The following guest post comes all the way from the UK!
Kate Thompson is a 43 year old Mum of two gorgeous girls, Emily, 14 and Lauren, 8. She’s been married to her husband, John, for 20 years and lives on the North East coast of the UK. She works part-time during school hours but is also a full-time Mum. This is one of her stories:
Newly pregnant with my first daughter in 2003, I was eager for advice, and soaked up both “What to Expect when You’re Expecting”-type books and the real experiences of well-meaning people in my life like a sponge. The wealth of advice on offer was sometimes dizzying, but the nub of it all seemed to be that my Life Would Change. It’s the biggest cliché in all the clichés of impending new motherhood, but I was assured that this was most definitely true. And it was.
My name is Kate Thompson, I am 43, and I am a ‘rules’ girl. You know, a homework-always-submitted girl. A-work-deadline-never-ever-missed girl. I’ve never fallen asleep in my makeup (you get the picture). So, when I shoved open the hospital fire door at 2 am (complete with its “Do Not Open This Door” notice), one-handed and two days postnatal, I should have known then that my life was going to run a bit…differently.
I was one-handed as held carefully in my other arm was all 6 lbs 6 oz of my daughter, Emily. She was tiny – skinny and long – with a pointed, elfin face and the biggest brown eyes with luxurious curling lashes. In other words, she was complete perfection. And I had decided – after a difficult, three-day labour where serious mistakes were made by a novice midwife (resulting in a 2-litre blood loss and surgery for me, and resuscitation for Emily) and two disorientating days and nights on a maternity ward – that what we both really, really needed was Fresh Air.
Never mind that it was November in the UK and about 8 degrees below zero. Never mind that all I was wearing was a fetching pink maternity nightdress, slippers and a canula. I should note here that in an early fist-pump to my motherhood skills, Baby Emily was significantly better dressed than me in her going-home suit, a way too large knitted hat and all the blankets off my hospital bed. After the sweaty fug of the ward the cold air thrilled my lungs and, after five days and nights with no sleep, I felt myself wake up again. I lifted my head and the infinite night sky arced over us, fantastically dotted with stars. Emily was fast asleep, her big eyes buttoned shut. I wondered, where to now?
The answer floated down like a feather to my fuddled brain. Home! Home to quiet, home to a cup of tea that tasted like tea, home to Emily’s brand-new Daddy. I pictured us walking, just me and Emily, together, as the busy main road unfurled in front of us like a spool. I imagined opening the door quietly, climbing the stairs, clambering into bed – my own bed! – the two of us curling up behind my warm husband like a comma while he slept. Groggily, I headed for the tall metal security fence which bordered the car park.
Of course, they stopped me. Of course, the extremely loud alarm on the door alerted the night staff and I was led, protesting, but very quietly (so as not to wake the baby) back to the ward. And, best of all, the next day they discharged me as the youngest and kindest of the midwives saw just how miserable I was at the hospital. Exhausted but exhilarated I fell feet first into new motherhood.
And here I am, almost 15 years later, with two beautiful girls (my second baby, a ‘rules’ girl just like her Mama had an immaculate 23 minutes elective caesarean delivery with no complications). Yes, my Life has Changed. But infinitely for the better.