UniMum: Mourning Sickness

Hannah Wong Headshot for COLUMN

By Hannah Wong


Earlier this month my family welcomed a new tiny human, Elsie, 11 days late. Her face is small, round and wrinkled, evidence of her 9-month stint spent in water. Her head fits in the palm of your hand; her fingernails are no bigger than a grain of rice; her limbs no wider than the width of your two fore fingers. She’s undoubtedly the sweetest and the tiniest human, still to grow into her own skin.

I should feel absolutely delighted for my sister-in-law and her husband for their new stage in their lives but I’m guilty of only being a fraction of the happy I’m supposed to feel. I’m jealous. I think of the memory of those hard early days and sleepless nights…no, it’s not that or the cracked nipples either.

We’re inundated with pictures of the newest tiny human and she changes every day. I’m studying her face and the comments following it. I’m asking my other, more rational, half what he thinks of his niece, and he replies, “aye, she’s quite cute.”

I turn to him, my face skewed in defence: “and what- ours isn’t?”

This is often followed closely by: “oh no one ever said that about Tiny Human. They must think New Tiny Human is much cuter.”

I’m beginning to feel bitter of NTH’s overwhelming power of cuteness, everyone collapsing in ‘ooooooohs’, ‘aaaaaaaaahhhhs’ and ‘awwwhhhhs’. What is wrong with me?! I’m horrible. This must be symptoms of something. I hope.

The fact is…I’m drowning in sadness. Since the NTH’s arrival I’ve been in mourning. I’m mourning the loss of my Tiny Human who is no longer so tiny. She’s not small or loves her cuddles as much nor does she fall asleep on my chest anymore. She’s crawling and walking round our furniture and is now desperate to escape arms to go exploring.

I’ve previously spoken about my freedom. At first, it’s a relief when your babies start to sit up themselves and become more mobile because they don’t need you to carry them. In fact, your list of parent duties slowly dwindles -I can notice it happening already!

But instead of relief, the thought of them not needing you is surprisingly frightening because it is a loss. If only Tiny Human could refuse to grow up.

This month, Tiny Human turns one and she’s already in the transitioning period between baby and toddler, she is becoming more like a wildling: unruly, stubborn and determined to cause chaos. She will undoubtedly start telling me that I “know nothing” eventually.

My laptop hasn’t been left scathed, I’m now missing my “s” key and it’s only a matter of time before my keyboard becomes nothing but scrabble pieces. Rational Half’s PS3 is under attack as well, more so his FIFA15 disc, which I’m tempted to encourage. My coursework has been thrown all over the floor, papers everywhere, polypockets ransacked and it won’t be long until I will be requesting an extension on the grounds of my baby ate my homework.

At least I’ll have cake to help me cope with the mourning sickness.

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