May 15, 2012 — First let me be clear … I absolutely love my children. I make sure to tell them I love them no matter what they do or who they are — I will always and forever love them.
With that said, I have to admit motherhood is nothing like I thought it would be.
My children are not who I imagined they would be and I am not the mother I expected I would be. For better or for worse, life is not that predictable.
While my pregnancy was easy compared to many, I had a rude awakening during labor. Let’s just say things did not go according to plan and my body and babies did not do what I wanted them to do.
Thankfully, everything turned out just fine … that is until life as a mother changed my very existence.
To be honest, I felt quite deceived. Why didn’t anyone tell me motherhood would be like this? That I would feel like this? That newborns needed to be fed this much?
That babies cried that much? I won’t go into other parts of pregnancy and motherhood most women are too embarrassed to say out loud. Everyone just talks about how lucky you are or how cute the babies are. Ha!
Rarely do mothers talk about the sense of self-loss, confusion and even anger that accompanies motherhood. We keep those confusing feelings to ourselves because we want to believe becoming a mother is the best thing that could happen to us.
We don’t want to admit how we really feel.
The reality of motherhood, though, is that it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, including the ones we happily share ─ excitement, joy, laughter, pride ─ and the ones we don’t want to talk about — emptiness, anger, a sense of loss of self, resentment.
Instead of the fun-loving, energetic mother I’d dreamed of being, I was tired and frustrated. I loved my children, but I was not happy. I felt very alone. Becoming a mother was a period of huge transition, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I didn’t understand that the agony and ecstasy of motherhood exist on a continuum, with blissful and content on one end and postnatal depression on the other.
Chalk it up to poor sleeping and eating patterns or the fact that I did not fit the stereotypical image of a radiant mother with endless patience, but I rarely managed to have my children beautifully turned out, and I definitely felt like I’d lost control of my time and my space.
As reality set in, so did the feelings of inadequacy. The “supermom” fantasy was over.
I gained two babies at once (yes, twins) and lost much of my relationships with my husband, family and friends.
Other things, such as giving up working outside the home and taking on the huge responsibility of parenthood, took me a long time to work out.
Not to mention I was socially isolated because of spending so much time at home with little adult company.
I fumed over the fact no one told me motherhood is more about sleepless nights, screaming babies and dirty diapers than blissful bonding moments between a calm mother and her angelic baby (not to mention two at once).
But, there is a happy ending. By the grace of God, I finally came to realize motherhood is the most important and challenging role I will play in my life.
I finally feel like I have discovered my strengths and weaknesses, gained wisdom, learned grace, found peace, feel joy, trust my intuition and know myself.
That is not to say I have arrived. I am a work in progress, on a long journey full of daily ups and downs. Every day holds a new challenge as my children grow and learn about themselves and the world.
The difference is now I have more experience and more confidence. I have finally come to realize and can admit I cannot and should not do it alone.
There are others like me out there, feeling how I feel, struggling as I do.
People told me it would get easier, and while I can’t say it has, my expectations are more realistic and I try to find the beauty in the midst of the chaos called motherhood.
Most of all, I now have faith on my side, which really does make all the difference.
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