What my first year as a new mum felt like

I’ve half-woken from a dream but can’t really remember it all.

In this soft, surreal world, I begin in pain but then, so fast, like the flash of a hallucination, I see myself being sliced open. You are lifted through layers of flesh and suddenly, everything changes. I am running around, so fast. Looking for you, not really knowing what to do, trying hard to make you happy, chasing old versions of myself that disappear into the distance.

In this dream, I am out of breath. I take a while to realise where I am supposed to be going, I take a few months to find the correct version of myself who is supposed to be holding my hand through it all. In the background, there’s rocking and wailing, praying and pacing, cuddling and crying, howling and hoping, tears and tantrums. Moments when I think I am in someone else’s vision. Days when the path is laden with rocks and the blue skies are hidden by fog. The pieces do click into place eventually. I stop running so quickly, you smile at me, you laugh, and the haze clears. Then, out of nowhere, you find your feet and you start helping me kick the rocks to the curb.

What a ride. Exhausting and energising. Challenging and captivating. Rewarding and completely and utterly REAL. What even was my life before this? What did I do before the joy of having you, of watching you change and grow? Who was I before I changed and grew myself?

The person who looks back at me in the mirror isn’t the same one – she has transformed in a million colourful ways. She wakes up every day determined to be the best person she possibly can, for you. She is emotional and imperfect and messy. And she wants you to know that you can be the same way too. You can be whatever you want to be.

Almost a year later and I still spend every single night in bed browsing through the physical record of our dream, the 2,996 photos I have taken since the day you were born. I am clinging on through my fingertips, terrified that this won’t last forever. So terrified that sometimes it takes my breath away. The thought of not being with you is like contemplating myself walking around without a limb, without my head, without my heart beating inside of me. Sometimes people refer to you as a ‘child’ but you are not that to me. You are a person, a human being, a soul, the entire universe.

Almost a year later and what am I left with, after what can only be described as the most tiring, tough, confusing, overwhelming, amazing, fulfilling, exhilarating, momentous and life-changing whirlwind I’ve ever been swept up in? In a word, love.

An unspoken love that courses through not just my veins but every thought, decision and action, and it is – every day – the most ecstatic trip I can imagine there is available on planet earth. Fuelled by gratitude, intention, motivation, selflessness, purpose – I keep wondering when the high is going to wear off, whether there will be a day when someone will be able to bottle it up and sell it. It’s like nothing I’ve ever known before. It’s an everlasting high, one that could make me do crazy things, like run to the other side of the earth, fight off a herd of beasts, die in a second, all for you.

Any hurdles now fade away… they are still there, they always will be, but they are not my focal point. How can there be focus for anything else when, no matter where I look, you’re at the centre of my vision? In this dream-land, we will tread new paths, stumble upon new rocks, find ourselves lost in the fog, but one thing is certain… that you will always find yourself at the centre of my world, every second of every day, until the day I die.

It’s a dream I want to want to re-live again and again, one I never want to wake up from.