Sometimes it feels like the cracks are growing across the surface of our lives, creeping slowly into the foundations and threatening to force a crumbling. Sometimes it feels like I don't have a firm hold on all the pieces and if I stop concentrating, they'll fall apart. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to wear the smile anymore.
You tentatively get out of bed and as you take each ritual step into the nursery you realise that your steps are a little lighter and the quick sand you feel yourself walking through most days is now more like a muddy puddle. Your head feels, dare you say it "clearer" and the morning routine not as daunting.
As heart-warming and as exciting showing off your amazing new bundle can be it can also verge on the exhausting and encroaching as you find yourselves overwhelmed trying to fit in everyone's visits whilst also wanting to cocoon yourselves in a world of just you, your partner and snuggles with the newest member of your family.
There is no woman out there who has gone through the life changing and shit scary ordeal of bringing a tiny human, kicking and screaming into the world that can hand on heart say they have not thought at least once that they are losing their mind whether it be the result of one of "those" days or the early signs of post natal illness.
According to the experts, when you have children regular date nights with your partner are the key to a successful relationship. Forget communication, mutual love and respect or not marrying a dick; apparently the secret to a happy and healthy relationship is to go on a date. At flipping night. But according to me (expert on nothing) this is rubbish. Here is why...
I wrote to Blackpool Council, incensed that I hadn't been simply moved on. The fact I was feeding at the time had magnified events and my humiliation. It's ironic, I thought, that Blackpool Council professes to encourage breastfeeding... While I waited for a response from the council (which I still haven't got directly) I became more indignant. The rude parking warden, his lack of sympathy and my own feelings of vulnerability and violation over the photos he took underlined how breastfeeding in public was a near impossible ask.
I would like to request to the national media that they do NOT bombard us with countless guides to Getting a Post Baby Body like A Pop star/Princess/Anyone Thin Who Was Once On X Factor, as part of their ongoing campaign to turn us into an image-obsessed, size zero society. Because, and I think I speak for a lot of new mums when I say, we don't actually give a toss.
Whilst the ability to access a wealth of information online should provide peace of mind for mums-to-be, the array of different sources available, all too often offering conflicting information, means that the internet may well be more of a hindrance than a help in this case, and bad advice is of particular concern when people are reading up on matters related to health.
Here is the contradiction: Society wants men to spend more time with their kids and families (believe me, at least once a week I get a comment like "Oh it's good to see daddy being in charge" when in public), but employers and government do next to nothing to support them. I believe we need some fundamental changes here...