I had no real idea of the scale of the changes when I decided to become a mum.
Mothering did not come naturally to me and so with motherhood I feel like I lost me . . . well I guess who I thought I was anyway!
In the early years I felt trapped by my Mum title. I was a breast feeder and so I could only venture so far and for a certain amount of time. I felt like my freedom had been ripped away from me.
One day, I fed N. then rushed to the local mall to do some shopping. Of course shopping for kid stuff as this human had become the centre of my world and everything I did, I did for him. I was in the middle of The Warehouse, arms full of stuff and my phone rang.
I reached for my phone and saw My Silver Fox’s name on the screen. Fuck!
‘Hey babe! I’m really sorry to do this to you but we need you to come home.’
It was one of the only times I’ve ever dumped my un-bought items in a place they didn’t belong.
And I walked out of the shop feeling intensely resentful and frustrated with motherhood.
Another thing I struggled with was the intensity of feelings when you realise the level of responsibility of raising another human being . . . WHOA!
I remember sitting on the couch when N. was a few days old and completely freaking out about how I could possibly protect him from all the hurt, danger, pain, illness that life brings to us all.
I literally felt the anxiety of these thoughts course through my veins and it was physically painful.
‘I can’t do this. I can’t protect him. It’s too much!’
I wanted to give up right there and then. How do I cope with this kind of responsibility especially when I’m still a work in progress myself?
I remember back to my late teens and early twenties . . . I didn’t want kids. No way in hell!
I was never a baby person. I didn’t want to hold them.
I didn’t go goo-goo-ga-ga over them.
They did nothing for me.
My sister was the baby and kid one out of the two of us.
Relatives would put their babies in my arms as some kind of joke to see how I’d react and cope. The laugh was on them when one time the baby fell asleep in my arms when no one else could get them to settle. LOL.
I felt uncomfortable and it felt unnatural. I had no idea what I was doing . . . how to hold them, how to be with them. Alien like is what if felt like.
So when I remember back to this, I find it curious that I now have two boys. And I wonder where my thinking changed. It obviously happened between my early to late twenties but what was going on in my head for me to choose a path that had felt so unnatural to me?
Did I just surrender to societal expectations of what happens next when you meet your person?
Meet someone. Date them. Get Engaged. Marry. Buy a house. Then have kids.
And when your friends are following that path, how does that influence your lifestyle choices? Or does it? Do you subconsciously feel that you need to follow suit?
Or is it the ticking of the biological clock?
I was 30 when I first got pregnant.
Together, My Silver Fox and I decided to start ‘trying’ to have children. I pretty much got pregnant first time.
I was so naive. I thought, well I hoped, it would take some time. Time to get my head around this massive decision. The decision to share my life, and the rest of my life, with a person I/we created.
So that day when I took the pregnancy test, in the work toilets, I freaked.
“Fuck! . . . Fuck! . . . FUCK!”
How could this happen so quickly?
Wait, am I ready for this?
But there was no going back. It was too late to change my mind. That was the fucking scary thing about it all. This decision had become permanent.
When you’re pregnant, you get lots of advice and opinion on all things parenting and baby raring. I’ll never forget when some good friends shared with us what parenting is like.
They had three daughters, all with an age gap of 4 years. They said, “Parenting is 80% hard work and 20% good stuff. But the good stuff is so intensely good that it far outweighs the hard stuff.”
And I think they are right.
I love my boys intensely. They are my world. They do a great job of making me feel all the feelings and have been my biggest teachers in life, and will continue to be so.
I wouldn’t be without them now but I do often question why I became a mother. And I’m ok with that. To me it means that I’m conscious of the huge role I play in the lives of my boys and that’s got to be a good thing.