The other day I met some fellow mothers (my friends) for a cup of coffee. What a session it was! Most of us mothers just gulped our coffee the moment it touched room temperature. The rest of the time we were either feeding or entertaining our kids, or running after them. However, while talking to these fellow moms, I realised, mostly we see experiences of mothers who paint a rosy picture of motherhood. But there are some ‘not so good’ feelings attached to motherhood, most of which a lot of us are too afraid to voice, on the possibility that we’re mistaken for being bad mothers.
While I’m going to voice some of these feelings in this article, I must echo the thoughts of all moms I know – it is all worth it… very worth it:
I am a total mess
With a new baby comes weight gain, hormonal imbalance, and fatigue for the mother. The attention that a baby needs adds to the tiredness, and we look like a mess. We take quick showers, hardly ever do our hair, throw on anything that’s big enough to cover our huge bodies, and comfortable enough to nurse in. Don’t even get me started on the mess piling up at home.
However, mothers I want to say that this ‘everything is dirty’ feeling will not last long. As the baby grows up and gets used to separation time after a few months, you shall get, if not plenty, enough time to take care of yourself, as well as work on yourself and your home.
Something will happen to my baby
Oh my God! The fear that something bad is going to happen to my baby still haunts me, but not as much as it did earlier. I remember, awake or asleep, I used to have constant visions that someone has kidnapped my child, or my child has fallen down. More often than not I used to find my heart racing every time I heard a crime story. I used to be extra cautious while taking my daughter out, or climbing or coming down the stairs. Yes, I realise my fears sound silly now. But they were very real to me then. However, my fears subsided with time.
I am lonely
The loneliness is killing. In the beginning, your baby sleeps in short bursts, and tends to stay up most of the night. So the time when everyone else is asleep, you are awake. ‘Newborns sleep for 14-16 hours a day’ – big myth! At least for me it was. And you are not awake for any kind of ‘me’ time; you are taking care of a baby who has taken a night time feed for the fifth time and pooped for the third time, and I don’t know burped how many times. And yes, your husband or mother-in-law or your mother pitch in, but in the end, you will find that it mostly ends up being you, awake into the night. Sometimes I’d lie awake nursing my daughter, crying as I watched my husband fast asleep. But it all passes.
I don’t understand my baby
How many of us think mother’s instinct is all messed up and takes time to develop? While I read as much as I could on newborn care and development, it still took me a lot of hits and misses to understand what my baby’s signals meant. At one time around her second month, I can safely say no science worked. It was only after 3-4 months that things started falling into place, and I could understand what my baby really wanted. I still get it wrong sometimes! Cut yourself some slack moms, your baby is also getting the hang of how to better explain what he/she wants. It all works out!
Nobody understands me
While my husband and mom indulge some of my irrational fears, at the best of times, people are more keen on giving you advice than listening to you about what kind of mother you want to be. I carried the baby, and I’m up all night nursing and soothing her, yet somehow most the things I want to do for my baby tend to be wrong. Strange isn’t it? Advice is great to help make informed decisions, but should in no way be decisions made for you.
9 months in, I’ve learnt how to tackle this. I listen, I nod, I smile, and if it’s advice relevant to me and my parenting techniques, I follow it, otherwise I carry on with what I want to do. No explanations given and no unwanted stress taken.
I am always tired
Feeding, bathing, massaging, putting to bed, cleaning up, tidying our living space, changing diapers, making baby food, spending time with the family and your husband, and I haven’t even gotten to grooming myself – a mom has a lot on her plate. It took me a long, long time to be able to manage all the tasks I had, and manage to get some sleep. But your baby’s laughter, and their tiny arms wrapped around you will take you through it all. Watch out for mental exhaustion. I now deliberately un-see many things, or put them on tomorrow’s to-do list, just to sit back and relax and have some ‘me’ time.
I was a terrible daughter
Every waking day I realize how terrible a daughter I have been to my mother. Not that my daughter answers back to me or doesn’t listen to me (yet), but the sacrifices mothers make has only just hit home. The guilt crept up on me over the course of many months, and till today I feel bad when I think of my mistakes. It’s funny how your mom catches on and knows exactly where all the newfound love and appreciation is coming from, so don’t feel shy letting your mom know how awesome she is!
My life is over
Everything takes a backseat the moment a baby arrives. Not to mention, so does ‘romance’. Add to this the post partum depression that kicks in, and you’ll be a tear stained mess for a bit. But it sorts itself out. For instance, I realised that my life has changed, but is far from over! Sometimes the adjustments are not easy to make, but I’m more constructive now than I was before the baby, since I have to be efficient and plan my day around her needs.
The key is to feel every emotion and run with it. Yes there’s no handbook, so learn along the way, and cut yourself some slack.