I love this picture; to me this speaks of a new start. It is not obvious to anyone but me, but this was taken in my new flat (aka, my home). The only furniture is Wriggles' bouncy chair and a wooden crate pretending to be a coffee table; there are not yet any appliances like a cooker or washing machine, the walls are bare and I think this was taken before the official removal van and moving in day.
When Wriggles was born prematurely, I had not yet had time to sort out moving from a professional flat share into a more family friendly private space, as she came so quickly. I would have had 3 months further to play with if she had stayed inside but it was not to be. Unfortunately things became complicated as she came home on oxygen and so it was with trepidation, that I took her back to what resembled a student flat that I had to share. During the few months I was there, I became very desperate. More than anything, I ached for some precious privacy with my baby.
Finally, somewhere came up. Before moving in came around, we had the Intensive Care shenanigans which brought everything very clearly to me. Once we were out of the danger zone, the hospital felt safe. Although there were people in and out, it was more private and comfortable than my flat. It was bliss being able to shut a door and I dreaded returning home. Thankfully, when I did go back, it was merely days before I could move. My mum had come up while Wriggles was in hospital and stayed to help us move. She felt closed in on too, and we were so eager to leave to pastures new, that the day before the removal van was booked, we packed large rucksacks and laundry baskets of essentials like the kettle, biscuits, Wriggles' chair and milk, the sterilizer, toys for Wriggles, and an airbed, and got the metro over to the new flat and spent the day in a barren place. We must have looked like lunatics on the platform with binbags of belongings shoved under the pram and on our backs, like refugees. There were ladles sticking out of coat pockets, cushions stuffed in coats and teatowels worn like scarves. It was a cold and drab April morning, but we practically skipped up the road and ran into the bare and empty building. It was bliss. It was so quiet and secret, I felt like I could breathe again. It felt like playing house, proudly organising the few belongings in the bare rooms. We stayed for hours until the sun set and night began to creep in. Reluctantly, we left to put Wriggles to bed, spurred on the the thought of being there the next day. When we moved, it felt as if finally, seven months on from the birth, our life as a family was starting.
That first weekend there, my aunt, uncle and cousin came to help organise the flat. We still had no cooker, washing machine, sofa or chairs, so spent the weekend sat around on the floor, microwaving vats of soup my aunt brought over from her home in Cumbria to eat, inbetween putting up curtain rails and unpacking boxes. We pegged and sellotaped duvets and bin bags as curtains and sat on crates, got lost trying to find Homebase, lived off cups of tea and instant soup-in-a-packet and biscuits, and played and played with Wriggles who adapted marvellously quickly to her new palace. When appliances arrived, they sat in the middle of the floor for weeks like large traffic islands, waiting to the installed. I didn't care one jot. The disorganisation was laughable but yet heavenly.
Having my own space meant the world to me, it meant that finally I could establish a routine, do things as I intended to as a mummy, speak when I wanted to, and deal with everything in my own way. I could ask for help to deal with the depression that had engulfed me, safe in the knowledge that I was allowed to have bad days and that I wasn't under the watchful eyes of people, who had the best of intentions but would never look away. And so I began to find myself as a mummy. With furniture at last.