Equally Best

A short while ago I was listening to talk radio and the discussion was about an estranged birth father’s fight to overrule an adoption order as he had not been contacted and made aware of the adoption. I was amazed at just how many people phoned in saying variations of ‘blood is blood, they are his children of course he should get them back’. This was often said with complete disregard for the adoptive parents and it made me realise how for many out there we adoptive parents will always be seen as second best.

Of course the ideal is that all children stay with their birth parents who will love them and care for them, but we are all well aware that it’s a utopian ideal. We live in the real world and that’s where we adoptive parents come into play. I’m not about to blindly go on about the wonder of adopters and the altruistic act of adoption, because we are human and I am sure there are good and bad adoptive parents out there and I am pretty sure most go into it – initially anyway – to satisfy themselves and their needs to parent.

However I would like to scream that we are NOT second best. We are parents! To the children we are rarely ever called or thought of as ‘adoptive parents’, but simply Mum or Dad, simply their parents. Although we may sometimes use the term adoptive parents to describe ourselves to others it is not how we define ourselves and what we ‘feel’ is that we are of course just like any other parents.

Not ‘second best’ parents, but in fact the absolute best parents our children have had and will ever have.

The radio program also got me thinking about the lack of shared blood with our children and how it has NEVER been remotely relevant – in fact not from the very moment we met.

After a very long and gruelling adoption process it was the night before introductions to our sons and we were at friends for dinner, they asked ‘what if you don’t like the children when you meet them?’ Which is something we had not considered at all, my response of ‘they are 4 and 5 years old what is there not to like?’ Was shot down with various examples of their children’s friends who were apparently anything but likeable.

It did fill us with a degree of trepidation and we went along the next day with a new anxiety added to the many we had picked up during the three year process. We were greeted by foster parents who told us that the boys were in the garden playing and we were sat at the end of a long reception room.

I will apologise in advance as this is where it all gets a bit ‘Disney movie’ and indeed if it wasn’t like it for you (and I understand it’s anything but for many) it probably sounds terribly smug -

The boys were brought in and stood at the opposite end of the room, we were pointed out to them and the foster mother said ‘ there are your new dads , go and say hello’ at which point they literally ran across the room and into our arms and in that very moment both my partner and I fell completely and utterly in love with our sons.

No blood – but total unadulterated love.

How could we be so sure? Well apart from the overwhelming emotion of the moment – trust us it took every ounce of strength not to break down and cry like babies – whether or not we liked them became completely irrelevant, they were our sons and we loved them however they came.

There are certainly moments we don’t like traits in their personalities and we sure as hell don’t like some of the challenging behaviour, but you don’t need shared blood to be able to understand these and respect them as part of the package.

I don’t know the outcome of the father’s legal challenge, and I guess I don’t want to find out. Because if he did win it will feel like such a personal insult – not to mention threat. I certainly hope he didn’t as he wasn’t there for his children when their mother was abusing or neglecting them or even during their time in care. Yet their new parents came along when needed and will no doubt always be there for them – blood or no blood.

We are Family – A Post Adoption Community

This post first appeared on the 1st April on the brilliant The Adoption Social. No, it’s not an April’s Fool.

Today’s post from We Are Family tells us how they are building a post adoption support community and their hopes for the future…

WRF LogoAs any parent will tell you,nothing can prepare you for parenthood. Adoptive or not.

So why are we, as adopters, so alone when it finally happens? Alone in our new role with one, or possibly two, grieving children?

There is no NCT for adopters, no baby massage, no mummy and tummy yoga for adopters. There are places where wide-eyed mums with tiny infants can meet other wide-eyed mums. But by the time we come along with our tots, biological mothers of children the same age as ours have been meeting months, if not years. Many biological mums just aren’t that interested in establishing new friendships at that stage. Particularly while (or because?) we are catching up. And that is to say nothing of the dads out there.

I see the early placement period is particularly fertile ground for creating good, stable, nurturing families, based on mutual love and respect. These are the days when support would be really, really useful.

