I always tell myself change is opportunity – usually in moments of high-stress change, like moving country, learning a language, losing a job.
Today, as I sat here rejigging my CV with a sleeping Lola draped luxuriously across my lap in front of my computer, it occurred to me that two particular things have changed lately (aside from becoming a mother, the big one).
Number one is that I have become a MUMMY BLOGGER. Everything circles back to Lola at the moment – yes, my frame of reference will always be that I arrived in this place having struggled with infertility – but what consumes me at the moment are Lola’s sleeping patterns (abysmal), her health and development (robust and coming on nicely), and where life goes from her, given her presence (shrouded in mystery).
I haven’t written here for a while because I feel guilty about that. And on Twitter too. I have gone from being desperate to have a child and terrified I never will, or worrying about the health of that little foetus, to the fulfilment of that dream. Every day I drink her in, take delight in her smiles and laughter, her cool fat cheeks and that baby scent that everyone talks about. It is the most precious, precious thing. And yes I worry and get stressed and tired and all the rest, but the bottom line is and always will be that I am just so incredulously grateful that she’s here, and she’s happy and healthy.
This leaves me feeling conflicted on Twitter especially, where so many women I’ve never met in real life have been absolute rocks for me during dark times, and where I hope I’ve been a help to them too. Many of them have been lucky in the end and are now parents. But some, including some of my very favourite friends, are still struggling, or are facing bravely the prospect of a child-free life. Nothing I can say can change those realities and I feel so sad about that, and also something like survivor’s guilt, I think. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it – why did it eventually work for me, and not for these lovely brave women I’ve come to know?
So the transformation into a mummy twitterer and blogger feels awkward. I don’t want to make things any tougher for my friends, all of whom have been so supportive of Lola and genuinely pleased for me, I have to add. I don’t want to lose those bonds, or to add to their pain. But it seems most of what I have to say at the moment is babycentric. I think the answer has to be to warn readers that I’m in this phase at the moment so no one is being ambushed (or bored stiff by) by constant baby stuff. And also to try to think beyond this theme, too.
The other big change I’m facing is a career one. Thanks to evil boss (see previous entries), I will be changing jobs in the very near future. I’m not sure what the new job will be; or whether it will entail another intercontinental move, finding a new house, new circle of friends, and all the rest. For the first time I’m attempting to make a career decision considering what’s best for my baby and my partner. All of those singleton years, it was just a matter of what seemed like the best, most fun job and place for me. London? Sure. New York? Fantastic! Peru, why the hell not?
My career has always defined me, I think too much. Lola’s arrival has made me feel a lot less concerned about that – part of me worries I’ve lost all ambition and will make a disastrous career decision in this frame of mind. The other part wonders if this way is better? Suddenly I am thinking more ruthlessly about money, working hours and living conditions, because I want the best resources possible for her sake, the most time with her that I possibly can have, the least tension for Rufus and I in our relationship. Suddenly I think I am willing to compromise on “the most fun” and “the most fulfilling” job descriptions to secure these other things in my personal life. That’s a huge change for me. I don’t want to just switch to being completely defined by being a mum, either. I find myself mulling new projects that would give me freedom to be with her more, for instance. Hopefully her arrival can lead me into creative pastures. That would be a plus.
So far I have been a million, squillion times happier being Lola’s mum than I was in my career for the past few years, even though I was in my “dream job”. Funny how life takes you by surprise.