From the minute my son was born I promised myself I would enjoy every single minute of his beautiful life.
I was in my 30s when I brought that little man into the world and I was ready.
During those 9 months of pregnancy I heard every shocking birth-related story imaginable.
Why do people think you want to hear those? Why do they tell you about pain and suffering and anguish when you’re enjoying the most magical time of your life as a woman?
Why does anyone need to tell me how hard it’s going to be, how I will become friends with real sadness, flirt with depression, cry myself to sleep?
I was not going to become one of those people.
Picture: Tambako the Jaguar
I would not turn my much-wanted child into an excuse for never getting out there and living any more. I would not blame him for us being slightly poorer or for the signs of motherhood etched onto my body.
It was our decision to bring this child into the world and I was going to make sure he knew how much we wanted him there.
There are countless whispers from mothers of how time seems to slip away and you’ve only to turn your back for a minute and they’re all grown up and chasing girls and dreams like they used to chase butterflies in the back garden.
I recall friends saying how, if they could have their time again, they would do this or say that or visit here or stay there.
I didn’t ever want to be saddled with those regrets.
And so I never once minded waking up at all hours with demands for his mama’s milk – I actually enjoyed sitting in the dark with his little fingers clutching at my dressing gown and the smell of new life in the air.
I never minded being housebound when he was ill and having to give up all my time to rock or soothe or feed.
I gave up a whole chunk of ‘me’ to make sure he had the best start in life and it brings me great joy to say that I can look back now with no regrets.
Sure there have been hard times. Of course there have, but I accepted them, ruminated on them and plodded on, leaving each of those hurdles behind.
Now my son is 6 and I am so proud of the young man he is and the gentleman he is becoming and I look forward to see how he navigates the rest of his life.
Of course at times I think, ‘wow, he’s nearly 6! Wasn’t I just changing his nappies and rocking him in my arms just a few months ago’, but now he’s moving on to an even better stage and I can’t wait to hold his hand while he’s doing it.
I am writing this because two very good friends of mine are just about to have babies of their own.
There are also a couple of daddy bloggers I read who are expecting.
All these dads to be and are setting off on that amazing journey that will be all-consuming, emotionally draining and, let’s face it, bloody hard.
They have probably had the same conflicting advice I was given. The ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were yous’ and the ‘in my days’. Everyone thinks they are an expert.
But I wanted to add my twopenceworth.
Enjoy every single moment. The crying, the crushing lows, the draining lack of sleep, the highs, the laughs, the heartswelling joy – embrace them all.
It won’t last forever and one day you want to look back on these times and say to yourself ‘I made the most of my child’s life and I have no regrets’.
So, what would your piece of advice be to anyone expecting their first baby?