When the idea of parenting becomes a little too daunting.
I was standing there in her room, holding her in my arms thinking to myself ‘OMG! I have to do this all by myself now. I thought we were doing this parenting thing TOGETHER?’.
So you have 9 months of excitement and anticipation as you grow a precious little human-being! Now she’s finally arrived! The joy is almost overwhelming and you can’t avoid thinking ahead to the wonderful future that awaits as your newborn baby grows!
[Screeech…. sounds of breaks halting abruptly] HANG ON A MINUTE… lets get real here! What about the anxiety? First of all, while you were pregnant… HOW THE HELL is this watermelon really going to get out? Do women REALLY push that out THERE? REALLY?…. WHAT THE…? Yes, I want my baby healthy, but does it need to get any bigger?
[Cue Partner’s sympathetic comments…] We’re in this together right? Yes, there’ll be someone there when the baby arrives. Millions of other women have survived for centuries doing this with much less! (What about the ones that didn’t survive???) Oh cr@p! Whaaat? The doctor will make sure you don’t feel any pain (What about those women who say you should feel the pain? Should I be letting myself feel the pain?)
Your mind will implode if you dwell on all of it at once. Just BREATHE…… yes, breathe….
Sorry, I can’t offer you any right or wrong answers here and let that be our first Parenting lesson. Right there. NO JUDGEMENT!
There are just some days when you feel a wave of overwhelm and a twinge of baby blues as the reality of what being a Mum means FOR YOU!
There’s no doubt being a Mum brings some of the greatest joys life has to offer. We also make some of the greatest sacrifices we can give! But there are days we can just feel so alone in this journey. Changing from an independent, capable woman to now feeling much less than capable some days and far from independent is simply terrifying at times.
I clearly remember the day my husband returned to work for the first time after our first child, my daughter, was born. I remember her crying and he’d not long left for work. Nothing dramatic in the big scheme of things. I was standing there in her room, holding her in my arms thinking to myself ‘OMG! I have to do this all by myself now. I thought we were doing this parenting thing TOGETHER?’.
Of course we were and still are committed to parenting all three of our children, together. It just hit me like a tonne of bricks that moment that I was going to have to deal with my child on my own for the major half of every day – for the rest of our lives!
That’s what being a Mum was going to be for me. I mean I would have to make judgement calls – on my own – not just decisions on what to eat and where to go, but things on what to do with this little person to make sure she stayed alive – I’d never been so acutely aware that I was solely responsible for making sure I did everything ‘the right way’. When could I shower, go to the gym, get my eyebrows done? How was I ever going to be free again with this kind of responsibility attached to ME now? I knew that’s what parenting is about, but just coming to terms with what the reality of that looked like for ME was terrifying.
We had met in our 30s and had a whirlwind romance – like we were engaged, I’d moved countries and transferred my job within 3 months kind of whirlwind. The kind of story that ‘when you know, you just know’. Perfect. We both knew we wanted kids, no question, we also knew I’d need IVF to fall pregnant (whole other story). I’d even worked as a Nanny for a few years in my early 20’s, so I went into this with my eyes as wide open as possible!
The reality still hurt.
I couldn’t wait for my Mothers’ Group to commence, I just needed company and someone else around me that would understand what I was going through each day. I was fortunate enough to have a great group of Mammas and we still keep in touch to this day. We formed bonds that I couldn’t have formed in any other group. We’ve been through a lot with our Mamma’s – from newborns passing and one of our own losing her battle to cancer. I’ve shared things with those Mamma’s that you wouldn’t think to share with anyone else.
The greatest lesson I have learned through my MG is that we all need community. We need other people, we are human beings, we’re social creatures and we need to be with one another. Don’t try and do it alone. Even when your local group can’t meet. Go places where other Mum’s gather. There are loads of places you can just meet other Mum’s in your community. Local libraries have story time, often free, walk at the local park, go for coffee at a local kid-friendly cafe. You don’t have to chat for long to start to form bonds with people. Sometime it’s just nice to feel human and know what you’re going through is normal. Remember that other Mamma might be feeling exactly the same way as you today – or have a word to change your outlook.
Babies have a way of getting people talking – even while they’re sleeping!