Hayley Matthews: A Christmas birth that made me think about life
My son was born at this time of year, this week in fact, a few years ago. I used to dread the festive period as I really didn't like Christmas. However, that all changed when my son appeared and I'm now one of those annoying people who gushes over anything Christmas or baby-related.
When I was pregnant, I was working nightshift at STV and my friend Adele Cunningham (who now presents Heart Breakfast) was always very good to me. She would supply me with fruit, sweeties and laughs during the night and kept me going when I was tired and feeling rough. I adore her. So, when she announced recently on Heart Breakfast that she’s expecting, I started crying and jumping for joy in my living room. I know she’ll be an amazing mum and can’t wait to see her with her wee one.
I messaged her to say, “sleep and pamper yourself”, advice that many mothers gave to me, and advice that I ignored. I didn’t rest, I didn’t sleep lots and I didn’t pamper myself in the run-up to giving birth. I didn’t even trim (down there) and remember the surgeon telling me she was going to “tidy me up” before the C-section commenced. Baring this in mind, I decided to send Adele a Love Boo pamper box so she could give herself a mum spa at home because pregnant women aren’t allowed in spas and, to be honest, when you’re pregnant you just can’t be bothered doing anything that takes much effort.
I know she’ll enjoy the treats and I hope it encourages her to take extra “me time” before the big day. She doesn’t need any help from miracle oils or boob-firming cream as she always looks incredible, but relaxing is important. She’s going to be one of those lucky mums, running about all glam with a cute wee bump and perky boobs. I, on the other hand, looked like Johnny Vegas in a wig when I was pregnant.
I remember pregnancy well and can’t believe my little boy is six this week! Where has the time gone? It felt like just last week he was learning to speak and now he sits reading quietly to himself. I feel old, amazed, proud and emotional at this landmark in our family life. He actually reads books, how did that happen?
I don’t know if it’s because I always try and make learning fun, but I’m blessed with a child who loves to read. He’s been learning all about France in school. The culture, the food, the Eiffel Tower etc so when we discovered the Maddie books, it almost felt like they’d been written for him.
Maddie is a sweet little Parson terrier, who goes on adventures unbeknown to her family. Maddie Goes to Paris has become a firm favourite now for obvious reasons. I remember a friend saying that when kids discover they can read, they can just sit in silence with a book. It’s an amazing thing to watch.
I have a lot of respect for children’s authors, being able to hold the attention of little brains.
I suppose what I’m trying to say this week is just stop and enjoy life. I’ve been in quite a reflective mood since hearing about Adele’s pregnancy and realise it feels like yesterday that it was me telling everyone I was pregnant.
My advice to new mums is enjoy every minute, even the difficult times because in no time at all, your child will be sitting reading you a bedtime story like a grown-up human being.