Well, I don’t know about you, but when I became a mother for the first time, it was a HUGE shock to my system. I was sore from having a caesarean (it was a high risk pregnancy and I knew all along that I would be having a C-section) and I was utterly exhausted…especially in the first week or two.
My son was premature and was in an incubator. As a result I did not have to get up to do regular night feeds. I take my hat off to those Mums who breastfed immediately!
What did surprise me about becoming a Mother though, was that no one told me how tough it would be. Perhaps no one wanted to burst the bubble or inject negativity into the situation but I believe it would have helped me to be more realistic.
Now, I knew that I would be tired and that I would have a lot less me-time. That was a given. But what I didn’t expect was that there would be times when I would feel so frustrated and alone. A crying baby and a lack of support can push some people over the edge!
Any negative emotion that emerged was quickly suppressed because I felt I did not have the right to feel anything negative. This was a happy occasion and I should be the bouncing, happy Mum – like the ones in the margarine ads!
I tried the mother-baby groups but it made me feel even more inferior. The other Mums all seemed so confident and at ease with their offspring and I felt like the imposter that had stolen a child for the play session; awkward and unsure of myself.
Eventually, I found out that I was quite normal. Motherhood challenges all of us. The challenges never stop, just the nature of them changes.
Many mothers suffer from mother’s guilt and blame ourselves if our children aren’t sporty enough, outgoing enough, clever enough…
The best thing is to embrace the child you have rather than trying to get them to be the idealized version you had in mind. Remember too, that most mothers have felt failures at some point in their lives. Many mothers never reveal this though, so we all live with this unrealistic idea of what the other ‘perfect’ mothers are doing and how we fall short. Wrong! We are all in this together, trying to do our best and learning as we go.
I love my son to bits and despite all my misgivings about the quality of my parenting skills, I feel very fortunate to share my life with him. Make the odd mistake. Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for!
More on Mandy: https://www.mandyjane-lifedesign.com The author of this blog lives in Surrey, UK and offers counselling to couples and individuals. All names have been changed to protect the identity of clients. Personal client stories shared in this blog have been published with prior permission from the relevant clients.