#MomDiaries: When being a mom is hard
August 6, 2018
Before I was Kiki’s mom, I was the PERFECT mom. I used to say how I would never do this or that. How I was going to breastfeed until she self-weans, how my child will never eat Purity and how I will co-sleep.
Then one day after more than a year of trying I found myself pregnant. People told me just how much my life would change. How I will have to change my spending habits, how I will be tired… I think my grandmother tried the hardest to warn me. Whatever, I was ready for it.
Earlier this year we had my best friends baby shower at my house. It was a grand affair attended by over 80 people. I was with other moms making jokes about being tired, sleep deprived and just the general pregnancy stuff like cravings and aches. They all had their favourite story and their favourite brand of nappies, bum cream, baby soap and blankets. But under all the “oh my goodness, this is such a cute outfit/ gift” was the realness of being a mom- behind our pearl earrings and pretty make up faces we all had experienced the same thing- the sleep deprivation, the hurt when your baby is sick, the crying in the bath after a long day when being a mom just became too much. But that is of course not what we as moms portray- we paint a picture of newborn bliss, of toddler milestones and little kid dreams. But I know by now that it is not all that. It could mean post-natal depression, giving up on breastfeeding 4 weeks into it because you just don’t want to anymore and the guilt of not being the happy mom.
I wanted to shield her from all of that. And I prayed that she would not ever get to experience the ugly side of it all.
Once upon a time, I was the happy pregnant woman, bright eyes and full of dreams. I literally had everything- the trendy camping cot that could sing, vibrate and play music. The pram, the baby bassinette, the cupboard full of pretty little outfits. I had everything planned. I was going to be super mom. I was going to be great.
And on the 7thof May 2012, the day was finally here. She was tiny and beautiful with her dad’s big brown eyes. I could not believe my luck.
They handed her to me.
And I realised that I don’t know how to do this.
Fast forward three weeks in:
I am so so tired.
I don’t want her to need me this much.
I want my old life back- I miss the magazine so much
I don’t want to be covered in milk anymore.
I want to go back to work, but my work clothes don’t fit me.
But if I can tell any new mom something, it will be this:
- It is okay not to bond with your baby the moment you see them. It is a new person. Get to know them. And the love that you will eventually feel for them compares to nothing in this world. It is a powerful force.
- You will have long and tiring days. Days where you look at yourself in the mirror and ask where you have gone. Where are you old me? Are you still in there somewhere.
- You might not be able to tell the difference between just being super tired and being depressed. Just that robbed me of so much joy and I missed so much of Kiki being a happy little baby. Because I was way too proud to ask for help and also because I was scared of what “other people” might think or say.
- Babies sleep, cry and poop a lot. Especially the crying part. I can’t remember how many times I dragged the poor child to the paediatrician because she would cry. And it is normal. Very soon you will figure out what each cry means- promise!
- Babies go through growth spurts that will make you hate life. It is normal.
- You will feel alone and look at all your friends on social media having a blast on a Friday while you are breastfeeding/ changing a nappy/ sit with a sick child/ colicky baby.
- Mom guilt is a THING. You will feel that you not measuring up. That all your friends/ other people have the mothering thing down, but you are struggling. You can’t cope. But it is not true- some people just hide the realness of motherhood better than others. (I’m bad at hiding it and I have no desire to hide it anyways.)
But the good outweighs the bad:
- One day your baby will smile at you. It will melt your heart. The smile will turn into a laugh. And that is my favourite sound.
- One day they will stop crying so much. Just as the colic started, it WILL pass. Promise you that.
- One day you will be able to wear black again (for me it took 3 years. I’m not back on white- yet!)
- The super unhappy and fussy baby will turn into a curious happy toddler exploring the world one marvel at a time.
- You will know what it feels like to love someone more than yourself. And that their happiness is your happiness.
- You will drink hot tea/ coffee again.
- You will get the hang of being a mom and being you. And you might even start to like the new you more than the old you.
You will survive it. I know right now you don’t feel like it.
You are perfect
You are enough
You can do this