Right from the moment you become a mother you are expected to be an expert in everything related to babies.
No, I'm not making this up. This actually is something everyone around subconsciously expects of a mother. And it's not only the others, even the woman who has just delivered expects nothing short of perfection from her very own self.
She might never admit it. Actually, she might even go as far as scoffing others who do believe so. But eventually on a certain long, feeding and nappy changing night it does dawn on her. She realizes, staring at her own harrowed reflection on the bedroom mirror, that she is just like her newborn, at times scared while at times lost in the journey they have begun together.
It is going to be a month since we brought little M home. And, honestly much to our surprise, the time before her in our lives seems non existent, as if very far away. This realization itself is extremely scary, after all parenthood is no joke.
To tell you the truth, it's a bit overwhelming for me. I never knew I would feel so connected to her instantly. Honestly, it terrifies me, this bond that seems so strong yet so fragile. I'm worried and befuddled for I fear not measuring up, I fear falling short of being a good mother to her.
It's not easy this transition and this phase, far from it actually. It seems as though the entire stress of the world has suddenly been unloaded on to me. Emotionally I feel vulnerable and there is no explanation as to why. Or, perhaps there is. The emotions seem full up to the brim. Those stubborn tears, ready to flow at the slightest of provocations, sometimes even without.
Just the other day, there was a sudden avalanche of tears when I was given a glass of milk to drink, for my own good of course. Why? Seems silly, doesn't it? Well, I guess the milk reminded me how much I dislike drinking it, filling me with negative thoughts, leading to some kind of domino effect. And then the flood gates opened bringing out those tears for reasons beyond comprehension. I feel as though I'm being pulled from all directions, driven over the edge by invisible triggers.
It is quite natural, actually. It appears it's okay to be moody, unpredictable and emotional in this phase. Many factors contribute to this. A woman who has just delivered is not only in need of a physical recovery but an emotional one too. But there is paucity of time for both. Add to that pressures from unwarranted quarters making things even more complicated. What you have as a result is a sudden deluge of stress and emotional outbursts. I must admit I have had a few already.
But why should I feel stressed?
I don't need to be an expert at motherhood. Nobody is. I'll learn the tricks of the trade in good time. And since no one can love little M like I do, I'll be the best damn mother she can ever have. No one can blame me, judge me for not being 'perfect'. No matter what, I'll be the best mother for little M.
So, if you are a mother too or are going to become one, I want to tell you this. Don't blame yourself if in between cries and coos, you find yourself helpless. A mother is also just another human being, a normal human being at that too, without any super powers as opposed to what everyone forces one to believe. It is okay for a mother to not fit the mold prepared by society.
So, it's okay if...
- ...I don't excel in everything related to little M form the word go.
- ...I cry when I'm not able to pacify her.
- ...I have a foul mood without any apparent reason for I don't need one.
- ...there is slight delay in my reaching a crying little M. It could be because I'm in the loo or having dinner at the end of a very, very long day. Well, actually there is no such thing as 'end of day' for me but that's another story.
- ...I'm upset at smelling like milk throughout the day.
- ...the leaking breasts bring a deluge of tears every damn time.
- ...I complain about the same things over and over again.
- ...no one else understands the extent to which the slightest of judgement hurts because they don't know me or what I feel.
- ...the sudden realization that my life is never going to be the same again brings about an anxiety attack.
- ...there are moments when I feel extremely alone in this new phase inspite of all the support from my family. I'm allowed that liberty.
- ...there are times when S being able to continue his office or go for that occasional dinner with friends annoys the hell out of me. Yes, in spite of him being the perfect hands-on-dad. I'm allowed that too.
- ...there are moments when I feel it is unfair that only my life and my body had to change so much.
- ...not getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep makes me cranky throughout the day.
- ...I feel saddened that this maternity leave will lead to me restarting my career from scratch, even though there is no love lost between my office and me.
- ...I don't have the patience for sermons on how to be a mother or how difficult it is to be one. I have an idea because it is I who went through the pain of delivery and who has also got those stitches as a reminder of that.
- ...sometimes I just want to be left alone.
- ...I don't wish to meet or talk to certain people.
- ...I feel vulnerable and not cared for inspite of everything being on the contrary.
- ...I fall asleep feeding little M at times.
- ...I find it difficult to wake up at 3 in the morning for feeds.
- ...I sit and doze off at times while feeding her in the middle of the night.
- ...the disheveled look on my face makes me irritated with everyone around me.
- ...I miss going out of the house while the fact is I've always loved being cooped up at home.
- ...I feel scared at the thought that there won't be an off day in my life for a very long time to come.
It is okay if I dare to feel what I actually feel.
Don't get me wrong (actually even if you do, I don't mind), I'm also enjoying this phase, strange as it may sound after reading this post so far. It's true though and motherhood, anyways, is multi-dimensional to say the least.
Just hugging this little human being that we made melts my heart. This feeling, I must say, is unparalleled, scary beautiful but unparalleled. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. Well, not after having had the sweet taste of it. The things she does, the faces she makes and the way she holds on to me with her tiny little fingers, I can't explain what it does to me. I want every bit of her in my life, in my arms but while doing so I think it's okay if I don't try to please everyone around me, even my subconscious. It is not a race that I have to win, just a relationship with my baby that I need to live and build.
So, if you are a mother with fleeting moments of judgements aimed at you, at times from unexpected quarters, I say, ignore them. Because I will try to do the same. I'm not here to prove my motherly aptitude to anyone and neither are you. It's okay, just be you!
Mommies reading this, tell me about this phase in your life. Did you feel the same way and how did you deal with it?
Labels: MommyTalks, Motherhood