Blimey. So, where do I start? Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a kind of limbo, waiting for my life to start again. I feel the most happy, sad, angry, frustrated, lucky, confused, satisfied, tired, fulfilled, bored, loved and lonely I have ever felt in my life. Anyone who says they find motherhood easy is lying. It’s that simple.
Everyone always said I would be a 'Natural Mother' - this was mainly due to my being very patient with other people’s little-ones. I remember visiting an old friend 3 weeks after she’d had her first baby. When she answered the door to me, she burst into tears. I cuddled her, cuddled her baby, told her to go upstairs to rest, then rocked her baby to sleep and looked after her for the afternoon. When my friend emerged looking much more ‘human’, she said that I was obviously a ‘natural’ with little-ones. Having now had my own, I’m pretty sure that anyone can be ‘good’ with other people’s children. It’s so easy when the experience is finite, when you hand them over and head home for a good night’s sleep. My God, it’s different when they’re your own. Oh, there we go, the guilt-pangs are setting in again - I’m worried this blog is already sounding like a long ol’ whinge about how crap being a mum can be. That’s really not what it’s meant to be. I’m hoping it’ll be a place where I can say all those things people are too afraid to say about parenting, where I can share my personal experiences - good and bad. And there’s a LOT of good there. The love is HUGE. I’ve never felt anything like it before. It’s almost as if you’re not allowed to feel this good without paying for it...hence the guilt and, in my case, the PND. I’m hoping that my honesty will help other mums, and, I know it’s a cliche, but I’m hoping it’ll let them know they’re not alone. It’ll be a digital hand-hold, an electronic meeting of sometimes muddled minds, a place where those words secretly buzzing around your head are writ large, openly shared. It’s the friend who nods back, saying ‘me too..I know what you mean’, when you finally whisper to them the anxieties, fears, forbidden thoughts you’ve been pushing to the back of your brain for so long.
I have to say that none of the mums I’ve spoken to have failed to take a ride on some form of extremely scary emotional roller coaster during the first year of their kid’s lives. You can’t experience that degree of hormonal mayhem and avoid going just a little insane, can you? I’m not even sure I need to put a question mark there, actually - I think it’s probably physically impossible. What’s weird, though, is how little people talk about this. Is it because they’re afraid that if you told the truth, no-one would have babies, anymore? Probably not. I think it’s actually because people who are having trouble being mums feel too ashamed to admit to their real feelings, after all, they’ve been graced with this amazing little being....it’s so entirely wrong to complain about it, isn’t it? Plus, admitting difficulty is admitting defeat, which to all we strong women out there, so used to being in control, would be a revolting thing to do. We’re all so bad at asking for help, often because we feel we don’t deserve it, don’t want to show weakness or don’t really know what sort of help we need. I know that if I hadn’t asked for help, I would be in a much darker place right now. Admitting that I was not a ‘Natural Mother’, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do...and then I realised that every mother is a ‘Natural Mother’..it’s just that the fictitious definition of what it is to be a mother is just that, fiction.