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Nine months getting fatter 
and fatter. 
so fat, no covcievable position 
will allow you to sleep comfortably
Sickness, aches, discomfort
feeling so utterly terrified
not knowing what the future holds
and yet
total adoration for a tiny person 
you've never met.
Wondering how your body
the one that you've looked at
a thousand times before
and seen with all it's flaws
is now creating something
so miraculous
so spectacularly amazing
it's hard to comprehend it.
Labour
like going into battle,
but with no preparation
no idea when the end will come, 
moments of calm and clarity
but mostly moments of pure agony and fear 
then you dig in deep to be braver
stronger than you thought you could ever be
just when you think you can't do it anymore
it's over
but really
it's only just beginning. 
In the dead of the night
I am there, pacing up and down
singing softly
sometimes crying along with my babe.
"I can't do this!"
"I don't know what to do!"
Hopelessness grips 
but nobody sees it. 
Nobody will know because 
to everyone else 
we look like a mum in control
a mother who knows.
Then daylight comes,
bringing sunlight into the dark 
I see their tiny hands, feet and nose
I marvel at the slightest movement in their face
I press their velvet skin against my cheek 
and all is right again.
A series of moments flash by
unseen events in time, 
ones with no tiara or reward badge attached.
Wiping bottoms, a thousand times a day
quietly throwing out the 10th babygrow 
and wishing you'd bought everything 
in the colour yellow
picking up cereal
or scraping it off the floor because it's been cemented there 
from 3 days ago.
reaching out with cupped hands to catch the sick
before it reaches the floor
being cross
even though you promised yourself 
you'd be more patient today
saying you are sorry
and promising yourself again 
and again to be better tomorrow.
Falling asleep in a tiny bed 
then trying to untangle your body
from the child that's woken
at 11pm
1:17am
3:34am
then wondering if there is any point
getting ready for bed.
kissing scraped knees
owie fingers
and bumped heads
racing to the hospital
dreading the questioning suspicious look
as you tell the doctor why your child is in A&E
again
"up please"
"down please"
"no no no"
"more please"
"I don't want it!"
"I want it"
forcing the child into a chair 
that is more rigid
than a plank of wood
playing the music so loud
you nearly can't hear them cry 
all the way home
Washing clothes
drying clothes
folding clothes
not ironing them
watching it pile high for a week
and wondering why it never gets any smaller.
Throwing an odd sock away
only to find it's pair a week later.
Feeling guilt 
for not going 'back to work'
and feeling it again when you do.
Promising not to cry the day 
you leave your baby for the first time
but weeping the whole way to work.
Thinking about them the whole day
and wishing for the moment you can pick them up again.
Feeling both guilt and freedom
when you feel a piece of you
is back again. 
when it's just you they see
not 'that kids mum'
Getting to the end of a day at work
looking in the mirror 
and realising
there is dry snot all over your shoulder.
Feeling broken and proud
as you watch them cross the threshold 
of a school classroom
a new chapter in their life
your life
where they need you less
but you feel like you need them more.
Racing to school 
realising as you reach the door
a minute to spare 
they are wearing a pair of trousers
meant for their 2 year old brother. 
Feelings of guilt
that their 'World book day' costume 
is shop bought and not home made.
Feelings of pride
after seeing them wearing the costume
you spent all night making
but seceretly promising 
to just buy it again next year.
Doing your best
but not always feeling like you measure up
Then they cry in the night
and in the day
and you wish someone else could give them
the cuddle that will get them back to sleep
but then you realise
all they want is you.
No one else can give them what they need
because you are theirs 
and they are yours
and you are good enough.

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