Lucy will be six weeks old on Thursday - as everyone warned me the time is flying by so quickly already. Every day she is changing. Physically she's grown 12cm in length since she was born (!) and in the last three weeks she's put on about 2lbs in weight. I can feel the difference when I pick her up! Her head is bigger and she is much stronger - she can turn her head from side to side and instead of snuggling into my chest like she did when she was a newborn, she pushes herself up on her arms to look around and take in her surroundings. Trust a baby of mine to be a big nosey beak! Lucy is much more alert and she's starting to show real signs of independence - enjoying time on her gym play mat, sitting in her swing, and also quiet time chilling in her Moses basket when she's had enough stimulation from Mum and Dad.
So, I've been a Mum for nearly six weeks. Blimey it's hard work! Everyone tells you that it is, but nothing can really prepare you for what it is like to have a tiny person dependent on you for their basic needs 24/7. In some ways it's the most challenging thing I've ever done - but the rewards are indeed as huge as you imagine. And as hard as it is, it is still a lot easier than doing the job I was doing before little Miss arrived! Hearing Lucy grunt or squeak from her Moses basket when she is sleeping (no one tells you how noisy babies are when they are asleep!) is enough to make my heart burst, and when she frowns at me with her big blue eyes a little piece of me melts. I can't even describe what it is like when she smiles at me...
I've felt a whole range of emotions over the last month or so in my new role as a Mum. Many I expected, but some aspects have definitely caught me by surprise. I certainly didn't imagine that I would have times when I would feel woefully inadequate and not good enough. I'm getting used to Lucy now, but at the beginning when I couldn't read what her cries meant and I didn't know how to soothe her, my confidence took a pretty big hit and there were times when I felt quite useless. I've actually been rather hard on myself - I'm used to being a success at everything I turned my hand to, and I admit to wanting to be the best Mum ever from the offset, when of course it is going to take time for us to learn how to be a family and get to know each other. I'm starting to feel now that I'm good enough - not flawless, but who is?! - and that I'm doing a good job... but that has taken some time and is only really kicking in now.
I also carried - and still do - quite a lot of anxiety. In the first few days I didn't sleep well at all, but kept looking at Lucy in her crib to make sure she was ok, and that she was breathing and so on. My paranoia that something would be wrong with her - I guess guided by my previous losses and the slightly unorthodox time I went through having her - was quite intense to begin with. I won't tell you just how many times I've put my hand on her chest when she's sleeping or my finger on the back of her neck to check her temperature - but it feels like rather a lot! I do worry that she is ok and that she is content - much more so than the Boy does. He has been very chilled out and seems to have taken our new addition in his stride. For me, as well as opening the door to a world of excitement and happiness (there are sooooo many experiences I can't wait to share with Lucy, so many things to teach her and moments to enjoy) another door has opened too - one where I worry for her health, her welfare and her happiness... I'm hopeful this will subside a little as time passes. It's already a lot less than it was a few weeks ago.
But I am also very proud of myself and how I am coping with Lucy. We have far more good and happy days than stressful ones. I've taken her on the train to Kent twice by myself and every day when the Boy is at work I take her out somewhere - anything from a walk round the block, to a local Mums group, to coffee or lunch with friends. Most days I manage to have a shower, clean my teeth, get dressed, pop some mascara on and feel a bit like the Beans of old - and these are all mini achievements that I couldn't imagine happening back at the end of September, there was one day the Boy and I didn't even eat anything until 4pm at the beginning! But it's starting to come together and I am confident that things will continue to go from strength to strength for us.
I also love seeing the Boy in his role as a Dad. He is so gentle, patient and loving with Lucy and I can see a special bond between them both really developing. Whereas I can get anxious and flustered when things don't go especially well, the Boy is calm and grounded, and is a welcome presence. He's every bit as good a Dad as he is a husband, and a best friend. I am very, very blessed indeed.