Centrally to this argument is the word containment. We have it drilled into us that we need to contain all the turbulent emotions of our up-rooted children. That’s our primary job. But who contains us? At the best of times parenthood is the most exhausting and unrelenting 24/7 job you ever had.

Blogging has made it much easier to speak of the difficulties of becoming and being an adoptive parent. At sites like, and connected to, the Adoption Social feelings like anxieties, depression, confusion, being overwhelmed are discussed regularly. These are by no stretch of the imagination unusual feelings. But to many they seem dangerous to acknowledge. Especially at first. No wonder that Post Adoption Depression Syndrome is rife. These feelings are recognisable to biological parents too. My point here is that we are a minority type of family. As newborn families our needs are different from birth families of a newly born child.

Meeting and talking with other adopters can offer respite. The gratification of recognition can feel like opening the curtains on a summer morning, letting the warm sunlight stream in. Letting go to feelings stuck in the system, or identifying the help you might need, may become clearer as you share and listen. Feelings are funny and stubborn like that; they wont let go of their vice-like grip until they have been properly acknowledged.

I don’t think mankind were ever meant to do parenting on our own. Although we all have to find our own way of raising our children.

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child. But then, that village is no longer there by default. We have to make it for ourselves, with people how are like us, and hopefully also a lot that are very different. And that is what we have done in We are Family.

We dream BIG dreams in We are Family. We dream of a free NCT for adopters, across the UK. We hope we will one day go viral, with or without our nametag. We are working on toolkits and sustainable ways of supporting more local groups. We are enthusiastic and motivated. But we are young. Barely nine months old. It is our hope that our three London networks will be blue print groups to inspire others to do the same. We hope to work out successful formula that can be replicated elsewhere.

We are painfully aware that we need to have good working models before we expand ourselves too far. Having said that support is needed across the country right now. So here are a few ideas for you all, while we get our ducks row.

We have tons of ideas. But they all boil down to the same basics model:

to created informal local networks of adoptive families to meet and connect regularly! With their children and without.

Not once or twice a year. But once or twice, or even three times, a month, if not a week. All for free, with only voluntary donations toward playgroups etc.

We recently coined the term ‘organic buddying’, meaning that once you provide the opportunities for people to meet and make online contact buddying will follow.

‘I have made friendships in this group that I hope and think will last a lifetime.’ Those are the words of one of our members; she voices the sentiment of many others.

In fact we have learned that connecting via email and social media is an important part of the identity of our groups. It helps the sense of a supportive community between meetings at the playgroups or the parent support evening, the two cornerstones. Imagine this: you are home for the 10th day in a row with a sick and contagious child; by now you are going stir crazy and need to connect with someone. You child is reacting to you in ways you don’t understand and don’t recognise. You need to ask some questions about ‘Is this adoption? Or is this ‘normal’?’ So the phone or going online are your options.

With regard to meeting in person the playgroups seem easy to establish – our model is to tag onto a welcoming and well-run existing playgroup. In this way not only do adopters meet other adopters with their young children, a local playgroup will help them meet other local families with children of the same age, thus easing the way in to the community with a child.

It is the adults only support group that appears to be more difficult to set up, but such groups are just as direly needed as the playgroups. These evenings are where the parents can spill all their beans, through all their toys out of their prams, and be heard and feel understood while they do. You could, of course, always just meet in a pub over a pint… But this is very different to the undisturbed and concentrated discussions of the parent support evening.

On top of these two main initiatives, there are now a plethora of other initiatives within our groups such as social events, family parties, clothes swaps, one-to-one play dates, coffee mornings. Much is done via email or text, and it is always informal. Much of it driven by the members themselves (as opposed to the head of the groups).

