I’m acutely aware that about 90% of my conversation currently involves the topics of milk, sleep or bottom activity. That’s why going out without baby, just briefly, was a much-needed opportunity to engage some other parts of my brain …
I’ve entered a strange baby vortex. Maybe I’m Alice, only I’ve fallen down the baby hole. I was organising old photos today. Even looking back at the pictures when I was heavily pregnant seemed a million miles away. That person was out on their own. Was in a spa having a pedicure. Could leave the house within minutes of deciding they wanted to. Slept for 8 hours in a row at night. That person is certainly no longer me.
Don’t conclude that having a baby is negative. I remember a colleague jokingly wrote me a post-it note containing all the baby wisdom I’d need. It basically showed that life with kids is both much better, and much worse. In just three weeks, I now know this to be not so much a joke, as a simple truth. Like a slack rubber band, my emotions have become a bit more stretchy either side. I look at my little munchkin’s face sometimes and am overwhelmed with love. And then she has an evening where she cries for most of the night and at about 5 in the morning, when my vision has started to go wonky, I think I might go insane.
Part of the baby hole I’m living with is a concentration of conversation on all things infant. My husband comes back from work in the evening. I can typically remember to be interested in his day for a few minutes before I find myself giving him blow-by-blow accounts of how our little one has slept, what I’ve achieved in those sleeping moments, and any particularly exciting nappy activities of the day. I can’t help it. It’s like everything else has been temporarily jettisoned from my brain.
A few days ago, I went out for drinks with workmates, leaving husband holding the baby. I was only going out for two hours, and just 10 minutes down the road, but it was still a big milestone. I armed him with enough milk to cover an army’s cornflakes and instructions to call me if anything went wrong. Of course it wasn’t going to. I was just being neurotic new Mum.
For two hours, I sat outside a bar having conversation that, while it involved some questions about my new baby, also involved totally unrelated topics. I can definitely feel that my brain is sluggish. Digesting new information and responding takes a lot longer than it used to. But, it reminded me that I do have other brain activity in there. It’s just moved to the back of the filing cabinet of my mind. And it felt great to rummage back among those archives.
Two hours were exactly enough time. I’d started to feel a calling from some part of my soul that wanted to be re-united with my baby. I wanted to hear my husband’s detailed account of his time with her (“we mostly slept”). And, for the first time in weeks, I wanted to share some non-baby news with him. Then get back to newborn cuddles on the sofa.
How has your brain and priorities changed with baby? How long does it take before you can conduct conversation at normal speed again?!