No, not the secret to motherhood, the secrets of motherhood, the bits the world doesn’t tell you. Yep you’ve seen the mushy love stuff posts from me and yes, being a mum is amazing but it’s also hard, so very, very hard and here are some of the reasons why.
That moment that the last 9 months has been building up to, the moment you hold your baby in your arms and instantly fall in love, or not… it just didn’t happen like that for me. All I felt was relief, that he was out, that he was safe and utter amazement that this human had just come out of me. Where was the wham bam? the lightening bolt? what was wrong with me? absolutely nothing as it goes. It just doesn’t happen like that sometimes but no one tells you that, no one tells you that you aren’t a terrible mother because you didn’t have that feeling the moment you saw your child. It came eventually, sometime around 6 weeks in, sat on the sofa with scummy hair in my crusty pjs and barely functioning it just came. I looked at him and it hit me like a train, I knew him, he knew me and it was love.
This is normal.
I’d spent months looking forward to the relief of loosing the constant back pain, heartburn, and swollen feet. As soon as the labour was over I would feel 100 times better right? yeah, about 3 months after the labour. How had I just not thought about this, giving birth is major, your body will never go through anything like it so why had the physical recovery from this huge event never crossed my mind before. No one told me I would spend 3 weeks walking like a geriatric cowboy, that I would be scared to laugh, cough or sneeze for fear of loosing a stitch, that knowing I had to go to the toilet would bring a fear only second to actually giving birth. Lavender oil baths were a saviour once I’d mastered the art of getting in and out of the bath with my knees almost still together and getting up the stairs to the bath for that matter.
This is normal (unfortunately).
It was never going to be a quick sneeze and out was it?!
Those first few nights, the absolute realisation of the enormity of the responsibility, this was it, we were in charge of this human and we didn’t have a clue! How on earth did they let us leave the hospital with him alone? Did they forget to make us pass the parenting exam first or give us a handbook or send someone with us to make sure we were doing it all right? Why wouldn’t he stop crying? what were we doing wrong? why did we think we could do this? why was it soooooo hard? Babies cry, we weren’t doing anything wrong, nothing can prepare you for parenthood and it’s so hard because it is so hard. If one more person said to me “it will get better, it will pass” I could have screamed but they were absolutely right. For us it was just about hanging on for dear life at the beginning and doing whatever it took to survive each day.
This is normal.
4. I love you but I hate you
You are the father of my child and I love you but I want to stick a spade in your head every other day. Mr Me was a fantastic support in those early weeks and did so so much, so why did I have moments of imagining holding a pillow over his face?! My body was knackered, I looked like shit, I felt like shit, I was barely functioning and felt a failure, his crime was simply looking like a semi normal human being, I was jealous.
This is normal. This. Lots and lots of this.
I have never cried so much in my life as I did during those first 2 months. For 100 reasons and for no reason. Sometimes I would realise I’d been sobbing for the past 15 minutes without even realising. I had expected the “baby blues” of the first week or so but I hadn’t expected it to go on. I started to wonder if there was something more going on and spoke to my health visitor about it. Happily it did all pass but there were real moments of despair where I thought I can’t do this, I’m walking out of this house and not coming back. I felt on the edge of breaking a number of times but luckily things did start to improve and I began to feel like an almost sane version of my new self. I was becoming a new person and that realisation and the struggles that came with it hit hard. The new part of me has now settled in with the old me and I’m back together again and yes I do still have the odd tearful moment but more often than not they are now happy tears.
This is normal. (But if you are going through this please, please, please speak to someone as things can very quickly escalate).
6. Under pressure
The sheer pressure and judgement that new mums face can be crippling. Not only does this come from other people but we do it to ourselves. I could write forever about this but all I really want to say is, your best is good enough and is all your baby needs. You know your baby better than anyone and that really does count for a lot so do not give a flying f*ck what anyone else thinks of your choices, because at the end of the day you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t in most cases. One of the best pieces of (invited) advice I received was to remember that happy mum equals happy baby so do whatever it takes to achieve that, whether that means breast or bottle, disposable or reusable, dummy or not, wine or chocolate 😉
What one secret do you wish someone had shared with you or what do you really want to know but are too scared to ask?