 So far we have found the following values helpful and essential:

  • If you want to set up a local network, make sure you are not doing it alone. Have at least one sparing partner.
  • Listen. To what the needs are.
  • Be reliably regular – no cancellations, especially early on. Do have your plan Bs ready. Members should know they are never far from meeting with other adopters.
  • Have no expectations of any one turning up – and don’t be disappointed if that is the case. It can take couple of months for a group to get going. It is important that people do not feel pressured to come, but only come of their own account (if they like the playgroup, they may try to change their arrangements so they can come).

However, if no one turns up for a good few times in a row, it could be that the time and day is not good for the people you want to reach. In which case consult with them and your sparing partner.

  • Be inclusive. Open to all faiths, race, shapes and sizes.
  • Keep your initiatives free and open to all. Avoid exclusivity – We all know how we don’t need that!
  • Beware of data protection and safety. So encourage online aliases and be careful about who and how you disclose your group. Consider the security of the chosen venues the initiatives.
  • Work closely with local SW in LAs or charities.

Currently all three groups are working with local Social Workers. In Hackney/Islington we are operating on consortium level with a dedicated working group, and we are moving towards this is the other areas. This is in recognition that we cannot do this work on our own, and that we are stronger if we can collaborate constructively and closely with our local adoption authorities around issues such as post adoption support and life story work. We ask them to steer new adopters our way, so we can welcome them into our midst when their children arrives. That is if they haven’t made contact already.

A crucial part of the network is of course for our children to have the possibility of growing up with other adopted children.

I am not fond of the word, but in want of a better one: A support network like We are Family will help normalise the adopted family, and integrate them into their local environment. We don’t want to create an adoption bubble. We want to support people while they find their feet and we want to continue to be there so throughout their lives as families.

We are not competition to existing group and networks. We just believe that there could be much more post adoption support for all adoptive families, no matter how old their children are or when they moved in.

This may well be premature to promote our community at this early stage. But we are in it for the long haul. And we will keep you posted…

We are Family made our villages in three parts of London. Your village is next.

Connect with We Are Family

Twitter: @wearefamilyadop

The First Meeting

She was so young. She sat opposite us with wide eyes that sometimes stared at us, sometimes straight through us, sometimes looked down at the floor as though abashed, but something told me this might have been a ruse. We had been told there was a possibility that, as young as she seemed, she was quite capable of manipulating our emotions, but as I took more of her in, the scraped back hair, the rosy cheeks, the demeanour of a child, I could not bring myself to believe that.

This was the first time we had met her. We had seen photographs of course but here she was in the flesh; this made her real and therefore some, though not all, of my apprehension ebbed and I began to feel unworthy. The trauma she had been through for someone so young. If you met her without knowing any of her life story, you would be incredulous that the person sitting in front of you had been through so much in such a short space of time. But we did know and therefore our hearts went out to her as she clearly struggled with this meeting.

It was awkward; there was no denying that. We did not know how to behave. We wanted to reach out and give her a hug, we wanted a photographic momento of this first meeting, just the three of us, but how did we bring these things about without seeming intrusive? We wanted to tell her things that, if the dynamics had been different, might make her smile, but we did not know how to communicate and make her understand; we were paralysed by the emotion.

So we sat in silence for a while. I was staring and conscious of it. Every time she looked down at the floor I looked at her, trying to take more of her in without being obvious, trying not to catch her eye as though if that happened a connection would be formed that would be hard to break. Her social worker was talking, trying to break the ice, but although I could hear the gentle inflections and changes in tone and tempo, I could not register any of the words; I was too focused on looking at her, at her clothes, at the way she sat, at the blushed cheeks, at her eyes and lips, trying to see resemblances.

It was a charged meeting. At times I felt overwhelmed by contradictory emotions. There was warmth and sympathy, but there was also anger; anger at a world in which innocence could be taken away so lightly, anger at a world in which a child was not cherished above all else, anger that someone could allow such such a gift to be taken away, anger with her mother, her father, her grandparents, anger with anyone who had ever come into contact with her that did not, could not or would not see she needed help, but above all, she needed love. Not just the word but the action. Security. Nurture. Protection. Who protected her when she needed it? Nobody. Who deciphered, understood and most of all acted on the subtle clues that the child in pain sent out? Nobody. She had suffered alone.

