They told me, you know.
They told me pregnancy would be tough.
I didn’t quite realise how true that was until I was walking (or waddling) that walk. And I wasn’t actually 100% ready for what was coming either. I was one of the lucky ones. One of those women (probably very annoying to some) who got off contraception, did it once, and got pregnant..!
Finding out I was having a baby was so weird. First I was happy, then a little freaked out and I for sure didn’t deal with that second bit.
They told me being a mum would be tough, too.
But I didn’t listen! And even if I did, it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. You can’t know what it’s like until your little baby is here. It’s something you really can’t put into words, but this lady does a pretty damn good job. There are always babies in my family and I’m a baby person, but having your own baby is a whole other/different/odd/scary experience.
It’s the end of mental health awareness week and I’d like to be a little honest about my first few months of motherhood in the hope that someone else won’t feel like I did… Which was mostly weird. And alone. Scared and overwhelmed. I never really dealt with the fact that pregnancy and motherhood happened about a year sooner than I’d planned and then the baby arrived and I realised that I’d have to throw myself into it or self destruct.
Maybe if I’d had a positive birth experience it might’ve come easier, but unfortunately I didn’t really have a “love at first sight” moment with my baby girl. I passed out in recovery and felt the whole thing was an out of body experience and by the time her third day on earth rolled around I got the baby blues, real bad. So bad I feared it was more than that.
I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more since becoming a mother than all the tears I cried before. Just acknowledging that now, is odd. I’m not normally emotional and looking back, I felt like a totally different and weird person; I felt so out of control, I thought I was actually crazy. Like what people might term “cuckoo crazy”.
I cried from the most stupid to the most emotional things because I realised pretty quickly I had no clue about babies and it scared the shit out of me!! I was so scared that I hid how bad it really was from pretty much everyone. But the baby blues are no joke and I count myself lucky that they didn’t spiral out of control.
Going through that made me realise how fragile your mind is, and that you should take care of it, and nurture yourself. I wasn’t crazy at all, and I freakin hate that word by the way. I was just struggling to come to terms with being a mum and poor baby Mackenzie frightened the crap out of me!
Every crying spell, every failed nap, every long night, every witching hour, every difficult feed left me on edge. The good news is that she didn’t notice. That baby loved me long before I even realised just how much I was in love with her. She loved snuggles, loved sleeping with her mama, loved my voice and loved when I sang to her. She’d stop crying as soon as I walked into the room for goodness sake! It took a while before I noticed the miracle in that.
I went to a local help centre for mums to get some support with baby’s feeding and sleep and they ask everyone to fill out “the” PND test.
They told me I was ok, just majorly sleep deprived which effects your mood and outlook and they told me that post pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones are a clever little bitch.
They’re an unavoidable cocktail of chemicals coursing through your body that are designed to make you love and fear that little bundle as if your life depended on it. Because it does.
Those hormones also make your body hurt when your baby cries. It’s an actual physical hurt and it’s terrifying. I can only describe it by saying it’s similar to what it feels like when you get a fright, and your heart beats really fast, and you can feel your adrenaline pumping through your body. It’s an ache in your chest.
They told me it would be hard (and it is), but what they didn’t tell me about is all the love.
Yep. All the love. And how it would help me get past that wobbly start.
Love from my husband who, sorry ladies, is basically the best guy ever.
Love from my family who cooked, cleaned and took the baby for walks up and down the street when she needed to sleep but was too overtired to manage it.
Love from my friends who came bearing coffee, hugs and home cooked meals.
Love from fellow mothers; Our space group and my friends (old and new) who were ahead of me in the mum game and assured me it would get better.
And love from my mum who was unflappable with my demanding baby and assured me I was totally normal and NOT crazy at all. When I asked her if I’d ever get used to my baby crying she said “Darling, you’re 27 and it still hurts me when you cry”. That damn nearly made me burst into tears.
So to my fellow mums, new and experienced: it’s going to be okay, I promise.
You can do it because you already are, and that baby is in love with you as much as you’re in love with them (if only you’d stop to notice). Ask for help, take encouragement in the fact that it’s not easy for anyone, and keep going. Find out how strong you really are and you’ll surprise yourself. You can do and be anything that your heart wants to, like being the best mother that you can be. And remember: They told you it was hard because they knew you could survive it.
Did you have a wobbly start to motherhood, too?
If you are struggling, please reach out to any of the following groups. They’re all amazing at what they do: