A few months ago Jen Dugard wrote a blog, “What’s your motherhood truth?” and that inspired me to write my own.
I don’t really share it very often, and sharing this blog wasn’t easy (and I’ve changed it so many times). I’m used to sharing about my pelvic floor issues and pissing my pants, but writing about motherhood, it’s different. It’s scary as mums are being judged all the time! You can be judged because you are a full-time mum and you don’t spend enough time with your kids, because you decided to be a stay-at-home mum, because you still carry your baby weight, because you got too skinny or you spend too much time working out (not too much for you but for the people who are judging you), because you don’t give sugar to your kids and because you give sugar to your kids. The list goes on… But I decided to share my truth about motherhood, as it’s a part of who I am. I want to show other mums that if they struggle they are not alone, and that as mums we should support each other, not judge each other. There are enough people judging us already.
I never really had that maternal instinct and wanted kids. Actually, when I was very young I told my mum that I didn’t want to have kids (I think that was after I watched a movie showing labour with very loudly screaming women, LOL). And that didn’t really change through my adulthood. I was known amongst my high school and uni friends that I didn’t want to have kids.
That changed after I met my husband. I started to say “maybe one day” (my friends were like, “Oh, wow, you didn’t say no,” lol). But still I never had that need to have a child. I would quite happily live just with my hubby (just like Carrie Bradshaw 😉 ).
However we started to plan to expand our family….kind of anyway. There was always something to tick from the bucket list before having a baby. There was a car, a property, trip to Vegas for our anniversary (woo-hoo!). But before any of that happened, I was pregnant (oops).
I’m actually happy it happened this way. I’m not sure if I would be able ever to say, “I’m ready. Let’s have a baby.” It’s a huge commitment and it’s really scary, especially since we don’t have family here so we knew if we would decide to do it, it would be just US (us as me and my hubby, not United States ;)) and NO help!
I actually liked being pregnant. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t really have much to complain about except being really, really tired in the first trimester. I stayed fit during my pregnancy, didn’t put much on weight, and kept getting compliments about how good I looked (never had that many compliments before or after my pregnancy!). And I loved baby movements! I think that’s the best part about pregnancy (maybe not in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep and the baby decides to have a disco in your tummy).
I’m not going to go through too many details regarding my labour, just quickly: My contractions started at midnight (we had wardrobes being installed that day so I wasn’t going to go anywhere before that was done). We went to the hospital about 3 p.m., and they realized that Liam had the umbilical cord around his neck so they broke my waters and induced me to speed up the birth. He was born after 7 p.m. (I’m not going to mention the episiotomy without any drugs and how fricking painful that was, LOL).
You know when you read about that magical moment when they give you your baby and you feel that overwhelming love?…Well, it didn’t happen to me (and I did a “Calm Birth” course so I had high expectations 😉 ). I just wanted to fall asleep. So here you go, there is that first disappointment and feeling of guilt. How come I don’t feel it? How can I think right now about sleeping?! How selfish am I? I can’t actually remember when I felt it first (that love).
Till this day I look at him and still can’t believe that he was inside me, that he was a part of me (I actually try to explain to my 3.5-year-old that he came from mummy’s tummy, and he asked if I ate him…). And I feel very blessed, and now I feel that overwhelming love, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to quit this “job” sometimes (now probably not as often as when when he was two though). There was a time that I felt like that almost every day, because it’s hard and these little people don’t come with a manual, and they love challenging us more than anything else. And love throwing tantrums at the worst moments. But of course, straight after comes feelings of guilt. How could I even think like that?! Sometimes I wonder if I have these feelings because I didn’t really have that motherly instinct and need to have a child in the first place. And guess what comes next after I think about it…hello, more guilt.
Liam is funny and very active, and most of the time I love his energy. But often it can be really challenging as well. He can’t sit in one place for a long time and thinks that everything is a joke and doesn’t listen. He’s really strong-headed, and obeying rules is a real struggle. We can have a great day and then dinnertime might be a nightmare (I guess that’s not just in my house, though). Every time there is an issue with his behavior I question my parenting. Am I doing it right? Am I strict enough, or maybe I shouldn’t be so strict? If I just ignore it, will he give up easier? Otherwise we’re just going to keep arguing. Should I raise my voice or should I just stay calm, but how do I stay calm? How many times can I repeat the same thing to him? 1000 times?! Should I use the positive parenting method? Maybe that will help. I should read this and that parenting book…just when??? AHHHH!
I love seeing my little boy growing and learning new things. And I think that motherhood is amazing, but I definitely don’t find it easy. And it can be really lonely as well. We don’t have family here, and my hubby works on a different schedule than most people (he is a chef so he works when most of the people are having fun, and he’s off when most are at work or asleep). But I’ve been really lucky that I met a great group of supporting women through my mothers group. Some of us still see each other on a weekly basis. And I’m even luckier that some also have no family here and their hubbies are working on different schedules as well so we can relate to each other even more. And to be honest, if I didn’t have them I’m not sure how I would have coped for the last three years! We go through similar things at similar times, and there is no judgment. But there still are days when I feel lonely–on the weekends when my hubby is working and their hubbies are around, or in the evenings when my hubby is at work and I’m by myself at home with a sleeping toddler.
You can also feel lonely if you have many friends. You can be the first one from your friends to have a baby, and they might not understand that your baby needs to nap at certain times and always want to meet at a time which is not convenient for you. Or they might not understand that cool pubs or restaurants are not the best places to take your very energetic toddler to. Or you might be the last one to have a baby from your friends and they all have older toddlers/kids, and even though they are very supportive they are on a totally different schedule than you and you keep missing each other.
Even though motherhood is beautiful, every mum struggles at some point, even when they are not showing it. I think it’s really important to have supportive people around you in these times and speak up. That was one of the reasons why I decided to create a community of supportive, likeminded mums. Not everyone is lucky to find good friends in their mothers group, and in Sydney there are so many mums without family close by, so I wanted to create an outlet for them where they can meet other mums and socialize while they look after themselves and get that deserved “me time”.
Remember, whatever you are going through, you are not alone. Sometimes you just need to speak up. And if you are questioning your parenting skills or if you are a good mum, that’s ‘coz you just want the best for your child. You are doing an amazing job being a great mum.