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L I V E 2 4 -SE V EN


CLAIRE IN THE COUNTY THE EXCITEMENT OF A NEW ARRIVAL...


If only babies came with a handbook, laments Claire Thayers


I remember it well, the moment the penny dropped… in the car, early stages of labour, husband driving through the night with me snivelling and sobbing in the passenger seat, “But what if I don’t like it? I can’t sell it, can’t divorce it, can’t walk away – what am I going to, this is it, no turning back”. Needless to say, the husband wasn’t very supportive and we continued to drive in silence, he simply didn’t know what to say – it wasn’t pretty!


Why had it taken me 9 months to ask that question – I have no idea. In truth I wanted babies, but I didn’t really think it through. Babies were nice pink, cuddly bundles of joy. The excitement of sharing the news, everyone wanting to spoil you, take care of you and nurture you through your pregnancy, the excitement of a new arrival…the idyllic dream swept me away – then suddenly the realisation that this baby was going to be forever and I had no idea how to deal with it all. This was no longer a dream - this was becoming a very painful nightmare as I simply didn’t see beyond the baby grow stage!


So here I am now and my babies have all grown up and flown the nest and I wonder where the time has gone.


Someone once said to me, as I pondered how long I would be changing nappies for, how long I would be stressed over the lack of sleep and how long I would be traumatised by food being flicked around the kitchen, that ‘the problems never go away they just change’.


/ 62


Suddenly the trauma of changing a crying baby in the back of the Landy at a point-to- point and worrying how best to dispose of a smelly nappy pales into insignificance as I scrape my 20 year old off the floor sobbing over the break up with her first love.


Sleep deprivation caused by a screaming baby seems preferable to lying awake wondering if your ‘baby’ is ever coming home or mind working overtime… is she in her car, upside down in a ditch… or face down in the daisies after a heavy night.


Wiping up endless puddles of yoghurt off the floor, off the high chair and off the walls, worrying that your toddler hadn’t eaten a thing… is far less traumatic than worrying about your ‘baby’ being anorexic in this image conscious age of social media.


So happy Mothers Day to us all, let’s pat ourselves on the back today and just take two minutes to reflect and realise just how far we have all come… we are the unsung heros… there is no online course to take, there is no ‘university of motherhood’ for us to attend, we just all do our best, every day throws us new challenges and we cope.


I have a theory – women are great communicators because we have to be… its amazing what we talk about in hospital when we struggle with ‘the milk coming in’, not being able to sit down and other embarrassing discussions – we need to share to be able to cope.


If only babies came with a handbook…


I lost my mother when I was young, so I feel sad that I missed out as I am sure I would have learnt a lot from her but looking forward, I really do hope I am able to be a supportive grandmother and more importantly a mentor to my girls when they are struggling with being a first time mum.


But remember, we WILL have the last laugh… all the abuse we got when they were teenagers, hopefully, we will be around to see how they manage the slamming doors, the late nights, the challenge of being a taxi service… we as grandmothers WILL be able to walk away.


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