Monday, March 9

enjoying motherhood?

It was one of the first questions I was asked on being a new mother.

Each time, I was left speechless, without an answer, unsure, gasping like a goldfish.

You know that situation where someone comes up to you in the street with a big smile saying something like, 'Hey, it's been ages, how are you, that last time was a blast!', and you have no clue who this person is?
However, you reach into your mind, into all the corners, feeling around frantically for a connection to a memory, an understanding. All to produce an answer that would make sense or be appropriate. But you come out empty-handed.

Well, it was a bit like that.

I felt that I should know the answer, that it must be there in my mind somewhere. But I couldn't make a connection.

You see, it wasn't that I did not enjoy motherhood. It's that the word 'enjoy' felt alien. I didn't recognise it at all. I had no clue who it was.

I was taking weeks to recover from a c-section. I was hormonal. Things with hubby were shakey. Baby was not sleeping so well. Breastfeeding was not working. Baby was not putting on weight.
This all then moved on to, incredibly bad sleep, irritable baby, aggressive baby, high-needs baby.

Umm, was I enjoooooying it? Hmmm

I loved her, was fiercely protective of her, did all I could for her..... and we did have many lovely moments, don't misunderstand me. Yet I kept waiting for this bliss that other mothers spoke of. This natural state that seemed to me the stuff of fairytales.

Was I enjoying it? I was surviving. That's what it felt like. I was trying to put one foot in front of the other..... one moment at a time. Do you ask a mother with a babe in arms who is gripping the dingy after the ship has sunk, while it's still storming, if she is enjoying motherhood?

Then, about a month ago, things changed.

It all began when I started to allow her to release stress through crying. Aggression is a lot less, irritability is a lot less, sleeping, hmm, up and down, but better.

About a couple of weeks ago I suddenly had the realisation - I'm enjoying mamahood. I cried. Emotions, sheesh! Happy tears anyway.

But yes, I've been enjoying mamahood, enjoying my baby. We've had so much fun, giggles, kisses and cuddles.

Even through her frustration of being unable to stand on her own, of trying to crawl, of teething again, we have been good. Just normal parenting challenges, not the Nightmare of those first months.

She cries now in my arms when she needs to, stress is released, and she carries on with her baby life. Totally. Normal. Stuff.

And there, right inside normalcy, is this magical........ Enjoyment.

Pretty groovy.

15 comments:

  1. SwedishJenn10 March, 2009

    My favourite post ever. I came at just the right time as I had that very seem epiphany the other day but under totally different circumstances and in a very different way..but the same! God love ya and love that photo of WildFlower :-). Miss you all, SJ

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  2. Ahh, the heart sings to read such a post. Once again, thanks for your candour, wit and wisdom about motherhood. It's such a gift to follow your journey through the dark and light. Beautiful shots! x

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  3. How wonderful! Another beautiful, honest post. I'm still waiting for my answer to come. Once we have insurance I'm going to have to talk with someone about PPD (nevermind that I'll be about 2 1/2 years post-partum by then). Still, things have gotten a bit better thanks to night weaning and sleep (at last). But, I've still got a long way to go. But Goddess! Do I love him so much even w/out the joy.

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  4. Yes -a beautiful post. I certainly relate to your experience with the early months of motherhood. When the enjoyment comes it's both a relief and a revelation.
    Gorgeous pics of the Wildflower!

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  5. I think I am one of those rare mothers that loved being a mother before I ever was one. Not to say those early months were easy! I just blamed the difficulties on our culture, rather than on motherhood itself. But I must say, since I decided to start having more fun with my babe, instead of worrying how things should be, I have been even happier.

    BTW, I let Michael cry the other day. He was just crying every time I put him down, so I thought maybe he needed a good cry. It was so weird to let him cry in my lap. I think it was only 5 minutes, though it felt longer. Not sure how I feel about it, but he did get a good long nap afterward. The nice thing about it, though, was that for the first time I wasn't stressing out that he was crying. I noticed I was much calmer the next day as well.

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  6. Oh, yeah--CUTE pictures!

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  7. Adorable little flower you have there! and another post that made me catch my breath. Thank you x

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  8. oh what a beautiful baby. beautiful post too. my high need boys were once high need babies and like with you things just worked themselves out. i think because like you i followed my heart and gut and not the "well meaning" advice of relatives.
    we still have challenging moments, but because my children and i share a history of mutual respect and compassion for one another it's just so much easier. we work through those moments so much faster and easier.

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  9. Thank you for your honest post. I have numerous apprehensions about the whole motherhood thing and it is nice to know that things aren't always "perfect" in the beginning for everybody.

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  10. Oh Mon, I'm so glad. Wildflower has a beautiful smile, and I'm glad she's feeling more up to sharing it with you!

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  11. she really IS cute...and I can really relate to your post, like others have said...for me, the older they get the better - the more we can communicate and interact, the more I enjoy mothering...it feels like I really just started to get some balance back in my life in the last year, when the twins hit two, and overall it just keeps getting better...

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  12. Beautiful post and one I can relate to. Things went a bit pear shaped with my labour/ the early days too and I took it quite hard, so when enjoyment happened it was truly wonderous.

    Beautiful pics of the Wildflower. :)

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  13. That is so right on... It really is an interesting question to be asked at such an early time in new motherdom whether or not we enjoy it. Part of me would want to just say...yes its wonderful to avoid the obvious confustion if we spoke frankly from our hearts and exhausted minds. Explaining it would take too much engergy. So, I simply answer ... Im hanging in there. And if I feel the need to ask anohter mother a similar question it usually is "How are you braving it??" Thanks for posting this :)

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  14. You are such an awesome mama!
    I'm glad you're finding some balance now. We all do eventually.
    She. is. absolutely. the. CUTEST!!!

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  15. I completely understand your feelings of confusion and the struggle of those early months. I am so glad that you are loving it now. She really is as cute as a button (strange saying, no?). That crying to release thing is something I want to try with Beanie but it's hard to get her to actually release her tears. And yes, you are more than welcome to visit the CC in spirit. *cackle*

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