Mel­low Mum

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - CONTENTS - So­phie White

Yer Man, the baby, has started at the creche, and I am quite sur­prised at how heart­bro­ken I am. It be­gan when I was go­ing through the creche doc­u­ments and spot­ted a sam­ple of the day’s menu. I be­came dis­traught at the sight of this. Jam sand­wiches, ce­real, fruit — all nor­mal things — I was be­side my­self.

“What is wrong with you?” Him­self was baf­fled and not very pa­tient about this dis­play. “It’s not like he’s never been in child­care be­fore.” This is true; Yer Man has been away from me, cared for by an ar­guably far more ma­ter­nal woman, for the last 18 months. So why the sud­den re­al­i­sa­tion that I’m miss­ing out on mak­ing his jam sand­wiches and serv­ing his af­ter­noon snack?

Ev­ery time I think of those jam sand­wiches I get up­set, and it’s not just be­cause I re­ally want a jam sand­wich — though that may be true. I think it’s the height­ened sen­si­tiv­ity that comes with prop­a­gat­ing the species. Be­fore the birth of Yer Man, I would de­light in the sala­cious and of­ten dis­turb­ing sto­ry­lines of Law & Order: Spe­cial Vic­tims Unit. Then, about a week af­ter hav­ing Yer Man, Him­self sug­gested an episode and I couldn’t sleep for a week, so af­fected was I by the fic­tional vic­tims.

Pre­vi­ously, I would not have been a per­son with an abun­dance of em­pa­thy; I know this about my­self. I had to quit read­ing Jon Ron­son’s The Psy­chopath Test on page 188, as I felt I was ex­hibit­ing an un­nerv­ing num­ber of the at­tributes listed in the ac­tual psy­chopath test. Yet, sud­denly, post-baby I had all these new touchy-feely emo­tions to con­tend with. At times, I’m a stranger to my­self. And to oth­ers, ap­par­ently. I was chat­ting to a friend lately who is about to have her first baby. She was ask­ing about moth­er­hood, but as I was speak­ing, she cut across me to ver­ify: “Did you just use the phrase ‘brother­hood of man’?”

I was in mid-flow: “Ba­bies just bring out a ten­der­ness in peo­ple that re­ally amazed me. They are a balm to the lone­li­ness of ex­is­tence.” I tried to rein in the emot­ing at this point: “They are, quite sim­ply, all our hopes em­bod­ied.” Uh-oh, the emot­ing was creep­ing back in, bet­ter wrap up this lit­tle heart­felt speech. “And look, they are cute as f *ck.”

So that’s what moth­er­hood has made me: an icky, gush­ing, walk­ing, talk­ing bag of feels who wanted to watch Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story but found the open­ing cred­its too much and had to turn it off.

Yer Man’s first few days at creche went off hitch-free, and my grief over the jam sand­wich is sub­sid­ing some­what. I’m com­fort­ing my­self by nour­ish­ing him with my pasta din­ners, and I’m try­ing to keep things in per­spec­tive by tor­tur­ing my­self with thoughts of the day when I won’t even know what he’s had for din­ner, or if he’s had his fruit that day. “So now you’re up­set about meals he hasn’t even had yet?” Him­self is ex­hausted by the new ‘totes emosh’ me. What can I say? Wel­come to the brother­hood of man.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.