If you’re expecting a lewd, lascivious confession, that will get hearts racing and cheeks blushing – this aint it! Those of you who know me though, wouldn’t expect that anyway! In all honesty, you also wouldn’t expect me to use the word ‘aint’ – if I was speaking, I wouldn’t be able to pull it off at all!
Although I’m starting off in a fairly light hearted way, what I’m going to write about is, in my opinion quite serious because it’s something that still isn’t addressed – even in this day and age.
I’ll start of by listing some of the pressures on women in society right now, some of you may be able to identify with the following: a) you must be successful in your job; b) you must be fit, slim and healthy; c) you must not – I repeat, must not look your age. You must be forever youthful – even if this means pumping your face full of ungodly substances and sacrificing virgins, every full moon; d) you must be able to have it all; travel and be cultured, drink until you drop, spend like a raving lunatic, afford your own property, if you’re single, sleep with who you want, be in a perfect relationship with the perfect man; have the perfect career….have a perfect family at the same time….
So…what’s my confession? Well, it’s to do with the last two points…have a perfect career and a perfect family at the same time.
When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child – obviously I was ecstatic. It was what me and husband wanted. We were the right age. It was the right time. I was doing really well in my career. It was all great. The problem was – I didn’t realise how hard it was actually going to be! We all think having a baby must be easy. What do they do? They eat, sleep, poop – that’s it. We tut and roll our eyes when we see little monsters screaming in public, throwing a tantrum. We’ve all shook our heads and thought – if that was my child…..!!!! `We’ve all judged the rubbish parenting of these screaming demons and marvelled at how people can’t handle one tiny person. After all – how hard can it be?
Nothing compares to it.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not about to whinge and moan about being a parent, because it is the biggest blessing in the world. And I’m not about to be insensitive to people who would have loved to become parents, and for one reason or another, it just never manifested. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say.
Becoming a mother was an incredible blessing – and I became acutely aware from the moment that I gave (believe it or not, it hadn’t really hit me before then), that I was responsible for this tiny, helpless, beautiful life who was nestled on my shoulder and chest. And the love? There isn’t any other love to compare it with. You are fearful and feel like a superhuman at the same time. All the time you look for danger and try to protect your baby from it – and you feel that if your child was in any danger – you don’t even know what you’re capable of doing.
I’m acutely aware that I haven’t got to the confession stage yet – but I’m about to….
I didn’t enjoy it. I’m a mother twice over – and both times – I didn’t enjoy the baby stage. I loved my babies – the love I had for them was unquestionable. But I found it the hardest experience of my life. The sleep deprivation. The helplessness when you don’t know why they are crying. The fear and helplessness when they are ill. The isolation from others. The only thing people want to talk to you about – is baby things. People forget you have a brain. Your life revolves around the next sleep, the next feed, the next nappy change. The judgements from professionals because I didn’t breastfeed. You’re tired and hormonal – don’t underestimate the impact of those hormones – you just are not in control of any aspect of your life.
The reason why I am confessing this – is because not many people feel it’s ok to talk about the challenges about this part of life. There are the Mother Earth women out there, who take to motherhood like a duck to water. Who can do the hours of breastfeeding; who can make every meal from scratch; whose bodies snap back into shape almost immediately; who manage to have a semblance of a life in spite of being sleep deprived… My hat goes off to these amazing women – because they truly are superhuman. I couldn’t do it.
I also am in awe of women who are stay-at-home carers. They are in my opinion, the most undervalued and underestimated people in the world. You never get a break. You don’t get a wage. You are never promoted. People do not understand what you do. Unless you have a network of people – you are isolated. I felt that in just the short maternity breaks that I took – first 6 months, then 9 months. Because you don’t leave your residence to go to work – people don’t view it as work.
Now, my life as a mother – it’s different story. My babies are babies no longer – and this part of motherhood is amazing. I sleep. Go to the toilet when I want – a luxury not to be underestimated!!!! I work full time and use my brain to do what I was trained to do. And most importantly – my children now have the best of me. We chat, we have fun, we are silly, we are serious, we share, we play, we cook, we dance, we encourage one another, we love each other. I look back at their baby photos and think – they look so angelic – was it really that hard? Yes it was. But like everything in life – that part was temporary – and we move onto the next.
My husband jokes with me about having another one – he only says it to see the expression of outrage on my face. It works. Every time. Having said all I said about how hard everything was – had it not been for him – life would have been ten thousand times worse. He helped with the sleepless nights. He would patiently pace around with his daughters on his chest calming both them – and me down at the same time. He would have the energy that at times I just couldn’t summon up.
I’ve actually come to the end of this post – and I suppose the point of my confession is this…I felt like I was not a good mother because I found babyhood really hard. But I suffered in silence because surely no mother is meant to admit that? I wish someone had been honest with me and said – ‘You might not like this part – but guess what? You’re doing great – the children are happy, healthy and growing – you’ll get through this, you’ll be just fine!’
I wish someone had said that to me. It would have made a massive difference and made me feel a heck of a lot better than I was feeling at the time. So if this is you – reading this, whilst you’ve able to snatch a minute away to read something different, and you’re feeling the way that I was feeling, listen to me when I say this…you’re doing a great job …you’re going to be just fine…keep going!