I was furious on her behalf. Our lovely, joyful little daughter.

Was her daughter.

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out

A letter to our birth daughter

I’ll admit, love, that I’ve always found ‘the baby game’ irritating. The game you most often ask me to play with you, usually at the most inconvenient times. A game I didn’t really understand, or the fascination it held for you. At 10-years old, and nearly as tall as me, you’d want to be a helpless, mewling, wriggling little thing, while your adopted sister, although five years younger, was assigned the ‘teenage babysitter’ role or, if she protested too much, a twin baby to you, but one that was ‘smart’, and could ‘do more’ – the one that didn’t need so much attention.

I’d nearly always sidle off and you’d usually end up playing it yourselves, or I’d reluctantly agree to a quick (imaginary!) nappy change for you, before getting on with whatever it was that was more pressing. How could I miss something so blindingly obvious?

A decade before, you were my newborn, mewling baby – on my belly, eyes locked on mine and I’m tumbling down the rabbit hole. But, when your sister came, she was not the helpless newborn sibling that many of your friends had gotten used to in their lives. She was a wary, demanding, mercurial toddler – and as much a stranger to us as we were to her.

Believe me, the urge to parent again wasn’t, in any way, because you ‘weren’t enough’. In fact, it’s because you were, and are, so special that I was greedy for another chance to watch a life develop in front of my eyes – with all the joy, terror, responsibility and sense of fulfillment that brings. That, and, perhaps, not wanting you to remain an only child, as I am, whose ache for the siblings I never had only gets stronger as I get older.

We patted ourselves on the back that you seemed as enthused as we were about the possibility of another child joining our family. When our social worker had a private ‘assessment’ session with you, she felt you had the necessary self-confidence and personal esteem to handle it.

And it’s been three years now since your life changed irrevocably. The other day, dad found some video snippets we made in that heady, eight-day, introduction period with your new sister. Watching them again now, I’m struck by how much has changed – and some things that haven’t. You both look impossibly different – your front baby teeth are missing, you’re at least a foot shorter, and your face carries echoes of the round-faced, doe-eyed baby you were. There’s footage of the two of you bouncing on the bed in the cottage we rented for that week – when your sister got too close to the edge, you laughingly hauled her back; a game you still play to this day. Then there’s the film of you patiently helping her plug the gaps in an early years jigsaw puzzle…a metaphor writ large if ever there was one!

During the tortuous, four-hour, car journey home at the end of that week, the two of you sat in the back – your (new) sister silent and withdrawn, dad and I poleaxed by the emotional intensity of ‘taking’ this little girl away from the people she called mum and dad and you, calm and composed, gently stroking her palm and singing Round and Round the Garden, over and over again.

You were so little yourself – did we expect too much of you? In those early, blurry weeks, we were all punchdrunk with the excitement of getting to know each other. But, as the months went on, you faltered. Your sister would rebuff your hugs; you’d get slapped or scratched. You’d try not to mind about your precious things being messed with, turned out, or broken, but the scribbled notice on the door of your room – ‘Get outt or I will kick your but!’ – told its own story. And whenever you came to me for a cuddle, your sister would knock you out of the way, and cry: “No! MY mummy….!” You never once said what I most dreaded: “NO, she’s not, actually, she’s mine!” Instead, your plaintive wail: “Well, she’s my mummy, too!” showed a care for her feelings that not even your white hot anger could eclipse.

One night, you broke down after your sister was in bed and said she had to “go back”, that she “didn’t like you” – and you didn’t like her, either. We explained that wasn’t an option – we were now a family, and we had to work it out. Then it came out – you missed us, your mum and dad, and all the years you’d had one, or both of us, to yourself. It was so obvious, then – in trying so hard to be a family of four, we’d somehow forgotten you needed our individual attention, too. We promised that next weekend, and for as many weekends as you wanted after that, me or dad would do something with you – just you. And then dad shoved his shoe down his shirt-front and did a made-up song and funny jig that made you laugh out loud.

