No one told me motherhood will be this tough. After getting married and while we were talking about having children I kept insisting I can just have a baby get up and go back to work. Everytime the topic of children came up I’d quip “I’ll just get a nanny and go back to work”.
I kept hearing about how motherhood will be all sorts of wonderful, how magical the feeling will be, don’t get me wrong I think all that’s true. But no one really sat me down and told me how difficult it would be, how much it will drastically change my life and my perspective about everything, how it will shake me to the core, and introduce fears and worries I never knew I would ever have. Not a lot of people talk about the realities of motherhood, it’s like we are all scared of admitting that motherhood is kicking our butts because we don’t want to seem different from all these wonderfully perfect moms, we don’t want to be labeled a bad parent.
But in reality we’ve all, and I do mean ALL, had our bad parenting moments, moments when we’ve felt guilty, we’ve felt bad, we’ve felt like we’re not being the best we can be for the most precious little humans.
We are scared to admit how the realities of motherhood are driving us nuts, we don’t warn would-be and new moms about it enough so when the baby comes everything comes as a shock to them.
And it came as a big shock to me!
To be fair I had been forewarned by my difficult pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy and I was put on a strict diet I felt all I could eat was paper. It was also a sensitive pregnancy, one that had me rushing to the ER for threatened miscarriage, so I spent most of my pregnancy stuck in bed. Little did I know that my difficult pregnancy was just a prelude to the endless joys and pains of motherhood.
I had an emergency C-section, and my son had to stay in the neonatal ICU for jaundice. My little fellow came out so yellow. And my milk didn’t come out soon enough so my husband had to rush to the hospital every 3 hours with my few drops of milk. I remember walking, more like crawling, my way to the hospital so I can breastfeed feeling like I was going to split my body in half if I move too fast.
And then we got to take him home. I didn’t know how difficult it was to care for a new born until I had a new born screaming for milk with a poop soaked diaper at 3 AM. My eldest was a voracious eater who would snap on my breasts like a turtle to suckle every hour! It was beyond exhausting.
My sleeps felt more like extended blinks, as soon as I was almost free to enter a dream my crying baby would pull me back out into reality. It was insane.
At some point I was starting to really question if it was possible to die out of exhaustion.
“Do people die from lack of sleep because of a baby?” I would often ask myself.
The first day I thought this was like playing mommy when we were kids, after weeks I realized this is like playing mommy that never ends. It never ever ends!
I was in a dizzying cycle of changing diapers and feeding. You will feel like a mussel with a barnacle stuck to it, one that wants to suck the life out of you every hour and poops and pees after feeding.
The climax of my realization about motherhood came one afternoon when my kid was a few months old. I was so tired from all the changing, and feeding, and singing, and playing, and rocking him to sleep. I was so sleep deprived I felt I was going to shut down as soon as I see my son close his eyes for a nap. And I did.
I have already changed the sheets, his clothes and mine a couple of times that day that when he vomited again on the sheets all over my top I didn’t care anymore. I was too catatonic to get grossed out. And as soon as he closed his eyes in the rocker I was knocked out tired right there on his vomit in the sheets on the bed.
I was soaking in vomit, but I didn’t have energy left to take my top off more so stand up and change. I felt sticky, sleepy, tired, and cold. I felt his cold vomit on my back right there on the bed and kept thinking I will remember this day. The day I slept on my son’s vomit with vomit all over me.
I couldn’t believe it was happening, I never thought I’d experience it but I did.
I tried to take a mental picture of what was happening before I conked out tired. There I was snoring , sleeping on vomit, with vomit all over me.
That day I realized how difficult motherhood is and how very little we talk about motherhood’s difficulties. How much more we need to be able to let mothers admit to having their ass handed to them because motherhood at some point will kick your butt. And you have to be physically, emotionally, and mentally be ready for it. And no other person except another mom will know and understand how it feels.