When I decided I wanted children, I totally knew what I was letting myself in for, right? When I, finally got married and started trying for our first child almost immediately, I knew perfectly well that I would have a pregnancy filled with happy smiles, beautiful bumps, wonderful yoga poses to die for and a spring in my step. I knew childbirth would be a breeze, and I especially knew that for the first few months of Noah’s life, I would bond with someone I had created, grown inside me for 9 months. And then, 4 years later, I knew that my first born and I (and subsequent child!) would be the closest things ever to have walked the earth, to have a special bond, to love each other more than life itself.
I’m talking bullshit, obviously.
Pretty much none of the above happened for me. Did I see it coming? Of course I bloody well didn’t. Did I anticipate much, if any of the epic shit and sweet holy hell I’ve been through since becoming a mom? Fuck no. Did I sign a waiver that dictated I would never have any downtime, never be allowed a day off sick, never allowed time to rest? Not to my knowledge. Did I anticipate that there would be days when I would want to neck a bottle of sleeping tablets when it all got too much? Did I appreciate I would would feel like I was being torn by each limb and every fibre of my heart and soul, wracked with “Mommy Guilt” on a regular basis?
No. I fucking well did not.
All of this has been floating around in my head since someone actually said it to me recently. I don’t know if they were serious (I’m hoping to fuck they really really weren’t). But the thing is, they are words that at the moment (or most other times) I can’t even take in jest, let alone in a serious conversation. But having listened to them in previous conversations on life in general, I have really come to question people’s beliefs and understanding of motherhood*, parenting, hormones, mental ability and anything else you want to throw in there. The words “you signed up for it” struck more of a nerve than I realised at the time.
There is no predicting becoming a mother. There is no, NO predicting what hormones may do to a woman once she becomes pregnant, not even at the stage where she has given birth and has the child - her child – in her arms (if that is even a possible situation).
For me, I can’t describe the awkwardness of becoming a mom. I love Noah to bits, obviously, though it felt like I had to, rather than I wanted to. He and I didn’t get on very well in the early days. He was fine – what else did he know? I struggled. Uncomfortably so. I know other moms out there go completely the opposite way. Their baby arrives, and suddenly nothing else in the world matters. Nothing. Friends, family, their own parents - NOTHING. And weirdly, because I have seen the difference in myself from pre- to post- children, I get it. I understand it can be that different. It makes more sense than I would like.
The tough part is understanding it. As an outsider, I can’t answer for anyone else in their own circumstances. But I do believe it takes a big strong person to stand up and even BEGIN to consider what’s happening. Mentally AND physically. I believe it’s almost impossible to understand another person’s mechanics when you’ve known them in one situation for so long. Mostly because it’s what you’ve grown used to; become accustomed to; come to understand. Thing is, I don’t believe anyone is 100% prepared for becoming a mom, because no one cam dictate the behaviour, thinking and emotions of a newborn and a parent.
I wanted to have children. Sure I did. Of course I did; it’s one of the reasons The Mr and I got married. I wanted to bring someone into the world (and Jesus, what a world to bring them into…crap…), I wanted to experience the battle wounds of pregnancy and childbirth, I wanted to have someone I could be proud of for numerous reasons, I wanted to feel that strong maternal bond and parental instinct.
Shit man, imagine my surprise when that totally didn’t happen, eh?!?
Fact is, I didn’t sign up for anything. I didn’t agree to anything. Because how can I when I have no idea what to expect? It doesn’t matter which way any parent goes, mom or dad, I’m willing to bet they didn’t know the extent of the impact of parenting. And not even just after the first child, but after the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 12th – WHATEVER. There IS no dictating.
Honestly? I think some people actually lose their minds when they become parents. I’m convinced they go through hormonal and physical transformations so huge, it throws them completely off-kilter, turns their world upside down, so much so that nothing is common sense any more. And them there are others who are crazy insane, and suddenly become the most sensible people upon having children. And the fact is, it was unpredicted. And none of them “signed up” for any of it.
Weird thing is, I think it would be wrong to say I didn’t have some sort of inkling. Of course I knew it wouldn’t be plain sailing. I knew it wouldn’t always be sweetness and light. But no matter what, the day that positive pregnancy test happens, there is no predicting anything that will come next. I’m seem to recall never having done sleep depravation classes prior to the last few weeks of pregnancy. I must have skipped the classes where everyone went round smashing each other in the crotch with a metal bar, usually without warning. And lord, I just KNOW I should have paid closer attention to my depression so that I’d have a good idea of coping with the possibility that I didn’t love my son as much as I should do.
I guess it was obvious that I was destined, as a mom, to never ever be allowed, or feel need to complain about anything I go through. It was clear that I should have had the foresight to “toughen up” and deal with whatever motherhood was to throw at me; despite not even being able to mentally stand up in the first place. Obviously, I should have been able to not only foresee balance but also imbalance; dictate my emotions, my strengths and my weaknesses.
Over exaggerating? Being sarcastic? Poking fun at myself/whingers/naysayers? Of course I bloody well am.
Being a bit over dramatic? Should stop whining about the bits that break me and just think about the bits that are good? Maybe.
Being blatantly bloody honest about how much of it I think is bullshit? You bet your ass.
* I mention motherhood, though honestly, I refer to moms and dads. Moms aren’t the only ones to go through mental and physical overhauls when kids are born. I’ve seen that with my own eyes.