The Secrets I Haven’t Told Anyone after Becoming a Mother
I had wanted to become a mother for the longest time; my husband and I dreamt about our family life for at least 4 years, before we were blessed with a positive pregnancy test.
From that moment on, nothing went as planned; I spent 5 months in bed vomiting up to 20 times a day, I had to battle with the scariest thoughts in the loneliness of my tiny room, and I survived on crackers and diet coke instead of kale and sweet potatoes.
To top it all off, I had to be induced at 38 weeks, as my daughter wasn’t apparently growing, and my birth was quick but very traumatic.
It definitely wasn’t the experience I had dreamt of.
But after the longest 9 months, I was finally able to hug my baby, and she was tiny and beautiful and smelled divine. She made me a mother. I was a mother.
And, as a mother, I thought I had to love every hump and bump, every pain, wailing moments, and sleep-deprived night; I had to be grateful, right? So many women go through miscarriages, IVF, failed attempts…so what was I complaining about? Society and people were out there to remind me on a daily basis how lucky I was and how grateful I had to be.
Still, I had some thoughts that kept coming and going that I bottled up for the longest time.
Was I feeling ashamed? Possibly
Was I feeling guilty? Definitely
I felt I was failing myself miserably, as I couldn’t get any happiness from the motherhood experience, also if I had wanted it so badly.
This is what I haven’t shared with anyone:
I had more unhappy than happy moments
The first 3 months of my daughter’s life were the toughest on me, and on my relationship with my husband. My baby cried day and night, she was constantly feeding and wailing in between. I didn’t feel that loving connection mothers claim to experience; I actually felt quite detached from that little parasite that was sucking the life out of me. I was unhappy and quite envious of those people that could attend to their daily business without having to worry about poo explosions, nipples pain, and constant settling. I just wanted out, to go back to the normal life I had before baby, where I could go to restaurants, leave the house at 6 am for a walk, have a proper restful night and complain about how tired I was in the morning (can’t even imagine I used to do that). But how could I share this with the world?
I couldn’t tell my husband, as I was afraid he would say the same, and he would make it real. I couldn’t tell a doctor because I could see a diagnosis of postnatal depression coming my way (and I swear…I wasn’t), and I couldn’t tell my friends, because I was utterly ashamed.
But I was unhappy, and I wished someone could have been there to hold my hands through it.
Sometimes I really didn’t want to mother
My daughter finally grew out of the never-ending crying and she became a social bee, and a pleasure to be around. But still, some days I didn’t want to mother and I wanted to be mothered. Having my family overseas meant that I had no break; I wasn’t showered with visits, gifts, and love. If I wanted to see people, I had to carry everyone out of the house and deal with the consequences. There were days when I didn’t feel like coordinating my child’s nap with someone else schedule, or when I didn’t want to deal with a wriggly breastfeeding session in public. There were days when I just wanted to leave the house with a wallet, head to the beach and have the longest swim; the first that it happened my daughter was 15 months. 15 frigging months. It was the most divine, 30 minutes long experience, and I will never forget it.
Not wanting to be a mother doesn’t mean that I don’t love my daughter, as I do, and more than anyone else will ever love her. But there is no denying that it was tough, and I’m only human after all.
There were days where I felt like punching the mirror to see the blood coming out
Growth spurt, teething, injuries, sickness. If you are a mother, you perfectly know how impossible a child can become when going through a leap, and is unable to express himself, except through tears. I have always been there for my daughter, I held her through every single crying session, and I promise to be there for her for the rest of my life, whenever she needs me. Still, there were days where I felt hypersensitive and drained, and the only thing I wanted to do was to take that raw pain away. Punching a window had felt like the easiest way out for me; I could see the imaginary blood running down my arm in the most gothic way. But I have never done it, and never will. I heard a mother jumping out of the balcony (from the ground floor), and I now understand why she did that.
I resented the lack of support
When I was in bed, pregnant, unable to go to the toilet by myself, my family didn’t come to help (I honestly can’t remember now if I pushed them away as if I didn’t want to scare them, or if they brushed the situation off). When I felt completely drained when Luna was going through her first months of hell, I asked for help to a friend and she told me “I don’t want to come over to your place, as I need to get out; let’s meet to a café’ or maybe we can do it another time”; when I said yes to a night out, someone “jokingly” dropped the comment “As long as we don’t talk about babies”.
I have never felt so unsupported in my whole life, but this is not a feeling we can share, right?
Some days I just wanted to yell “I don’t give a s… about your troubled relationship, just listen to my f… complaining for a second, will ya?”
There was a lot of resentment brewing underneath, and I had to talk openly about it when I could, and I had to let it go and move on when I couldn’t.
But I sometimes wondered…what happened to that “It takes a village to raise a child?”
People complaining about their normal life were idiots
Picture this; sleepless nights, poor food choices, dehydration, an ever crying baby, 4 am wake up call, a rushed drop off to childcare and a demanding schedule, and a colleague sits next to you, looking forward to a chit chat and says “Oh gosh, I’m exhausted, I went out last night and had too many glasses”. When can we cross that fine line where it is socially acceptable to punch someone in the face?
Hear me out, I’m not saying your problems are less important than mine because I have a baby and I have it tough, but this is my raw truth; this is what was going in my head during those long and precious months.
If I felt this way, it means there are thousands of mothers going through this phase, and feeling ashamed, guilty, drained and depleted. Share this article, let them know it’s ok to feel like shit, to have dark thoughts. Motherhood is tough, and it is time for them to speak up and reach out.
Thank you for listening.
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