Yesterday Squeak and I travelled to Lancaster to attend the BFN Annual General Meeting. It was a long day. We left the house at 7.20am, and didn’t get back until 6.15pm. I don’t know who was more overstimulated and exhausted by the end of it, me or Squeak!
There was a slightly hairy moment on some motorway that I can’t name because I never pay attention to where I’m going. The weather took a crazy turn into hail, snow and intense rain. We had the pleasure of seeing multiple cars embedded in hills. Scary! There was also a completely burnt-out lorry on the route. All of its paint was gone so it was an odd white colour. It was quite eerie, looking almost like a fossil.
We managed to get there in one piece, and had a fab day learning about all things BFN. Squeak had a good time showing off her skills of running away and food pilfering, as well as displaying especially great talent in babbling over the speakers.
On of the highlights of the day was a performance by Hollie McNish. Hollie is a poet and spoken word artist. She has been shared a lot in the breastfeeding arena due to this amazing video:
Yesterday, Hollie gave a beautiful performance, which was mostly about how shocking it is when you first become a mother. How many things people do not tell you, or warn you about. And how vulnerable that can make you feel as you stumble along a whole new path in your life.
This really resonated with me. I can remember being so scared when Big Girl was born. I was scared I would get it wrong, that I was failing her, and that I would never learn how to look after her properly.
When BG was 6 weeks old we went to a family party. I’d love to say that I’d got the hang of everything by then but the truth is that I still felt woefully incompetent. I was still getting the hang of breastfeeding and I didn’t feel confident at all with the other aspects of looking after her. So I was pretty nervous about spending the afternoon in a room full of people, most of whom I didn’t know.
I dressed her on her changing mat, and left her there kicking as I grabbed her jacket. I knelt down next to her to put it on.
Suddenly, her face crumpled and she began to scream that ‘Oh my God, my face is falling off!’ scream, which sends panic through any parent. I looked down, and I was kneeling on her tiny little hand!
I was filled with horror. I swept her up into my arms and began to flap about aimlessly. I’m pretty sure I could have puked right at that moment. All I could think was, I’ve hurt my baby! My tiny baby! I am a terrible mother! She is going to have Flat Stanley fingers! Eventually, I got my head together and sat down and fed her. And she was fine. Back to a calm, settled baby. Meanwhile, I felt like I couldn’t get anything right.
I can look back and smile at those times now. I’d never go back there though. I may still have doubts about parenting, and sometimes I still feel like I am getting everything wrong. But I am not terrified and obsessive anymore (or not all the time, at least).
You can watch some of Hollie McNish’s videos here. She covers lots of different topics, not just breastfeeding or parenting. You can also follow her on Twitter, just search for @HollieMcNish.
So there you go folks! Not a funny one today but I enjoyed Hollie’s poetry so much that I wanted to share it with you.
Please excuse the dodgy phone picture, but this is me and Squeak with Hollie. Also pictured are some of my fab Homestart Breastfeeding Support colleagues: Sara, Emma and El.