Exactly one month ago I was lying on a hospital bed waiting to be wheeled into an operating theatre for a c-section. Then I had no concept of how much my life would change, how rewarding, worrying, challenging and wonderful the following month was going to turn out to be.
Nothing - no books, no amount of talking to friends, no antenatal classes - can prepare you for experience of motherhood. I don't know quite what I expected but the reality is nothing I had previously conceived of. Imagine having someone constantly demanding you do things, but in a language you can't understand and so end up guessing all the time and maybe half the time get it right and the other half end up feeling hopeless. Add to that never getting more than 90 minutes of sleep at a time, and a bit of high decibel screeching and you are getting close. Then add to that the sheer joy and happiness of when your own child looks at you, or when at 3am you lie listening to her breathing and marveling at the wonder of how lovely and gorgeous that noise is.
Finally, imagine, as I experienced last night, looking over at this small bundle of sweet smelling snuffle in pink and realise that you won't be giving her back at the end of the day, that you will not be able to hand in your notice on this particular career, and that she is your future.
Then you are getting close to motherhood.