladder weakness during or after their pregnancy. I know for a fact that one of my mummy friends suffered from it too, it’s just not commonly spoken about. There are also ways you can make it more comfortable and less of an inconvenience; I found that Lights by TENA were my saviours for this, they’re designed specifically for a little light bladder weakness and are so discrete you barely notice you are wearing them. I mostly found that those little ‘oops’ moments… you know when you laugh hard?! So I suppose, in a way, it was a good thing!
But of course, it goes without saying that the hard times and difficult physical recovery came alongside all those hazy, magical little moments we shared in our first few weeks of becoming a family: evenings where the three of us would curl up and fall asleep in a big pile together; the first time we ever took Gracie to the park to show him a little bit of the world; his first smile; his first proper crawl… all captured forever on camera. So much has happened in such a short space of time, and it feels as though the year has just flown past us, like I could have blinked and missed it.
Since Little G was born, my husband Stefan and I have filmed and logged our lives as new parents every single week on my YouTube channel.
It’s like a little digital diary for us; you really get to see the ups and downs, and it’s a truly honest account of what becoming a new parent is really like. It’s something that I’m proud to say I’ve done, and I really hope that it has helped other new mums. Now, I’m even lucky enough to be able to call it a job; I’ll never be able to show enough gratitude for being able to stay at home, look after Grayson and film our lives together. It’s something I love doing, and sharing with you.
Now it’s almost a year later, our days are filled with simple, but wonderful moments. Moments that we love capturing on film so that we will be able to re-live them one day. Each day, G’s little personality shines through a bit more, and every day I get to watch him grow and learn. With each month that passes, I think to myself, “this is my absolute favourite age so far”. I love seeing the little person Grayson is becoming; he has such a cheerful nature and is a bundle of energy – he doesn’t sit still for a moment! He now enjoys turning the pages in his books, playing with his puppets, having his playpen built into a fort (I secretly enjoy this too) and not to mention food – food in any form! One thing is for sure, my boy certainly has a good appetite on him… He also loves to stand up at any opportunity, on anything available… we think he’ll be walking pretty soon!
And me? I finally feel like I’ve got control of my body back. I feel happy with my figure again, although it has taken a long, long time to get used to the changes that come with having a baby. I’m now able to have a decent night’s sleep and run my little make-up bag business and blog too, without having to survive on ridiculous amounts of coffee! I feel like we’ve really grown and settled into a proper family, something I’ve longed for, for as long as I can remember.
It’s safe to say that Grayson’s first year in the world has been a crazy one, for all three of us. So far, motherhood has been everything I hoped it would be, and more. We’re looking forward to seeing what adventures our next year together will bring.
*Disclaimer: I worked with Tena Lights on this blog post. All opinions are, as usual, honest and my own.