The one about change.
Apparently, becoming a parent is one of the single most profound things that can happen to a person. It’s said to cause a monumental shift in a person, the kind where you are irrevocably changed and you begin to see life in two distinct phases - Before Children and After Children. I don’t know why I’m talking about this in the abstract because I am a parent and I know all of this to be true. To a point.
What I mean is, almost four months ago I had a baby. And every since she arrived I’ve been waiting for some earth shattering, emotional moment where I suddenly feel like a totally different person. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. And nothing has happened. I feel exactly the same as I did before she arrived. With a couple of notable, albeit small, exceptions I’m still the same old Caitlin I always was.
I’m not talking about my connection with Monty - while not exactly instant, I feel very attached, connected and in love with her. I struggled to connect with her before she was born - hyperemesis gravidarum robs it’s victims of a great many things, and the most common struggle of its sufferers is a lack of connection during pregnancy. I was lucky that once she was born, and I’d received a blood transfusion, some meds and a tonne of cheeseburgers to make me semi-human again, I bonded with her pretty quickly. She’s an easy baby, a lovely little soul, and I just really like having her around.
What I mean when I say I don’t feel any different, is that I don’t feel like a ‘mum’. I’m still just living my life the way I always have, thinking and feeling and reacting to things in the same way. I thought becoming a mum would change my brain in some way - that I would suddenly be very responsible, good with money, concerned about catching a chill on a rainy day, exclusively eating organic food, not using plastic water bottles and referring to my pants as slacks.
To my, initial, dismay I am still a terrible flake, horrendous with money, staying up late bingeing on Netflix, eating KFC and never remembering to pack a cardigan. I also rarely remember to brush my hair, always buy a packet of gobstoppers and a Killer Python from the servo when getting petrol and don’t know how many wines I’m allowed to have per week to avoid being called an alcoholic. Also, my pants are still just called pants.
But the more I think about it, the more I realise that I’m actually totally cool with this lack of personality change. I’ve worked pretty hard to become the person I am. I like her, she’s alright. She’s a flake with no money, but she knows how to have a good time, to love fiercely, run a business, look after a dog, entertain her husband, and keep herself mentally well. She also knows a shit tonne about the Kennedy Assassination, weird online beauty products and Korean sheet masks, how to change a tyre and how to choose a good Rose without actually knowing anything about wine. Monty will have a pretty fun life if she sticks with me, and while she’ll never ever be on time for anything in her life, she’ll always get a lolly at the servo. And a fuck tonne of loving.