Since becoming a mother I take up more space in the world. Physically, I am literally bigger than I once was. My hips are wider. My arms are bigger and strong with lifting. Everything is a little more round.
I have also become a two-for-one package deal. She comes with me wherever I go so that's more space already. There's the buggy which is big and bulky and awkward. Then there are the bags. So many bags. And just when you think I couldn't possibly take up any more space there's high chairs and car seats and toys and all manner of accouterments. Sometimes I feel like I'm slowly spreading out and taking over the world like a giant blob monster in a bad movie.
And while everyone around me is ducking and dodging and bending and having to going around, I'm apologising. Apologising for getting too close, for slowing pedestrians down, for people having to circumvent the giant obstacle that is me and my baby and my buggy and my bags. Apologising for taking up space in this world as a woman and as a mother. Sorry sorry sorry.
Why? Why am I constantly and profusely apologising for taking up the space that I occupy? I do take up space in the world and that's OK. I take up more space than I did before and that's OK too. I'm doing important work over here and that needs a little room.
If I don't value the work that I do as a mother how can I expect other people to? If I don't own the space that I occupy how can I tell her to get out there and own her space in the world without question or apology? I can't. I have to walk the walk and talk the talk and occupy the space.
I firmly believe in that old adage 'be the change you wish to see in the world'. If I want the position of women and mothers to improve, and I do, I need to start owning my space, respecting my work and stop apologising.
So here goes.
My name is Fionnuala.
I take up space.
And I'm not sorry.