We also made sure you had a separate, later bedtime so you got time with us to have your own story, watch telly or chat about your day. We made sure your sister understood the boundaries of your stuff being your stuff, your room being your room.

Such simple solutions, yet such a profound effect. I knew we’d turned a corner when, one weekend, you said you’d rather not go off with just me after all; you wanted to be with your dad and sister too.

And now yours is the love story at the very heart of our family – exceeding even my rose-tinted fantasies of a sister relationship.

You buy her gifts out of your pocket money; she draws you pictures or makes you something un-nameable every day in school. You cuddle on the sofa and call each other your ‘BFF’. When you do argue, and I intervene, you forgive each other instantly and turn your ire on me instead.

There will probably be times, with a five-year age gap between you, when you’ll grow apart for a while – perhaps a 12 and 17-year-old will struggle to find common ground. But at 30 and 35, say, or 52 and 57 – heck, even 91 and 96! – I hope with all my heart you’ll still be making mischief together, consoling each other, laughing your socks off together, all as you do now, and sharing your memories of family life, long after dad and I have gone.

But that’s all in the future. In the here and now, you’re taking your first, tentative steps towards a new phase in your life – more time spent in front of a mirror, endless combing of your hair, throwing aside favourite outfits and toys now deemed ‘too babyish’. So, just to let you know that I get it, now, and I’m up for playing the baby game, for however much longer you need and want me to. I just hope I’m not too late.

My Adoption Astonishments one year on…

I was never a really maternal type. I relished my freedom and independence, waiting until my 40th birthday to even think about the idea of putting down any permanent roots. My mother always likes to tell me that I absolutely loved being a child and was in no rush to grow up.

When we started out on the long journey to becoming adoptive parents (seems like a lifetime ago) I wasn’t able to fully realise in my head what that would be like. It was more a very pleasing idea… I pictured a sort of Little House on the Prairie relocated into urban city life, with me baking cakes while a beautiful child gurgled appreciatedly in a highchair nearby (wooden naturally).
Yes. Astonishingly I thought I could carry on my day to day life with minimal disruption despite the addition of an infant! – I don’t think I need to explain into how ridiculous this idea was  ..But I didn’t realise it.

We stumbled clumsily through the assessment process causing ructions for openly admitting to harbouring no lasting grief or loss over our lack of a natural conception. Hmm… at this point we started to wonder whether truth was the best course of action as we had entered into the process out of curiosity and with a feeling that as we were happy with each and had a lot of love to give, adoption was the obvious thing to do. A no brainer. This was met with disbelief from officials and I began to wonder what a “typical” adopter was.

Looking back, I had no real idea of what we were getting ourselves into, and if someone had tried to tell me, I wouldn’t have had the capacity to understand. A good example being when parents attempted to inform us of the tiring and relentless nature of the role, I couldn’t comprehend what this actually meant until I was in fact a parent dealing with the 24/7 routine of it. At that point yes, it was astonishingly tiring, but the really astonishing thing is that there was nothing else I would rather have been doing! – Yes I missed the freedom of lounging around but if I tried to have a break and do these things I found I desperately wanted to be with my daughter.

The first astonishing shock came with a part of the process called Introductions. At this point everything becomes very real very quickly and you’d better be prepared to hit the ground running because astonishingly there is no real preparation for what is essentially a massive mind warp and then some.

