It’s a feeling like nothing else. It wells up from deep inside when I inhale your newborn smell, when your little head tucks perfectly in against my neck, or when your tiny fingers wrap around one of mine when I sleep.
Before becoming a mum I wondered whether I wanted to have any children at all. I wondered whether I could even be maternal or nurturing. I felt awkward around other people’s children. I was scared of babies – what if it cried while I was holding it? What would I do? What do you say to other people’s kids anyway?
I’d spent my years to date studying, working my way up the corporate ladder, travelling and looking out for myself. I had very little contact with anyone under 20, so it came as a shock to me when I hit 28 years and suddenly decided that, actually, yes I would very much like to have kids. My biological clock had started ticking with a vengeance. Luckily my husband had always wanted to have kids, and together, we plunged headfirst into parenthood.
These days, with a 4 year old and a 10 month old to chase after, I’m mostly tired. I have difficulty remembering things that aren’t related to my kids, and I can’t remember the last time I had a whole day to myself. Or even more than 4 hours.
However, when I stop and look at my little family, really look at them, I can literally feel my love expanding. As it turns out, I’m a tiger mum. I’m fiercely protective of my 2 little boys and I love them to the moon and back. When they cry, I know exactly what’s wrong and what to do, because I’m their Mum. When they laugh my heart lifts, and when they sleep my love is overwhelming.
My husband and I struggle to remember what life was like before kids, and what it felt like to have a full night’s sleep every night. I remember having the realisation when my first baby was about 6 months old, that, unlike everything else in life up until now, a baby is forever. It’s not a project you excel at and pour your heart and soul into for 6 months, or a year, and then recover from. It is endless. With every new year ticking by, new challenges arise (and we’re only up to the 4th year!). I’ve had to reassess my life and my priorities, and work out what is really, really important to me. I’ve had to learn to put my own wellbeing first so I don’t burn out. Nowadays I only spend time with friends that really matter to me, because I simply don’t have time (or energy) for anyone else.
My life revolves around breastfeeding, naps, food, cleaning up, and helping my two little boys grow into the amazing people they are meant to be. It’s a hell of a journey, and, as my husband reminds me sometimes, I’m a completely different person to the girl I was just 4 years ago. Life seems more real somehow, more tangible.
My heart is bigger, my body is more wobbly, and what I would do for the two little people that we have been blessed with is endless.