Becoming a Mother
24th October 2019
Everyone has a different journey to becoming a parent. Planned, accident, longed for, ambivalent, easy, hard, slow, quick. For us the journey started when we started having conversations on days out, saying things like “this would be a great place for kids”. When we got married we definitely knew that we wanted children in our future, and once we were secure enough we did that thing where we ‘weren’t not trying’! And before we knew it I went off wine and tea and we were pregnant. It happened quickly and we didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about it.
That was 6 years ago now. And I have incredibly strong memories of being pregnant. The excitement, the fear, the endless waiting. We found out super early and it felt like an age before we met our biggest girl.
We had so many conversations during that time; practical things like names, bedrooms, money. But we also talked about how it felt to become parents, how our lives would change. But I’m not sure we were able to fully appreciate the change that was to come.
I had a difficult pregnancy. I had a condition called SPD which meant that my pelvis separated. It was incredibly painful and I could barely walk. In fact I needed crutches in the last few weeks. I also had an irritable uterus which meant that I was very uncomfortable a lot of the time. So during that time I was mostly focussing on that and birth. I’m sure most women are the same but the idea of giving birth was terrifying. I had never even been in hospital before. So I wasn’t actually thinking too much about what it would be like to become a family of three.
So when we actually brought her home, after a very difficult birth, it was a bit “what now”. I threw myself into the practical aspects of caring for her like I was the best mother in the world, but I didn’t feel like it. Those pictures I’d seen of mothers cradling their babies, looking adoringly at them, nope that was’t me. To everyone else it looked like I had it sorted, but I didn’t, not really. On the surface it was ok but it was mainly driven by anxiety, by a desire to get it right, and give my daughter the best start possible.
Because of my professional background I have a lot of knowledge and understanding about children’s needs, development and parenting and I never really worried about my daughter and how she was doing. I did worry about me though. At times I worried that I would never love her the way I was supposed to. That we had made a huge mistake, that my life was over. That my thoughts of happy family times was a myth.
Thankfully things did change. And because of my background there was always a part of my brain that knew that I was just in a bit of shock and that things would change. But it took a long time. And I still have my moments when I struggle with the demands of parenting and family life. When part of me wishes I was still free to do what I want to do when I want to do it.