The Reality of Motherhood
Motherhood pounced on me after an unplanned pregnancy back in 2013, when we welcomed our wonderful baby boy into the world quite calmly just three weeks before my 25th birthday. As smooth as his delivery into this world was, I cannot say the same for the weeks, months and years that followed. Even today, I cannot say that motherhood is a smooth and easy experience and I don’t think I ever will.
My now three-and-a-half year old son was born in England and after a day-and-a-half in the hospital, we were sent on our way; my husband and I, two complete strangers to parenthood, two complete strangers ten months previously to even the thought of becoming parents at this point in our lives. But there we were, thrown head first into a brand new world of chaos, confusion and heaps upon heaps of dirty nappies and literally constant sleepless nights.
Those first couple of weeks or even months with your first newborn are nothing less than hectic and even, dare I say it, a little bit strange. Anyone that has experienced this too may understand when I say you feel as if you are in your own little bubble, cut off from the rest of the world feeling like the sole purpose of your existence is to make sure you do whatever it takes to keep this little being alive, happy and healthy, while at the same time being completely and utterly exhausted, overly emotional and in actual physical pain from childbirth and breastfeeding.
Motherhood hit me hard. I absolutely adore my son, but yes motherhood hit me so hard that sometimes I found it difficult to even breathe. I think physically, I took to the role of being a mother really well, especially with the support of my husband who is a totally hands-on dad. But mentally and emotionally it is something that I struggled with – and even now, three-and-a-half-years down the line and another baby later, I sometimes still find it difficult, although those times are thankfully very few and far in between.
Mostly I think this is because I wasn’t expecting or planning for my life to change so drastically, so quickly. In my head, I had so many other plans and goals to achieve before even thinking about becoming a mother. Motherhood was something you did when you were an ‘adult’ and I guess at the time, I just didn’t feel ‘adult’ enough. Now I look back, I can appreciate that maybe I was experiencing symptoms of post-natal depression, although it may not have been fully-fledged and didn’t manifest completely. But it was there; this heavy feeling of not feeling ready, not feeling good enough and just generally, not feeling happy the way that apparently a new mum is supposed to.
I had my second child, a little girl, just five months ago right here in Mauritius and I must say, it has been so much easier emotionally and mentally this time round (although the exhaustion and sleepless nights are still ever-present – and maybe now, even more so!). Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that I am a mother of two children and although I really do struggle some days, I feel so incredibly blessed and honoured to have these two beautiful, pure souls around me every single day.
So, what is the reality of being a mother?
Well, motherhood is exhausting. It’s arduous. It’s lonely.
Motherhood is dragging your eyelids open and forcing yourself out of bed to get your child breakfast at 7:30am on a Saturday morning when all you want to do is sleep. Motherhood is mustering every ounce of strength you have in you to persevere through those first few weeks of torturous breastfeeding – and then, enduring two years of interrupted sleep to give your child the best possible start in life that you could physically give them. Motherhood is spending your days and nights cleaning and mopping up poo, wee and vomit. Motherhood is sacrificing your alone time, for more time with them. Motherhood is cancelling plans last minute with friends and family because your child is getting the sniffles. Motherhood is spending hours putting your children to sleep after running around after them all day and then working well into the night to meet work deadlines. Motherhood can be so incredibly lonely, despite never actually being alone – a strange type of loneliness in itself.
Motherhood is… hard.
But, let me tell you something.
Motherhood allows you to experience a love so pure that it simply cannot be expressed in words. Motherhood is waking up to see a gorgeous little toothless grin waiting for you, as the sun begins to peak silently through the curtains. Motherhood is gasping in amazement as your child tells you the most wonderful, imaginative story about his day. Motherhood is cuddles and kisses with the most special people you will ever know, knowing that these moments will not be forever. Motherhood is those precious times when both children fall asleep and you just look at them in awe, not quite believing just how incredibly lucky you are. Motherhood is knowing that the bond you share with them is one that can never be broken. Motherhood is a love so fierce and so strong that it can and will take your breath away, many, many a time. Motherhood is the most blessed and most beautiful experience that I believe a woman can have.
And as challenging, demanding and painful as it can be, and despite the days when I reminisce over my life before kids, motherhood is absolutely amazing and I would not have it any other way.