I was scrolling through some photos last week, from the first few weeks of this amazing new adventure. Those first few weeks now feel like a fog, a fog in which H and I (by H I mean my lovely husband, not H from Steps) coped and struggled simply to survive; to not drop the baby, to eat, to rest whenever we could, to not have a total sense of humour failure. Because sleep deprivation hurts. But of course it was also a time of utter wonder and delight, hours lost simply holding and gazing at Zee, overwhelmed at this little miraculous bundle we’d made.
And as I looked through these photos, I came across a couple of Zee and me, the kind taken where you hold your camera high up and away from your face, and hope for the best. These photos are of me holding Zee, he’s trying to eat my arm, somehow mistaking it for the boobie café. I am in a rolled up vest, my hair is scraped back, dark shadows cloud my eyes. But my eyes are smiling. I look exhausted. This is new motherhood.
It made me think of the moment in the Sex and the City movie (the excellent first one, not the disappointing second), when Carrie, jilted by her love, looks into the mirror for the first time. She is broken, make-up free, raw. Now I am not in any way comparing myself to the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw, who has been humiliated before she even arrived at the altar wearing a bird on her head. It’s just the image, and how real it is, which struck me. I recalled the first time I looked in the mirror after Zee’s birth, this enormous experience that left me looking and feeling like a shell of my former self. That’s what those photos captured. And I will always treasure their honesty.