For me, there is nothing more magical, more heart warming than watching my baby grow and learn each and every day. Over the last few weeks, Florence has transformed from a baby to a little cheeky, clever almost toddler full of character. She learned to clap her hands a few weeks ago and ever since, one of her favourite things to do is clap along to ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. She laughs and claps her hands so vigorously some times that she looses her balance! She’s happy, she knows it and she really wants to show it so she does. I find myself singing it on repeat, so much so that I now hum it in the shower, whistle it while I’m cooking and it plays in my head every night before I go to sleep. While it’s getting a bit old now, it has made me think a little bit.
For a very long time all I ever wanted to be was a mother. That need to have a baby consumed my every thought, influenced every decision I made and for a while it made me a little crazy. When I found out I was pregnant in September 2016, I could barely contain my joy but at the same time I was so very nervous. I spent my pregnancy monitoring every little symptom, every little movement and worrying about literally every little thing. That joy and excitement at growing a tiny human was also combined with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and a tightening in my chest at the thought of it all going wrong. What if she couldn’t stay?
And then in May of last year, my beautiful healthy baby girl was born on her due date and filled my little world with light and a love like nothing else. Words cannot describe that feeling of elation I felt. Since Florence’s birth, people have commented so many times on how happy I seem. And they’re right. I am so happy I could burst! I look at photographs of myself taken over the last 9 months and for the first time since I was very young, I am actually smiling. From ear to ear, teeth showing, happy eyes. I think it is fair to say that my instagram feed, and my posts on here reflect that.
The thing is though, not everyone who comments on my happiness does so in a ‘I’m so happy for you’ kind of way. More often than I can count it’s been said with spite, anger even. And that hurts. Especially when it comes from friends. Recently it’s made me question every single thing I say in person or online and made me feel as though I should be apologetic for feeling and being happy. For a while there I stopped clapping.
Of course, there are some bloody hard days here. Motherhood, life in fact, is filled with all sorts of trials and obstacles and while I know it is important to acknowledge both the highs and the lows, since becoming a Mum I just find myself feeling grateful for being able to have any of it! High or low. Sure, some days can be tough, I HATE putting my daughter down to sleep at night, I am constantly worrying that one of us will fall gravely ill and there have been weeks so far this year when I wondered if we’d ever make ends meet but I am grateful for very sleepless night, every really hard day because there are parents out there who would kill for one last sleepless night, or ‘tough’ day with their babies. Moaning constantly or dwelling on the slightly crappier bits when I am so blessed to have what I have just seems insensitive, like an insult. I am so incredibly lucky and to not appreciate that would be stupid.
So I’ve decided, with a little help from my gorgeous little girl, that I am going to stop apologising for being happy. I’m not going to try and hide it in case it offends somebody. I am happy, and I know it, and I’m going to clap my hands.