When you fall pregnant, and throughout the months that follow, to say you will experience an emotional rollercoaster is an understatement. I thought I’d seen it all going through cancer, but this is something else! What will being a mum really be like? What kind of mum will I be? Will I remember how to just be Abi, like I was before baby?
Just a few weeks into carrying this little bambino, and before I had even told anyone, one of my closest friends mentioned that should she ever fall pregnant, she would write a letter to herself.
A letter to remind herself of all of the things she loves to do. What makes her “her”. The things that make her life what it is, and how she loves it.
So here it is, I’m pinching that idea, and writing a letter to myself. I don’t have a clue what being a mum will be like, but I know who I am right now, and I’m pretty sure that person can be a good mum (whatever way I end up doing it…)
Today, as I write this I am 29 weeks pregnant.
I look back at that empty shell of a person I was 2 years ago, and I can’t actually comprehend that this is where life has taken me. Back then, I was facing an uncertain future, filled with Oncology appointments, scans and cancer treatment. I felt sad every single day for the family that I would never create. The family that cancer had stolen from underneath my feet.
But then it all changed. Here I am, 29 weeks pregnant.
I don’t want to dwell on the sadness of two years ago, because look, there’s a beautiful baby boy chubbing up inside my tummy.
We’re 100% scared of him. We 100% have no idea what to expect when he bursts into this world. But we will put 100% of our love and strength into bringing him up to be a kind, brave boy.
But what about our life?
I wrote recently about how the quiet life makes us happy, and it really, truly does. Pottering about at home, walking the dog, watching TV on the sofa.
But I also love exploring. Whether that’s travel at home or abroad, spending time with friends and family, or finding the latest place to eat.
I don’t want to forget how important that all is. This little guy joining the Richards family needs to be on board with that…I plan to tuck him under my wing and take him as many places as I can.
We have a good life right now, and I want to bring him along for the adventure.
And our marriage?
Ross and I have the perfect balance right now. Soz to be so plain about it, “yeah my relationship’s so great, blah blah blah”. It sounds twee, but it really is.
We’ve been through a hell of a lot more than we expected to. We faced the prospect of having 2 weeks left of life together at the ages of 27 and 28. And what a 2 weeks it would have been, me withering away on a hospital bed. (Sidenote, I NEVER felt like that was going to happen…no matter how ugly my scans were, I didn’t believe a single doctor and hi hello, here I am).
It honestly makes you forget the little things. Yes, shit gets us down from time to time, we have the same life niggles as everyone else and it annoys me when his clothes are all over the floor once again, but we just can’t hold onto those things, it’s not worth it.
We make plenty of quality time for one another, and we spend the majority of that time laughing. Being silly. Enjoying whatever it is we’re doing whether it’s the food shop or jetting off to Barcelona.
Remember this. Remember how you have the ability to make each other laugh in the lowest of times. You can bloody well make each other laugh when you’re sleep deprived and struggling too, because it will all be OK in the end.
But we also enjoy time apart too. I want Ross to continue to make time for golf, playing FIFA (snore), and solo dog walks, because it’s what keeps him sane.
And I need me time too. I want to be brave enough to step out of my family bubble regularly. Time away from brightly coloured toys, broken sleep and the demands of someone who needs me 24/7 (but who can equally rely on his daddy, lol).
I don’t want to lose my chill…
Yes I have my meltdowns when life get’s a bit too much. But generally, we’re pretty chill about most things.
I don’t want to lose this. Unless it really is life or death, everything will always work out in the end.
Remember, the sleepless nights might last for years at worst, but they certainly won’t last forever. When he’s screaming the house down, remember that he will soon giggle and the world will be OK again.
If everyone and their cat seems to be living the motherhood dream, remember that you didn’t spend the last 24 hours with them, you just heard a snippet of their life.
And who am I right now?
I’m happy right now, and I need to remember that. I’m also ambitious, something I can’t lose sight of.
We don’t have a lot in life, but we certainly have enough. Things aren’t important to me, but experiences and being happy are. Don’t be scared of taking opportunities for new experiences.
Store away all of those happy memories to look back on one day. Don’t give in to feeling lazy about that scrapbook/vlog/memory box, you’ll regret it one day.
Build a happy, simple life at home, and layer it up with adventures that all three (four – Bear, lol) of us can enjoy.
Pursue the things you love. If work makes you unhappy, when balanced with the idea of being close to family and soaking up every little moment you can, work hard to make something else happen. But don’t burn out.
Remember that clothes that make you feel good, a bit of slap on the old chops, and clean hair make you feel good. These might be few and far between as cleaning up baby sick and changing nappies takes priority, but every now and then…make time to make yourself feel good, you enjoy it.
So who are you?
The process of writing a letter to yourself is incredibly therapeutic. Give it a go. It doesn’t have to look like mine, it can be scribbled away somewhere private, but try and make it meaningful.
Imagine all of the things you might need to hear in a few months time, and the struggles you might be facing, and think about what might help.
What does being a mum mean to you? Write it down, and be easy on yourself…don’t plan to be supermum, plan to be the mum your baby needs.
P.S. Katie…thank you for the idea xx