1 Year Plus 9 Months
It’s 5:30am and in English time (as I’m currently in Mauritius), it was at this time a year ago that my labour pains had come on quite strong – although if I’d had my way, I would have continued to keep dismissing them as “really bad gas”.
I look at this life-changing little thing lying next to me on the bed and I am still amazed at this purely perfect little being sent to me to take care of by the Almighty.
It’s been one heck of a year: the hardest, most testing year of my life – but at the same time, the most inspiring, light-filled, beautiful and amazing year simultaneously. It’s one of those confusing little paradoxes that makes life just so wonderful.
Bringing him home for the first time, well to be honest, the whole first couple of months is a total blur. All of a sudden you’re thrown into a world where NOTHING revolves around you anymore; there is no you, there is no night, there is no day – and what little concept there is remaining of time to you is all purely fixated around this little boy.
I guess that’s been the most difficult part. For somebody that was not ready nor prepared for motherhood at this stage in my life, to let go of my own selfish needs and desires to give my absolute all to another being has at times been gruesomely tumultuous. But the fact of the matter is, as a mother, no matter what, you do what needs to be done for your baby.
All the things people say to you before becoming a parent are so cliche, but you know what? They’re all oh-so-true.
“Enjoy your sleep while you’ve got it!” is one that sticks with me. It’s a year later and I still haven’t had one decent nights sleep. Hence me lying here wide awake at 5:45am while this little blob in front of me lays against my leg satisfied from his feed, partially snoring away.
The other major cliche is “…but it’s all worth it”: the difficulties in pregnancy, the traumatic experience of labour; the sleepless nights; endless breast feeds; infections; late-night trips to and from the hospital; the bathing him 3 times in one night due to there being baby poo and wee EVERYWHERE; sometimes constant crying while you hold your head in desperation figuring out what it is you need to do; (*deep breath*); the frustrations at not being able to do your own thing undisturbed like sit and make a piece of art or do a bit of writing for your own sanity; the anger you feel sometimes looking over at your husband sleeping soundly (haha, love you!) while you sit there for the 5th time that night trying to put this crying baby back to sleep; teething pains, growing pains, circumcision pains (baby, not me); the attempt at trying to juggle housework, baby and business all in one; staying in while your friends and family are off out having the time of their lives; not being able to make plans in advance as you never know how baby will be on the set day you want to plan something; the physical differences in your body and knowing it will never be the same again; the emotional differences to your mind when at times any little thing will set you off and turn you into a blubbering heap on your side of the bed… The list is endless, but the cliche is true. It really is all worth it.
Like the first time he opened his eyes and looked at me, and the first time his beautiful little hand gripped hold of my finger.
Like the first time he giggled: honestly, one of the purest sounds I have heard in my life.
Like the first time we put him in his new bouncer and his eyes were totally fixated on the little lion the whole time, like it was the most amazing thing in the world.
Like the first time we gave him solid food and my husband got to experience feeding him for the first time in 6 months.
Like the first time he rolled over on his own and then a couple of months later, the first time he began to crawl.
Like catching a glimpse of a little white thing protruding through his gums in his mouth and feeling so, so proud.
Like asking him to show us where the light is, where the fan is, where the sky is, for him to look in the direction of the thing we’re asking.
Like the way he loves the sound of music and how he listens enthralled by the sounds of Dhikr.
Like the way he knows who his mama is and who his papa is and how he finds comfort in our arms.
Like the way he views the world in such innocent fascination, wonder and joy; everything is so wonderful to him and there is nothing bad in the world.
Like the way he followed me from the lounge here in Mauritius all the way to the kitchen on the hard floor, panting all the way, on his little hands and knees and the satisfaction on his face when he finally reached me.
Like the way he gives his joy to everyone when we’re out and about, smiling, laughing and letting anyone touch him or play with him; he has a smile for everyone.
Honestly, this little boy, who is turning 1 today, is such an incredible little blessing that I cannot be more thankful for. I could tell you so much more about him but I wouldn’t know where to end; there is something new to see and hear from him every single day.
He is my son but more-so he is my teacher and my friend, sent to help me and enable me to overcome certain things and to become a better, stronger person. He teaches me new things every day and I am not kidding when I say if adults were to become more like babies we would be much happier, more content people. I see the world through new eyes because of him and you know what? It ain’t all that bad.
So on this day, I want to take a moment to thank God for this wonderful experience so far and even more-so for this wonderful little boy he has entrusted to me and his papa. Game-changing, life-changing, everything-changing… But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy 1st Birthday (plus 9 months) Aly-Ibrahim. I love you more than you’ll ever know.