I will never forget walking into the living room of the home where we met our daughter for the very first time. We had seen photos and knew she was a 14 month old baby girl with a big smile, but she was so beautiful and shy and gorgeous as she tiptoed around her foster father’s legs holding on and peeking shyly out at us that it literally took my breath away. Surely I wasn’t going to be allowed to look after this beautiful, miraculous creature? Secretly I did not feel worthy. It’s such a big deal promising to bring a child up well and properly. What if I messed it up and ruined her? I wavered between loving her so much I wanted to run away with her there and then, to having horrible detached moments when I felt … well, not very much, and couldn’t really fathom who she was, who I was any more or what we were doing in that strange environment. In retrospect much of this was down to fatigue. The emotional mind bending fatigue of driving 5 hours to stay in a strange town, to meet a strange (to us at that point) new individual, to be scrutinised under a blinding spotlight for ten days while trying to behave perfectly in front of people who knew way more than we did about caring for a child we were about to take away from them…  Stressful doesn’t come close. My husband took it all in his stride like the calm focussed individual he is while I melted onto the floor in front of him. I hadn’t been prepared to have to process quite so much so quickly and if I was panicking about my ability now, how could I possibly make a sincere promise not to mess it up? I felt so stupid, like a lightweight who had somehow slipped through the net and should have been weeded out much much earlier on in the process.

I got through it with the help of my supportive level headed partner who was able to keep reminding me that we were in a highly charged situation and that  things would normalise in our own home; and the heart melting moments of sheer joy I spent getting to know my beautiful little girl who had already been through so much. When i look back, my heart breaks for all of us involved in that profoundly difficult situation. The foster mother giving up so much, me, shuddering and splintering under the pressure of trying to be both perfect and normal in a highly abnormal situation, my husband trying to learn to be father while looking after everyone else, and in the middle of it all a beautiful, open, joyful little girl trying to transition from one world to another. Like I said, stressful does not even come close.

The final hand over from foster parent to us the adoptive parents was also astonishing. “No hanging around” we were told by the social workers. “10 minutes tops… A quick hand over is the best way for everyone”. So this beautiful girl was simply put into my arms in the street by a wide eyed foster mum who’s only concession to the feelings she was hiding was to grip my arms, look into my eyes and plead quietly “She’s very special, please take good care of her”. Another social worker nudged me out of this loaded eye lock so I could quickly sign a legal document against the side of the car – as  though I was doing something as mundane as buying a car! Then we were gone, off to another city miles and miles away.

Five hours later and we were home. No longer just a couple, but a family.

The blossom was out in the park opposite us and We stepped blinking in the sun holding our beautiful new daughter and somehow remembered to take some photos of the moment. Things had changed forever.
SInce then?
Well, it’s been astonishing. Firstly, the love.
The depth, the width, the sheer enormity of it is yes, astonishing! It has overwhelmed me. I had no idea I could love like that! Where did it come from? It’s like it was hidden in me somewhere and she has allowed it to come leaping out at hundred miles an hour! A massive intoxicating love affair that nothing else in my life has come close to. I love our daughter so much that it literally takes my breath away.  Sometimes I hear my husband gasp in wonder, or whisper “unbelievable” when we check on her before bed because SHE IS JUST SO ASTONISHING TO US! And she is growing and thriving like Jack’s bean stalk in front of our eyes. We can practically hear and see her body and brain expanding by the minute like some some sort of time lapse photography of a plant blooming. It is fascinating, Awesome; and I am so thankful and grateful that I am here with her to witness it.

It’s not straightforward of course. Like all the best things in life, there are also difficulties, doubts and more worries than I dare to go into just now. I have always been a worrier but this with all the complexities it brings, has cranked it up to another level entirely. I also feel about a hundred years older than I did this time last year just before Introductions, but in exchange I have the most wonderful astonishing new daughter who I could listen to and watch for ever. She fills me up. I don’t believe in God. I do however believe in wonder, and the joy of life and so far, she has brought more joy, happiness and wonder than I know what to do with. It’s a no brainer and i would do it all over again in a heartbreart.

Chitter Chatter

So, she runs about in a frenzy of joy when I get home from work, careering into the sofa and bouncing off it into the love seat and back again, like a deranged pinball hitting the buffers. Which is nice.

Once she carried my slippers to me, struggling slightly, with a beaming smile on her face. I crumpled to a heap on the floor with love. I said “That’s all very well, but where’s my pipe?”.

