My focus was always so much on getting pregnant, staying pregnant and having a healthy baby that I didn’t really stop to consider what it would be like to actually be a mother, which probably sounds a bit daft.
Oh, I imagined taking him or her to museums, eating family meals together or that the first day of school where I was stood sobbing at the gates while my little bean no doubt raced off without a backward glance – the big stuff. But the day to day detail of actually raising a child was not on my radar. Although maybe it’s the same for all parents, no matter if they have suffered losses or not?
While I always knew, on a basic level, that Freya would one day, all being well, learn to smile, laugh, blow raspberries (see the video as she learns this essential lifeskill), talk and walk, I never understood what it would actually mean to witness her do those things – the sheer joy and pride I would feel in each achievement.
These days, at 14 months, it’s like I go about with my eyebrows set to permanently surprised and, with each thing she does, I marvel anew at how she has managed to learn this stuff.
For example, as I was putting on her shoes yesterday she reached down and did the Velcro strips up herself and I sat back and just looked at her, stunned. She grinned at me. This tiny, simplest of things, felt like the equivalent of her becoming a chess master.
Then, the other day, we were reading a book about Old MacDonald and she pointed at him and said, as clear as day, Bobby (this is from Bob the Builder whose dad calls him Bobby, which I think is cute so I call him that too).
Her grandparents bought her a doll for her birthday and almost immediately once it was unwrapped she took the bottle and started feeding it without ever being shown (for this reason we have got her a tool kit for Christmas in the hope she will miraculously start doing all the DIY waiting for someone handy to get to them).
When I strap her into her pram I usually say “click click” when I do the buckle up but she recently beat me to it. I was so shocked I actually stopped and said: “Did you just say that?” As if I expected her to respond (I spent the next five minutes trying to get her to repeat it but to no avail.)
Then there is the whole walking thing. Because of her reflux, tummy time was a big no no and she had rolled over once by the time she was nine months. I was relaxed about her being a late developer but then at 10 months she crawled, at 11 months she took her first steps and by 12 months was walking properly.
I could go on and on. I know none of these things is Earth shattering and before I had her if a friend had told me her baby did the Velcro up on her shoes I would probably have thought: “Yeah, and?” but for me the wonder has been such an unexpected reward.
I know you’re not supposed to post about such things for fear of being boastful but I don’t mean it in that way and maybe we sometimes misunderstand people who do write about Janey taking her first steps or Steven saying her first word? Maybe, just like me, they are simply thrilled at what a privilege it is to be able to see and enjoy these little things as they happen?
What do you think? Is it ok for parents to share little details of their child’s development or not?