This was written in my diary shortly after S’s father had left. At the time he was still visiting occasionally. I was fairly miserable and unsure of what I was doing, and S was still very small and looked really quite breakable.
S sleeps in my bed now. At first, she would go to bed in her Moses basket, and each time I fed her I would put her back in the basket. And then, I just gave up on trying to get her to go back into the basket, and after the first feed she sleeps next to me in my bed. She seems to go back to sleep a lot more easily, and wake less, if she is beside me. Sometimes she reaches out and pokes at me in the night with her tiny little fists.
We wake around 7 most mornings, and S sits in her bouncy chair in the bathroom door way while I have a bath. If I am lucky, I have time to dry myself, apply moisturiser and get dressed before she gets fed up and starts crying. Occasionally I even have time to dry my hair. Once I am dressed I bring S downstairs in the bouncy chair with her clean clothes. I tend to remove her clothes before feeding her the daily dose of vitamins they recommend for all premature babies, as the iron can stain. Then we get her dressed, and I will usually feed her before we venture out of the house.
Today once we were both dressed and ready, we went to a friend’s house. She has three children of her own and is much more confident with babies than I am. She is also one of the best friends I have ever had, giving me her daughter’s old baby clothes and toys, tidying the house when she visits, offering advice, and most importantly telling me I’m not mad and I’m doing the right thing, whatever it is (unless I’m doing the wrong thing; then she’ll tell me that instead – the mark of a true friend).
S’s father visited briefly today too. I didn’t want him here; it makes me nervous and uncomfortable to be around him. I feel like he is running an appraising eye over my entire life, judging me and looking for the slightest sign that I may have done something wrong, something that may disadvantage his offspring in some way. He treats her like a possession. He brought us food and nappies, which I didn’t ask for or need, but one should never look a gift horse in the mouth, so I said thank you and crammed my freezer with meat I don’t have time to cook, and microwave meals full of salt and flavourings. He left £15 on the side when he went.
After he had left, C came round with her daughter. I went to school with C, but hadn’t seen her since we were about 12. Now she has a 7 year old daughter and runs her own business, she seems so much more grown up than I. She and the friend I saw earlier both make me feel like this motherhood lark is a doddle, and I’m perfectly capable of doing it on my own, with or without £15 left on the side by the ex.