No I didn’t. But I did think about it. As much as she is progressing, I’m not sure we’re onto irony just yet.

It used to be a struggle to understand the grunts and groans; now she says “done a fartie” and laughs her head off.

She is developing new ways to communicate every day, not just new phrases like “Dadda do it” when she wants me to fix something, or “sit over there Dadda” (oddly in a Scottish accent) when she wants to pile her doggies on top of me and restrict the airflow to my lungs, which for some reason also makes her laugh – does this bode ill for the future? –  but new facial expressions. “Do The Face”, we say and she tips her head down, furrows her brow, pouts her lips and fixes us with a stare that could freeze fire.  Then giggles.

But it’s the singing that really gets me. “Winkle, winkle idel dar, ara under wadda ar” runs strangely aptly in into “Dom Dom a bisons on, ole a pig an away erun” which segues seamlessly  into “Eels ona bus gwown an wown”.

I didn’t know eels were allowed on public transport.

So it’s all good. Vocabulary increasing, personality developing, sense of humour – check.

But now at bedtime instead of fifteen minutes of hugging and falling asleep on my shoulder, and a sleepy “I wuvu” as I close the door, it’s “Bed now, Dadda” and not bothering to remove the mum-mum (pacifier) for a goodnight kiss.

I miss the baby bum-shuffling, I miss the brain-frying  annoyance of her pressing the foot of the “happy and you know it clap your hands” squeaky-voiced, American-accented Teddy singing repeatedly until I really do want to smash it to bits with a large hammer, I miss having to pick her up to go anywhere, dammit.

But I’m loving the new little girl that’s taken her place, with her sophisticated “Flapper” haircut, her clear unfettered joy as she models a new flowery outfit that Mummy bought, a lovely little girl who thinks farting is funny and takes my hand – that’s a first – to drag me into the garden to show me the scary ant.

I interviewed someone for a job this morning. They were terrible, sadly. But if they had sung me “dom, dom a bisons on”, I would have hired them on the spot.

things i lost when I became a mother

  1. My heart. To a little man who entered our lives as a ten month old. It has made my heart burst. The love for my husband has grown with this new love too. It didn’t happen overnight, but snug up on me with a force that I have never known.
  2. Sleep. Lots of it. Undisturbed sleep. Lie-ins.  I do miss that. But the beaming early morning smile of a loved one makes up for it in an instance.
  3.  Ambition. Really. Much to my surprise. Work just isn’t as important as the generations of working women before us brought us up to believe it was.
  4. My dignity – especially dance-related. It is now nearly impossible to pass any street music with a good beat. With or without my son.
  5.  Weight! I lost a lot of weight. Wiipee! But sadly it is back on.
  6. Overview of how much laundry I do in a week.
  7. A transition toy. Or two. My sons favourite soft toys for bedtime and comfort. Yes the two first were bought consequtively, propelled by stress. And we then bought five, yes f.i.v.e. Don’t ask how many we have left. We are unreliable.
  8. My memory. Or rather the ability of hold certain information. My brain is all used up on thinking about important stuff, such as bringing diapers and a change of clothes to the playground, snack times, preparing food etc etc.
  9. My patience. Yes, sorry. But sometimes toddler play is boring. And very. Very. Repetitive.
  10. Time. Time for dithering, and empty chatter.
  11. Dietary variety. Spaghetti with tomato sauce with my all time favourite food. It would be my last meal of earth. I love pasta. But I am getting a wee bit tired of it.
  12. Privacy. Loo privacy. My son, who is potty training, will now applaud me when I have a wee. And I like it!
  13. Filters. Especially relating to speaking of bodily fluids. And worse still: solids. How did ‘pooh’ become a subject of conversation? Of interest?
  14. My keys! But found them again. Phew. The stress.
  15. Count. Of a lots of things. Time spend watching diggers in action; times I’ve push a swing; of nappy changes; of colds, of sleepless nights; of cuddles and giggles.

Has it been worth it? YES!!