Getting your ‘Mojo’ back. As in actually spending time with your spouse and feeling “back to normal” ish.
It’s common knowledge that having a baby takes a massive toll on life as you know it. Not just your relationship with your spouse; but your body, friendships, social life, work life. It is HUGE! Even though our pregnancy was planned we were still completely ill prepared for the changes up ahead. Rewind back to 2 years ago, I was out running with my lovely Aunty Debs on a calm and sunny morning in May – we were chatting about the birth of my little cousin Alex. “I can’t wait to tell people about my own birth story” I said, totally living in la la land. “Just enjoy not having the responsibility, once you’ve had kids you will be responsible for somebody else for the rest of your life, and nothing can prepare you for that” came her reply. I am totally ashamed to say that at the time I thought to myself “responsibility? I have a Dog, I am totally responsible and ready for kids”. Jesus Christ on a bike how naïve was I. I mean – you can hardly shut twins in the utility room for an hour while you nip to the post office. (**thinking out loud, maybe that’s worth a try**).
When I fell pregnant Jordan and I had been together for 6 years, a relatively long time in this day and age before we decided to bring new humans into the world, we were kind of smug that we would have it sussed and that we could cope just fine with a baby, like it wouldn’t effect our relationship, but unfortunately for me, the spoilt old boot had always gotten everything done for him and therefore wasn’t used to any form of labouring in our household (we’re both to blame Megan, if you’re reading this). The house work got put on the back burner, I stopped cooking tea because I couldn’t stomach the smell, I stopped wanting to go out, I was in bed by 7pm most nights and I was embarrassingly sick in most public places… #WagamamaGate #BoltonRoyalCarparkGate #InHisLovelyNewGolfGate. Obviously this was not the life Jordan was accustomed to and he really struggled to adjust. I’ve spoken with other mums who have been through the same with their partners – mums who have also been accused of using the “pregnancy card” in those first 12-15 weeks, and it’s not until your little bump appears and they feel that first kick that they actually realise your body is GROWING ANOTHER HUMAN, another 2 in my case, and then all is well and good in the world again. (Except when they ask you why you wont gloss the skirting boards at 33 weeks pregnant with twins and/or they tell you that “you aren’t the only pregnant woman in the world”)
Throughout my pregnancy I would frequently remind Jordan to remember nice times, nice times that he could re-visit when we were having testing times post birth. I’d say “think about how much we really, really love each other now, we might not feel like this in a few months”. When the twins finally arrived into the world (I’m not sure if I mentioned it was 38 long and gruelling weeks, did I mentioned I hated my pregnancy???) Jordan and I stuck together like Velcro. Even on the 15 bottle night we didn’t have a cross word to say to one another, we NEEDED each other, we absolutely clung onto each other for dear life like Jack and Rose on the Titanic except I let him onto my wooden plank and I didn’t let him freeze to death in the Atlantic Sea. We were a team and we could not believe we had even bothered with that pre birth conversation. We had escaped the rows and we were invincible..!
Queue 4 months post birth – that’s when things REALLY started to change. We had just moved house and the twins had started sleeping through the night, I’d worked tirelessly at a routine which we had perfected so surely that would mean everything would be rosy? Not at all – it was nowhere near plain sailing, we were more passing ships in the night. Because I got the occasional half hour to myself I had more time to think about things, and it was usually about myself, or life before kids. My self esteem was so low I could barely look in the mirror, I couldn’t accept the “new” me. The me with stretch marks, with humongous bags under my eyes, with a little “mum pouch” above my C-section scar. I didn’t care about this during those first few sleep deprived months but I was starting to question if I’d ever look the same again. I seemed to spend my days running around the house like a headless chicken cleaning, tidying, feeding, playing, when actually, I hadn’t shaved my armpits for eleven weeks. I wasn’t putting any time aside to look after myself and that was my downfall. If Jordan dared to mention anything that I hadn’t done I would lose the plot, get totally defensive and scream “DO YOU REALISE I HAVEN’T EVEN SHAVED MY ARMPITS IN 11 WEEKS” because that’s all I had to focus on. My brain was like smart price tinned chicken korma – plain, boring and full of shit. Something had to be done. In November – when the twins turned 7 months – I went back to work 2 days a week. I absolutely adore my job but the thought of returning to work felt totally soul destroying, don’t get me wrong work is a luxury 5* all inclusive spa break – but it was the fact that my maternity leave was over and I wouldn’t ever get to do it again. But that was the turning point for me. Going back to work meant I got time out on my own, I was actually using my brain, bettering myself once again, not eating cake in coffee shops, not wiping anybody’s nose, not spending money and actually earning it, not feeling like I was living off Jordan’s money (I hated that!), I got dressed in the morning and ate my breakfast at 8am, I was learning new things because I was able to converse with other adults without being bitten, I actually knew what was going on in the world! This, in turn, made me realise that I wasn’t doing anything for myself at home – completely acceptable seeing as I’d had the boys (who are my main priority) but never the less, I needed time to myself (to shave my armpits) and time with Jordan. Actual quality time.
So we decided to set up our very own “date night” and I started to make plans with my friends at the weekend again. Date night takes place every Wednesday in our house and we take it in turns each week – we leave our phones in the kitchen and we plan a meal and an activity. This may sound really trivial and really stupid but actually it really works! We have actual conversations about things other than the kids, we plan holidays, we have picnics on the living room floor, we watch funny youtube clips, we drink wine, we do all the things we used to do pre children and it really is wonderful! We don’t need a babysitter and we don’t need to spend any money BONUS. I started to eat well and I started to exercise again, making plans with my friends made me want to feel good about myself because I started to buy clothes again that weren’t smocks, leggings and espadrilles. I wanted to look like them and not a traumatised mum who had rolled through Ethel Austin’s covered in super glue. I could no longer blame the mirror in River Island changing rooms for my hippo reflection. I just had to stop eating Lemon Drizzle cake and stop drinking Lucozade – I really am a connoisseur in the two (and crisps).
If you’re pregnant reading this or have just given birth I just want to give you a cuddle and let you know that it does get better, I promise! It doesn’t happen right away, it takes time. It takes time for you to feel like YOU again, it takes time for your relationship to adapt, it takes time to settle back into work and it takes time to convince your friends that going for curry and pint night at your local spoons is far more fun and chic than a night out at the Northern Quarter (OK that still hasn’t happened but they do understand)! The whole idea of having kids is a lot easier than the reality, but I feel like I’m finally getting myself back together, and WE finally feel like we get it! If you’d have asked me 6 months ago “could you imagine your life without kids?” I’d have said YES, YES THOSE WERE THE DAYS! THE GLORY DAYS! Now I’m definitely of the opinion that life really wasn’t important before them and although I miss being able to nip to Tesco without packing for a holiday, or have a lie in (seriously, cherish those) with Jordan, I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world – Its the best kind of different.
Lots of Love
P.s next blog next month is about our first family holiday to Italy! (WISH US LUCK – PASS THE LIMONCELLO)