And just like that, he turned one.
The past twelve months have felt a little surreal. A dizzy dream that I could wake up from in an instant, ready to believe that the memories and treasured moments never really happened at all.
Maybe it has been the sleep deprivation, or the dips and skyrockets of hormones, or maybe it has something to do with the way life has so drastically and unexpectedly flipped on its head and I am still struggling to catch my breath, to keep up, to take it all in.
Because if I am completely honest with you, I wasn’t prepared for the realities of motherhood at all.
Those early days and weeks were tinged with excited visitors coo-ing over the baby whilst kindly flickering their eyes away from my pepperoni areolas every time my newborn screeched for a feed.
They said well meaning things like ‘this bit goes so fast, enjoy it!’ and ‘oh, this bit is just so magical!’ and ‘wow, you must just be so full of love right now!’
And I was, and I wasn’t.
I mean, I felt a fondness for the squishy pink thing who found his indefinite home on my chest, and a want to protect him, to keep him safe from the world.
But the love wasn’t so overwhelming that it made me cry with happiness.
More I cried because the minute the darkness of night started to creep through the curtains I would fill with dread for another night with no certainty of sleep.
The early days both broke me and made me. They made me feel at my very strongest and yet at my very weakest and I wasn’t ready for just how much bringing a life into the world would upheave everything I knew about both myself and my world.
The two emotions I felt most heavily in my day-to-day new mum life were loneliness and guilt.
The idea of waking at maybe 4am or 5am and having an entire stretch of daytime to fill without adult conversation sometimes felt like it would crush me whole. That I would have sole responsibility for feeding and looking after something so small without having someone physically there to bounce parenting ideas off or talk about the weather with was something I really struggled with.
And then I would feel guilt surging through my veins at the idea that I wasn’t loving every minute of motherhood the way I thought I should.
I wanted to be a natural mum, the way I had assumed I always would be.
I wanted it to come easily, the feel like the most lovely, light, pure thing in this world.
And when it didn’t, and when I realised how much of my happiness and self-worth was tied up in my career, in my blog, in my online community, the guilt became even more hideous.
Why would working make me feel happier than my own little newborn baby?
But it is with time and space that I have realised every emotion I have ever had around motherhood has been completely and utterly valid.
It is fucking hard.
And to admit that does not make you a failure.
To admit that you thought it would be a bit easier and that you’d be better at it, does not make you weak or make you a bad mother.
Now that I have emerged from the fog and have somehow found myself with a toddler (I mean, I’m in shock just as much as the rest of you – had to Google that just to check that yes in fact toddlerhood does begin at 12 months), things are a heck of a lot easier.
This age is just phenomenal. He’s performing new tricks every day. Making new sounds, showing off new actions, smiling at new things, and it’s just, aww man, it’s just bloody lovely.
And now I am crying.
And not for dread of night time.
But at how bloody hard and hideous points in the past year have been, but how beyond grateful I am to have Atti in my life.
To have made it through together. He is just the best and sweetest thing that has ever happened to me and I am forever indebted to the universe for bringing him to me.
His cheeky toothy grin, the way he says ‘babba’ when I pass him his dolly, the way his eyes light up whenever he hears and sees the opening credits to Paw Patrol, the way he devours pasta and cheese with pure passion, the way he puts his little head on my chest when he gets shy.
He is the world.
But he’s also changed the way I view myself. I no longer believe I am capable, based purely on the gut instinct that I could or can do great things, now I know I am capable. From the moment I was calmly wheeled down to the lifts that would take me to theatre to deliver him after 30 hours in labour, I felt strong and I knew I was a mother fucking bad ass superstar.
So happy birthday my darling Atticus, you are all I could have ever hoped for and so, so much more.