Saturday, 15 October 2016

Becoming Mum

It has all been a bit quiet around here because, well, I have been busy growing and birthing a new human! It has been the most extraordinary time. So extraordinary that I almost don't know where to begin in saying a single thing about it that doesn't sound horribly cheesy, dangerously honest (verging on a massive overshare!) or like a terrible cliché.

Becoming Mum has changed everything and it has changed nothing. After Luke arrived I realised that a part of me thought that I knew what I was doing in life (I know, hilarious right?!) A part of me thought I had things figured out, that I had experienced so much and that a baby was just another thing that I would approach in much the same way (I can hear all you parents laughing from here...!)

I had no idea that it would be such a radically different experience. That it would challenge so much of my character, my beliefs, the very foundation of my world. I didn't realise that I would feel brand new things that I had never felt before. I wasn't ready for the shock, for the terrifying love, for feeling like a tornado was running through my carefully organised world! How can you prepare for that?

And yet, though changed, I find that I am still completely, fundamentally me. All the challenges I face I do it with all the strengths and flaws I had B.L. (Before new measurement of all time!) I like the same things, I want the same things, I am passionate about the same things. I am not absorbed into a new world like I thought I might be. A new Mummy character was not bestowed upon me the day of his birth. I'm still funny old me – energetic, passionate, impatient, sensitive and prone to a grump. Now I just have a little person magnifying all I am, reflecting it back at me like a scary truth telling mirror!

I wondered if having a baby would involved me morphing into 'Mummy' and I would suddenly be overcome with the urge to get a sensible haircut and spend the evenings looking at OFSTED reports. But I am surprised to find that as much as I am changed by having Luke in my life already I am not defined by it. In the same way as I am not fully defined by being a daughter or a wife or a Priest, even, I find, a bit to my surprise, that I am not defined by being Mummy either. As much as I love being all of these things, I am more than any of them.

But, just as I suspected B.L., Luke is not defined by me being his Mum either. He arrived on the scene so fully and brilliantly himself as to leave me in no doubt of that! My job, I think, is to help him be the best version of him that he can be, certainly not to define who he ought to be. I want him to find passions. To carve out a life that means something to him because that is where I believe that there is real joy. My expectations, whatever they are and wherever they have come from are very much a side issue.

The scary thing though is where is he going to learn this passion in life from if he doesn't see it here, at home? The scariest thing about being a Mum so far has been realising that this little one will only know what I show him. He will only know love if I give it, he will only know kindness if I show it, he will only go out there and give life all he has with confidence and energy if he sees it here. So perhaps becoming Mum is really about becoming a bigger, better me. And that makes me think that life has just got very, very interesting indeed...!