Caroline Foran clearly remembers her family's Christmas morning ritual: she and her brother would rouse their parents, gather on the landing and descend the stairs to see what Santa had left, before ripping into their presents. It was a tradition that was maintained until as recently as last year – but 2020 will be somewhat different, as she now has a family of her own. Her son Caelan will be five months old at Christmastime.
Foran, who has written books and helms a successful podcast about coping with anxiety and minding your mental health, has been characteristically open about the ups and downs of her transition to motherhood on social media.
Since becoming a mother, I am just so grateful to my parents for every explosive nappy changed, every tear tantrum and teenage mood endured and everything in between that they did for me
“Usually Christmastime makes me very anxious – the pressure to be happy and be here, there and everywhere,” she says. “As crap as the pandemic is, I think I’ll enjoy it, as it’ll be slow and low-key without the massive build-up and racing around. My focus now is Caelan and I’m hoping by the time he’s almost five months we’ll be somewhat beyond this initial newborn blur, have found our feet and be able to really enjoy the time together.”
Motherhood has also given her a newfound gratitude for her own parents: she jokes about wanting to gift them a “business-class trip to Asia”, because “since becoming a mother, I am just so grateful to them for every explosive nappy changed, every tear tantrum and teenage mood endured and everything in between that they did for me”.
And she has wise words to impart to new parents in a similar position. “Lower your expectations,” she urges. “Don’t build it up to be this amazing, magical, blissful experience – especially if you’re at home with a newborn. It’s okay if you feel a bit stressed with the lack of sleep and a bit untethered by the newness of it all – but it’s temporary and you’ll come back to yourself eventually. Christmas is only one day; enjoy the time to get cosy and focus on the small stuff.”