I thought I was going to find motherhood easy. I mean I did everything right… I read all the positive birth books, did a hypnobirthing course and signed up to NCT with my partner. The birth of my daughter was relatively easy, I had a home water birth, a few stitches and it was all under 24 hours. It was magical in comparison to some of the births I had heard about. Yet I still struggled afterwards and I felt like I didn’t have the right to, that I should be coping better.
The moment the midwife left us on the day she was born was terrifying. I had spent all the time up until the birth, preparing for the birth and I knew I would have a baby but nothing prepared me for what life was like afterwards.
The weeks and months after were a rollercoaster of emotions, A lonely, tearful, overwhelmed time. I felt like I had lost my identity. I would cry when my partner went to work and count the hours until he came home again. I would cry when people were nice to me. I would cry when she cried out of pure exhaustion. I would cry ALOT.
But not too much too worry the health visitor or doctor that I was suffering from any mental health problems.
I felt like I was failing, like it wasn’t supposed to be this hard and that ‘I’ was doing something wrong. I didn’t get why I couldn’t just ‘get it’ like all the mums out there. What I didn’t know was that no one got it, everyone felt this way, that THIS was actually normal, it was just that nobody talks about how hard motherhood ACTUALLY is. At least not when you are pregnant.
I remember seeing the midwife from my NCT course when my daughter was a few months old and her asking me how I was. ‘I didn’t think it would be this hard’ was my response and she responded that it was normal, that they don’t tell us because we have enough on our plates preparing for the birth. At which I thought, I wish someone had told me that this is what it might be like, so I would have known that I was normal, that this was normal.
Motherhood is an incredible journey of which I am only 17 months into and it comes with incredible highs, love so overwhelming you think your heart might burst and the lowest lows that on some days make you feel like you won’t cope, that you can’t cope. That is the motherhood I know at least and that I feel no one talks about.
Kim Craig, a postnatal doula in Brighton once said to me during an interview on my podcast ‘it should be 51% baby and 49% mother’. What I have learned over the last year is that for me to find some balance in motherhood I have to look after myself almost as much as I look after my daughter. I need time for me, I need time to recharge, I need time to be me again and that is normal and something we shouldn’t feel guilty for nor feel like we are failing for doing.
Coach focusing on balancing self-care, parenting and building a business for entrepreneurial parents.
A group of mums sharing their experiences on pregnancy, post-birth, breastfeeding, work-life balance, and more.