Kristin, now 41, was 36 when she had her daughter
In my twenties I never wanted kids, ever. I was a career woman. I wasn’t one of those little girls who walked around holding toy babies. I honestly thought I’d never ever be a mum and then in my thirties, I wanted nothing else. Suddenly, my career just wasn’t satisfying me; I had my dream job and I was happy but it all felt very selfish. I wanted to give to something else – someone else. And then I met the man who is now my husband.

We made the decision and it happened. I remember waking up one morning and taking a pregnancy test and being in absolute shock but thrilled. There was never a moment of ‘this isn’t what I want.’ Because I’m a total researcher I went out that day and bought, like, five hundred million books – on giving birth and raising kids. I literally had flow charts planning everything – I put my all energy into what it was going to be like during and after birth. I was going to be one with the earth, in the water – all natural; I’d only eat organic. And then the moment… it all went out the window; I immediately went for the drugs – right for the epidural.

Those first three months are a blur. I envisioned myself being earth mother and I just wasn’t

Giving birth was hard and there were moments when they had a lot of doctors in and they almost had to do a C-section – you know, everybody has their story – but then at the last minute this amazing midwife came in and my boy was born. It was the best day of my life. It also changed everything.

Those first three months are a blur. I envisioned myself being earth mother and I just wasn’t. I found motherhood tiring; I had all these friends who had had babies in their twenties and they made it look so easy. I found it really difficult. Really difficult. Although my husband was a great support, I wasn’t tuned in to London, where we were living, so I didn’t know there were things like play groups, so I felt very alone.

One day I stopped looking at parenting articles, I stopped trying to solve things. And that really released me

I lost myself; I was exhausted. I think I had post natal depression but only realised afterward. I remember it as a dark time; not that I was unhappy… I was thrilled to have my son and l loved him to death but I remember thinking ‘how many more years until I don’t have to do this anymore – how much longer?’. I was counting days, looking at the books trying to find cures for things for which there are no cures – it’s called having a baby.

I’d always been successful – in the sense that if I had worked hard I had always got there but no matter how hard I worked with my baby, he was not going to take a nap. I had no control, no matter how many books I read or charts I made. It was a real lesson in letting go; finally one day I just said ‘these spread sheets are stressing me out and I need to get rid of the stress,’ so I stopped looking at articles; I stopped trying to solve things. Feed him, change him and take him to bed – and get on with it. It doesn’t matter; he’s going to be OK. And that really released me.

I’ve learnt to just relax. I am not as competitive as I was 15 years ago. I think if I had had children in my twenties I’d have spent a lot of times comparing myself with other mums and my kid with other kids, and now I’m just over it. I’m glad I had my career, I’m glad I had my twenties to just screw things up and figure out who I was. I think I was too insecure to have a baby earlier than I have; my ego was in my job whereas now I’m in a place where I enjoy giving – giving to my son. It’s boring but I am happy, and I’m glad I did it exactly when I did it.

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