Abi Cernik
Team MOM

Hi Abi,

If you’re reading this and you’re not in your pyjamas, sleeping, eating biscuits without needing to hide, or watching all the Netflix shows that you want to watch…

THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

Don’t you realise that there will come a time when you’ll have to get up early every single day? Don’t you realise that you will never be able to just catch up on a few episodes of Friends unless the tiny people you have created are either in bed or with someone else? In fact, you will never be able to just do anything. Just will be dead to you. Just like your pelvic floor.

Oh Abi, life is going to change (in the most amazing of ways) but also in ways that mean you need to get back in to bed and sleep for a thousand years.

I thought I would write you a letter today, to let you know about some of the things that are to come for you. That sounds freaky. It’s honestly more of a pep talk, a prep talk, a little heads up from your slightly older self.

Speaking of heads. You will push two of them out of your actual vagina, experiencing what is affectionately known as the ring of fire. You will feel like you would rather die, right there in that birthing pool, than keep going against all your instincts and better judgement. They will tell you it’s natural, but (hush tones) there ain’t nothing natural about firing a bowling ball outta your…

I’m sorry, I don’t want to scare you. And truthfully, this won’t scare you, because every story you hear, every programme you watch, can’t and won’t do justice to what will actually happen when it’s actually your turn. It will be as unique as the babe that steals your heart forever.

The lead up to your first baby (a girl by the way – she’s gorgeous), will be one of 17 weeks of sickness and eating only beige. But you will wake up one magical day in June and that feeling will be gone, leaving you feeling like a normal (slightly pale) person again. A person with a secret stash of treasure hidden away near your heart.

You will plan and dream and nest till your house smells like a swimming pool (step away from the bleach, Abs), and will want to punch everyone in the face as you wait an extra 15 days before your baby finally arrives. If you can, please remember that due dates are not guarantees. As much as you think you’ll be one of the magical unicorns who sneeze them out right on time – you won’t. And a little heads up; a huge pregnant belly will not be enough evidence that the baby hasn’t arrived; so, do prepare for “baby still not here?” x1000.

But – hurrah – she will arrive. Your little (large) bundle of pure miracle. And that’s what it is. A miracle. A miracle that an actual, mind-blowing, little person grew from nothing into something; someone with a destiny and heart and soul and mind. And a miracle that you didn’t run away; far, far away, when the room filled with the entire cast of Casualty, and your legs were trapped in what should only be used when riding a HORSE.

You will experience what can only be described as a vast array of emotions in the following few weeks. It really is possible to feel like you are still on the happy gas as you stare at their squishy fingers and brand new eyes. And it really is possible to throw yourself on the floor and weep because you found a thread from your sock on the stairs. Abi, your husband will feel frequent moments of panic and fear (because of you). But keep going – it’s just the hormones. And they will settle down.

Just like you will – at 7pm. Because you will be up in a few hours to feed with your nibbled-off nipples. Unfortunately, no one tells you that you transition from late nights on the sofa, acting like the boss of your time that you are, to calculating all the ways you can get a solid three hours. And that’s on a good night in the beginning love, trust me. See what I mean? GO TO BED.

It’s ok. It will pass. It is just a season, and if anyone tells you not to drink coffee or wine because of the reasons. Fight that urge to bash ‘em with your boulder boobs. Take a deep breath. And remember that it’s all just a phase, and there will come a time when you feel like you again. Also drink the coffee – your baby will sleep well, her poos will be normal and the world will not fall from its axis.

Motherhood will be the most intense thing you will ever do. It really is possible to feel a love so fierce you would kill someone if they tried to harm them. Your babies will make you feel wilder, prouder, stronger, kinder than you could ever imagine. They will be literal pieces of your heart existing outside of your body. You will check on them as they sleep – just to check their chests are still moving up-and-down, up-and-down, and you will curse as you bash your toe, wake them up and drop to the floor like a commando in training.

And that’s what you’ll be. A commando in training. You will be these people’s leader, confidante, influencer, the one that shapes their early existence. And you will be in training their whole life, cause unfortunately they don’t come with instructions. And they don’t care what Google says about week 6.

It is relentlessly rewarding. Rewarding, because quite honestly, they will exceed everything you dreamt about. They will never fail to surprise you or make you laugh when they tell you that they have a tiny brain. And relentless, because, hahahahaha. Oh. My. Days.

Abi, it never stops. When you’re sick, when you need the loo, when you’ve had a bad day, when you need to pop to get some milk, when you just don’t feel like it. Doesn’t matter. When they’re here, they’re here. And they will go everywhere you do, making it actually possible to go from being an extravert to an introvert in the space of three short years.

But they will toughen you up. Those responsibilities, the phone calls, the appointments you had to make that freaked you out a little in the past? Trust me when I say that nothing, nothing, will give you anxiety quite like taking your children to the doctors, when it’s packed, and when an unusually scented person sits next to your opinionated three-year-old. Be more three they said. Be hated by everyone you will.

Everything in me wants to keep telling you how incredible it is. How much love you will feel. And everything in me wants to keep telling you how tough it is sometimes. How it requires everything you have even if you feel you don’t have it to give. How you will feel guilty because you watched Hey Duggee and didn’t do craft*, played indoors and didn’t go outside, had crisps and not apples, bought purees instead of making them. But how you will feel proud, not because of anything you did, but because of everyone you have.

The motherhood season is one of sacrifice, I’m not going to lie. And there will be times when you’ll feel a bit like you’ve lost your mojo, your fire, that thing that makes you, you. There will be moments where you’ll feel you’ve got it right. That you’ve found your rhythm, your routine, your rite of passage – and there will be moments where you’ll feel you’ve got it wrong, that you’re left behind, and that the grass is greener for your husband. (Marriage tip: don’t angry call 15 times cause he’s 3.7 seconds late. You managed a day alone, it will be ok.)

I want you to know, because trust me you will need the reminder – that what you do and sow and invest when you become ‘Mum’, will never ever be insignificant; even if it is sometimes thankless, unpaid and unseen. Cause the thing is, God believed you were the best person for the job. Think about that. He chose you to be the mum to your girls. He knew you could handle it and believes you can flourish in ways you never even realised.  However long the days may feel and however many times you find yourself whispering “it’s not all about you” to your 16-week-old baby (yeah, you have another one) – the years really are short, it really does go by so fast and you really are shaping the lives of the future.

So, for what it’s worth, know that you are known, you are seen and that what you’ll do, day-in-day-out, really is far, far more valued by God than what the world, what the workplace, what the web can sometimes say.

Keep bringing your best. Before kids and when you have kids. Cause that is what makes you live your best life. That, and buying a hedge trimmer with your birthday voucher. Yes, you really do become that cool.

Sending you all the love and excited emoji’s.

Abi, your slightly older self xo

* This will challenge the deepest parts of your endurance. Glitter and glue? Have mercy.