One year ago I went into hospital with a stomach ache and left two days later as a mother. The carefree, selfish life I had grown accustomed to - hell, cherished - packed its bags and left with the first wail of my pink, wrinkly newborn son (Z).
Everyone has expectations of parenthood. You can't help it. I knew it would be tough, but there's nothing I like better than a good challenge. I'm fairly smart, organised, confident and on top of things...at work. As a mother, it turns out I'm anxious, dishevelled, irritable and completely unsure of myself.
For the first few weeks of parenthood I sobbed every day as Z screamed from the pain of reflux and colic and slept a grand total of about six hours in every 24. Baby manuals were hurled across the room in a rage as they proved singularly incapable of taming this tiny intruder. I mourned my responsibility-free existence and felt heavy with guilt because while I loved by son, I didn't love being a mother.
But, as the weeks turned into months and Z grew and developed before my eyes - babbling, rolling, crawling, walking, running in what seemed an instant - the blue fog lifted to be replaced with an almost suffocating feeling of love and adoration for the little person my baby was becoming. Sure, I still have pangs of nostalgia for my child-free life and the me I used to be, but would I change it? Not for a million pounds, in a million years. Not even for a million sleep-ins...