The past 18 months has been a roller coaster & I couldn’t have done it without you.
A year ago, you all joined me at my Baby Shower. We played baby themed charades, drank lemonade & generally marvelled at the size of my bump. Oh how naive we were. It got so much bigger.
I think many of you would agree, I’m the sensible one. Perhaps even the rational one. (I can hear the Other Half screaming, ‘you’re not rational!’. But he knows Baby Brain Amie a little too well…)
Well, I have very few answers these days. And I’m not as available to listen as I once was. Often when you manage to get me on the phone, I have to go after only a few minutes because Baby Girl has trapped her fingers under a door or throws up on the play mat or, or…
My head is full of baby, baby, baby & when we meet up, I can hear myself going on & on about the lack of sleep, the food in my hair & the most adorable thing she did yesterday, & the day before that, & the day before that. And a part of me hates myself, just a little. Because I’m that person now.
In short, I haven’t been the best friend this past 18 months. I’m aware.
None of you have babies. A couple of you are married or engaged but many of you are single & living it large in London, Edinburgh, even as far flung as Thailand.
As I sink lower & lower into the quicksand of muslins [cotton cloths used for wiping up bodily functions], mashed food & brightly coloured all-singing-all-dancing plastic, our worlds, in many ways, move further apart.
None of you can really empathise with what I’m going through. And that’s ok, because a year ago I’d have gone, ‘errrrrrrrrrrrr………. It’s a baby… Run away!!!’
But none of you have said that.
I read other Mamas’ blogs, how their friends don’t understand; don’t have the patience; don’t want to know. And I’m struck by how lucky I am.
You all keep calling or texting or Facebooking. For some of you, we haven’t even managed for you to meet Baby Girl yet, but you still send gifts, check in from time to time or just send me a random picture of a cat in a taco costume – often just as I’m about to lose it.
When I was breastfeeding, none of you made me feel awkward – me, the die-hard prude. I was never banished to a corner of the room for fear of embarrassing anyone. (Though award goes to Josh who sat chatting to me about his sister’s twins asking if I’d decided to breastfeed, for me to reply, “Josh, I’m feeding her now!”)
And when I finally show up about 40 minutes late, you never let on you mind. You just seem pleased to see me. Which when it’s taken me three attempts to leave the house & I’ve battled the Central Line with a buggy, I really, really appreciate it.
Baby Girl is invited everywhere; brunch, dinner, birthdays; when I said we’d got her ear defenders, you even said I should bring her clubbing in the carrier. (I think that was in jest…) At a wedding in the summer, you were all just disappointed Baby Girl only stayed an hour. If anyone was silently relieved when my mom came to pick her up, you hid it very well!
So thank you, dear friends. Quite frankly, you’re awesome. It would have been so easy for you to write me off this year, to give up after the fifth text I didn’t reply to or just get bored of the baby chat. And I wouldn’t have blamed you.
But none of you have.
I haven’t slept for what feels like an eternity (funny, it’s currently 4:08am & I’ve been up for five minutes shy of two hours)& I haven’t managed to wash my hair in two days (which you know is my own, personal hell) & I’ve now sung Ba Ba Black Sheep on loop for the best part of a year. I can’t explain to you how much it means to know you’re all still waiting in the wings.
Baby Girl is 10 months old & I’ve found my Mama-groove. It’s time to find my Amie-mojo again. I will try harder to be there for you. Whether it’s at the end of the phone, turning up (likely with buggy in tow) or maybe just to send you a picture of a cat balancing on top of a man’s head.
And when your time comes, & you have a gremlin (sorry, ‘bundle of joy’) of your own, know that I will be there for you. Even though I’ll be long past this joyous baby stage, I’ll know in the early days to leave a lasagne (yes, Rosie, veggie & gluten free, we know) on the doorstep; I’ll hold your little one while you have a blessed hour’s kip & I won’t mind when they throw food at me. Because I’ll know what you’re going through. And I’ll remember that even when you didn’t know what I was going through you were there for me.
I love you all. Never change.
And keep sending me pictures of cats. I may not reply for three days; but rest assured, they often come through just at the right time.