On Becoming A Mom
It’s been 5 weeks since Sofia-Malou came into my life, which makes it 5 weeks since I last got some adequate amount of sleep. And it’s not because I have to get up and feed her during the night that I can’t get enough rest, but because I wake up every hour just to check whether she’s doing alright. Only when I get a glimpse of her little limbs moving around and her lips curved in what will soon be a proper smile, I can snuggle under the duvet and relax for a while. Actually when we were arranging the bedroom (the three of us sleep in the same room), we placed her crib in a way that Sofia-Malou was off my sight. It didn’t even cross my mind that I would want to have her close enough so that I could hold her hand during the night. Now the bed is placed horizontally to ours and I can see her every time I open my eyes.
‘So how is it? How does it feel to be a mother?’
‘Great! Amazing… It’s the most incredible thing… I just… I’m so indescribably satisfied and happy’ is what I really want to say.
But the mere truth is – I feel angry, frustrated and confused.
And let me tell you – Sofia-Malou has nothing to do with my feelings. Every time I try to imagine my life without her my heart feels like exploding. Actually I had recently had a talk with a family member, who told me that after they’d given birth they had the realisation that there was now a potential to experience the biggest possible ‘grief’ in their life.
With that said I couldn’t even imagine my life without the existence of my little girl. So if not her – who is responsible for those feelings?
All the other moms. I feel utmost anger towards the women in my life, who never shared how they truly felt when they became mothers themselves. Does this have something to do with the gender roles? With the fact that ‘the woman’ is supposedly brought into existence with the primary mission to become ‘a mother’ and is hence expected to immediately embrace that new identity and be head over heels about the whole things?
Think about it. When we sit together, fellow moms, we talk about how cute our babies are and pose each other questions in regards to feeding, sleeping etc, without discussing how we truly feel about the ‘me’ having completely dissolved in our new life situation. That the ‘me’ matters no more because all of a sudden it’s all about someone else. We refuse to talk about how we feel every time we get the urge to say that we also have ‘needs’ (such as to be alone for a few hours) and bite our tongues instead…because, come on, you can’t be that selfish, right? Now you’re a mother and it’s your job to be at all times there.
And what about the fact that you no longer feel as the girl your man fell in love with and that you can’t do anything about it? I try to look as presentable as possible by the time Philip enters the flat. But how normal and presentable can I feel while running like crazy from one room to another to finish off the laundry, breastfeed, and change my breast pads? No make-up or nice clothing can conceal the traces of the ‘mommy’ and make me feel like that ‘old self’.
Thinking back – being pregnant was a piece of cake. You and your little one are one whole and you do everything together (and you also end up getting a lot of attention as a soon-to-be-mommy). But that’s no longer the case. I’m a mom now – so I have to act like one. I will need some time to adjust to my new life(style) situation. And, of course, I will be taking you with me on this wild journey called ‘becoming a mom’. Yep, because while I’m a mom on paper in reality it will take much longer to accept and internalise that new identity and ‘wear’ it with proudness.
And you know – it’s not a crime to have crazy and contradictory postnatal feelings and thoughts. Just ask around and I promise you – you will find out that almost every newbie mom out there feels the same . But don’t expect someone else to speak up first, because of the utmost fear of being judged. But once you’re brave enough to share your thoughts in no time you will get empathic nods. And then our story will hopefully also spread among the future moms to better prepare them for what’s yet to come.