Our Motherhood Stories
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
I am a resolutely positive person, and if I am told something is going to be difficult, or defeat me, I often choose not to listen. This is not because I am able to remain upbeat, but mainly because I stick my head in the sand and decide that those negative feelings will not apply to me.
That is pretty much how I approached motherhood. During my first pregnancy with my daughter I just cherry picked the elements of motherhood I liked the sound of. Labour would be manageable, my baby would sleep and I would be back in my jeans by my 6 weeks check.
However, it turns out that even the sunniest attitude can't get you out of the realities of life as a new mum. In truth, I expeirenced everything that was foretold and more. Motherhood hit me like a tonne of bricks.
After a brief and straight forward home birth I found myself in hospital with my daughter who was born with dislocated hips. A very common and fixable condition, but one that turned my view of the cosy newborn days on its head.
The early weeks of motherhood were a baptism of fire, as I navigated hospital appointments and a cranky little one who didn't understand what was happening to her.
I look back on those early days and realise how tough and resilient it was making me, and if anything a strength of character was replacing my naive positivity.
All of this effort was utterly eclipsed by the earth shattering love I felt for my little girl. From day one I knew I could and would cope, and that I would do it because she was all that mattered in the world to me now.
3 and a half years on, and I am back in the new born days - my son was born in January, and I am revisiting all the same emotions of overwhelming love and worry that the exhausted baby days bring with them.
My children have changed me - entirely and for the better. Labour was manageable but intense, of course my children do not sleep through the night, and I honestly could not care when I next wear a pair of jeans. All that matters to me now is their health and happiness and I count my lucky stars every day - even if I would dearly love to drink a hot cup of tea this side of Christmas.
When I speak to new or nearly mums now, I tell them the same thing. Motherhood is the hardest job you will ever do, but every morning you will wake up and want to do the best possible job and keep on trying, no matter how much you may want to quite.
It's not a picnic, but it's the best invitation you will ever receive.
BC – before childbirth – I didn’t have a clue about the harsh realities of motherhood. How could I? Nobody mentions the nitty gritty, not-so-pretty stuff amid the fanfare of “Congratulations!!” and “When are you due?!?” I’m talking specifically about the un-glossy, non-glowy home truths of skin tags, shedding hair, crepey skin and peeing when you definitely don’t want to pee (my pelvic floor and I are NOT friends). But AD – after delivery – you’re also hit with the perfect antidote to these traumas: feelings of exquisite and euphoric love. I did not know my heart could grow this big.
When my first son Milo was born in 2017 I felt way out of my depth. How do I keep this precious creature alive?? I got a maternity nurse for the first three weeks – the biggest luxury – and I cried when she left, practically grabbing her round the ankles. I finally plucked up the courage to take him out on my own in his bassinet buggy. It was a chilly December morning. His hat had fallen off, and an old lady at a zebra crossing peered at his bald skull. She turned to me and offered her oh-so-very-helpful-advice: “Excuse me, but he should really be wearing a hat. Babies feel the cold more than us, dear.” What I heard was: “YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A PARENT!!!!!!!”
Three and half years on, and one more baby boy called Noah, I’m a lot less sensitive. In fact, I’m begging for support whenever I can get it. Just this week, I took the boys on the bus to go shopping and they were hopping from seat to seat, banging on every surface, and yelling on repeat for snacks. All eyes were on me and how I was going to "deal" with my children. My calm yet firm comments, bribes and threats weren’t getting me anywhere and eventually my eldest whacked his younger brother and then me. I could hear the collective intake of breath by passengers. Then an old lady pipes up to my son: “You should not be hitting your brother or your mother. Just don’t do it, do you hear?!” She then turns to me with a “We’ve all been there, love.” It felt like a virtual hug and I could've cried.
Before I’d been a parent I might have been one of those silent, judging bus passengers, believing that my future kids would never behave that way. The truth is my kids are not obedient little ducklings; they move at warp speed, shout all day, and naughty tends to be the default for the older one. It’s exhausting, it’s maddening, and – if I’m caught in the crossfire - it’s painful. But…and there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there?…they are fiercely independent, they are leaders and they are the cheekiest, funniest kids I know. They’re a handful, but they're my handful. I wouldn’t change ‘em, but I do crave the occasional hug from a stranger.