Before I got pregnant, I thought it was going to be like regular me but with a bump. I had absolutely no clue how it was going to feel, and was truly surprised at the myriad of weirdness that ensued for nine months. Some things were absolutely fantastic (e.g. feeling movement) while others were incredibly dreadful (e.g. the inability to stand upright without going "OW!!!" when I got up twelve times a night to pee). It wasn't like I imagined, and it didn't stop at pregnancy: becoming a mother was an experience I never could have properly fathomed.
I remember the first weeks being overwhelming, exhausting, painful, scary, and amazing. I remember thinking I would never, ever go through this again. The first few months were a sleep-deprived blur, punctuated by moments of pure terror when I felt like I just couldn't do this; I simply wasn't capable. I can't stay at home all day with this fragile new life, I can't do mummy/baby coffee mornings, I can't breastfeed without gasping in pain, I can't take care of another human being when I feel jet lagged and hungover at the same time. Why are we told that after 6 weeks, everything will be okay? 6 weeks to recover from a c-section and 6 weeks for the baby to settle into a routine - it's absolute nonsense. I didn't leave the house until 8 weeks after Jack was born and I was terrified to sneeze for ages. Jack still doesn't always sleep through the night.
I can't remember when my life changed from freaking out with a newborn to normal life with a baby, but it did happen at some point. Now, every moment I have with Jack is precious and even the smallest things he does fill me with joy. I miss him when he goes to bed - in the evenings, I sometimes scroll through pictures on my camera that I've taken of him during the day. Lots of people only know me as "Jack's mummy", and that's okay by me. I am happy being Jack's mummy; it's a role I can now fulfill with some degree of aptitude. I can imagine doing all of this again.
But don't ask me to go to a mummy/baby coffee morning - I still can't do those.