Diary of a Mum: Introductory Chapter
According to the “Dos and Don’ts of IVF,” pamphlet from my clinic, during an IVF treatment, “don’t…drink alcohol,” “don’t…drink caffeine,” “do…sleep 7+ hours a night,” and “do…reduce stress.” Easier said than done, and nearly impossible to follow if you recently relocated for your husband's job, and have to throw your 4-year-old a Paw Patrol-themed birthday party in a place where you haven’t even made friends yet.
This morning, I woke up feeling bloated with a headache, likely the side effects of last night's hormone shot. I glared at my husband while he enjoyed his morning espresso and I sipped my green juice. However, my bad mood was quickly forgotten when Henry, our 4-year-old, raced into the kitchen wearing his Paw Patrol pajamas, bursting with excitement about his party.
We invited everyone in his preschool class but had only gotten a mix of responses to the R.S.V.P. cards. My husband Tom said no one RSVPs anymore and that a bunch of kids will probably show up when the party starts at 15:00, but I couldn’t help feeling anxious. I missed my incredible friend group from back home, amazing mums, and supportive friends I had met during my birthing class when I was pregnant with Henry. They would have RSVP’d and shown up early to help me set up. Tom has been really supportive during the move, but with his demanding corporate job, the party planning has fallen to me.
I tried to brush my anxieties aside and after breakfast, enlisted both of my boys to help me turn our house and garden into a tribute to the rescue hero puppies that Henry loved so much. At 14:30 when the bouncy castle arrived and I saw how excited Henry was, I knew it would be a special day even if it was just the 3 of us. Still, I was glad when the first guests started arriving a few minutes before 15:00 and by 15:30, it felt like his entire class (and their families!) had shown up.
Tom and a few of the other dads fell into a comfortable conversation by the grill (how is it so effortless for them?) and I felt envious of their easy banter. It’s been so long since I’ve had to make friends as an adult and I felt shy to approach the other mums who all seemed to know each other. So it was a relief when Klara, the mum of Zoe in Henry’s class, asked me if there was somewhere in the house where she could breastfeed her baby. We bonded easily over breastfeeding, Henry had had so much trouble latching on and I felt relieved I had maybe made my first friend! She offered to introduce me to some of the other mums including her neighbor Anna who we found balancing a phone on her shoulder while wiping her son Leo’s sticky hands. Klara explained that Anna was a full-time clothing designer and also the mum of two extremely energetic twins. Maybe Anna can give me some tips for boosting my energy levels while I have to abstain from caffeine.
Klara was trying to convince us we should join her for a Saturday morning yoga session at the new studio in town when Jane arrived. Jane was the only mum in the class I had already met. I was glad to see her friendly face and waved her off when she apologized for being late. She explained her ex-husband was late dropping off their son Chris. Klara immediately got to work on Jane, trying to persuade her to come to the class even though she didn’t own a mat. I let them debate the pros and cons of yoga while I looked around for Henry. I finally spotted him in the middle of the bounce house, holding hands with Anna’s daughter Mia and Jane’s son Chris. His mouth was stained bright blue from frosting and his birthday crown was slipping off his tiny head as he jumped. He radiated pure joy as he grinned and waved at me, standing with my new friends. I think we’ll fit in here just fine.