Thoughts on Motherhood

Before I was blessed with Kade, I would spend a lot of time asking my friends who were mothers what motherhood was like, how it changed them, how their lives were effected by it and so on and so forth.

I got many different perspectives on motherhood from my friends, but the one thing that stayed consistent in their stories was how challenging the first few weeks were.  Challenging but also truly amazing.  I was told of how husbands and wives fought like cat & dog during those first few weeks, how resentment grew from the woman’s side cos she was doing it all while the man slept blissfully in their bed.   I was told of how their babies snuggled into them, almost melted into their arms and how wonderful that feeling was.  I was told that reaching the 6 – 8 week mark made all the difference.  Lots of stories.

I had created an idea of what it would be like in my head, one which I admittedly had coloured with rose-tinted glasses. 

Then I had one friend who told me that becoming a mother was the hardest transition in her life and that it quite literally left her with absolutely nothing left to give of herself to the people around her. 

I could not understand how being a mother could stop you from supporting your friends who were also facing life.  How becoming a mother and achieving the ideal of having a family could cripple you as a person for anyone or anything other than your new baby. 

But I was not a mother myself and felt that I probably shouldn’t judge.  

I was accused of not being supportive enough of this friend who had become a mother within a short period of time and was battling to adjust to the hardest transition of her life…

At the time, I was dealing with the loss of my father, working through my own grief whilst supporting my mother, sister and niece through theirs, had just received a negative on our 5th ART procedure on the day my father’s ashes arrived from overseas and was still in the aftermath of dealing with the “what could have been” of our chemical pregnancy from IVF # 4. 

I had to stop giving of myself to others and had to tend to my own emotional well being or lose myself in the process and lost that friendship cos I put myself first for the firt time.

Now that I am a mother myself, I still don’t understand where she was coming from.  Her argument was that she had not had the luxury of time to prepare for motherhood.  But with respect, in my opinion there is not a woman in the world who has that luxury.  Whether you become a mother by experiencing pregnancy, through adoption or via surrogacy, in my experience, you are quite literally thrown into the deep end when that baby comes.

We are all in a position where one day we are women, wives who are carefree and able to do things at a whim without thinking too much about what we’re up to and the next day we are Mother’s where our every decision effects this tiny helpless perfect being in every way.

We are all thrown into the spiral of sleep deprivation, of caring for our children, the endless, feed, burp, change sleep cycle that commands our lives for days and weeks on end…  We all need to adjust to having this tiny being  rely on us for their very livelihood.

Honestly, nothing you’ve thought of or researched or asked can prepare you for it.  It changes you indelibly.  Becoming a mother is incredibly challenging cos you’re holding all these balls up in the air and at any time they could drop and we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  To do the very best we can for our children.

It’s the hardest job we’ll ever do as women.

BUT it’s also the most amazing job we’ll do.  There is so much joy and so much reward in this thing called motherhood.

For me, being Kade’s mom has been an experience in filling me up instead of an experience of emptying me out.

I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t very good at physically being there for people in those first few early weeks of his life, I was SO consumed with my love for him, with my desire to care for him and to be the very best I could be for him, but I was always thinking of my friends who are still facing the challenge of infertility.  I was still praying for them.  And when they reached out to me, I reached back and comforted/advised as much as time would allow.  I remembered to be there for my close friends when it mattered most, as they faced small anniversaries of troubled times or failed cycles. 

Kade has been the salve for my soul.  My blessing, my miracle boy.

He has filled me to overflowing and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

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14 thoughts on “Thoughts on Motherhood

  1. Motherhood changes you forever. I now possess this most amazing killer instinct around Jadakins….if you hurt her, you will die slowly..smile. My transition into motherhood was a very easy one. My Jadakins was an angel and my B was around all the time. We shared the feeding times and the only fighting that happened was as to who was going to change Jadakins. We both wanted to do it. I was back at work after two weeks with Jadakins in her pram with three assistants ready to baby sit when I went into meetings. I can honestly say the first few weeks were quite easy…but then I am quite laid back and forgiving..not that that makes a difference (smile). I suppose every woman has a different take on it…What is important is that your little angel is loved. No preparation in the world will give you that experience…I do not even think that having more than one child does. Every child is different…every parent is unique. It is what we take with us that makes that experience precious. Enjoy motherhood….the time flies by so quickly.

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  2. It’s wonderful that your first weeks of motherhood have been so positive — but know that part of the differences between your experience and many others’ experiences occurs at a deep biological level. In my twins’ first months, I was overjoyed but also desperately depressed. I smiled all the time except when I was sobbing. I didn’t mind the challenging parts (staying up all night, comforting two crying babies, etc.), I could tolerate the difficult medical recovery, and my husband and I didn’t have any of the disagreements you described. In my mind and heart I was so happy, but another part of me felt worse than I ever have in my life.

    What you’ve heard about the 6 week mark is right, both because babies get easier and because they start smiling at you — except with preemies. When mine hit the 6 week mark, they weren’t even at their due date yet, so I had another month and a half before the shift happened. Over the past almost 2 years, it has gotten better and better and better and better. I hope that the same happens for you.

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  3. Dear Clam,

    What a beautiful post. I agree with you, I think motherhood isn’t what is shown in the brochures. I still think that dealing with being a new mom is a very individual thing. I remember someone telling me that she was depressed after the birth of her baby. I was much too young to understand why would anyone be depressed actually. And then over the years, I have understood that number of factors are in place – the woman’s expectation, her physical reality post-birth (lochia was horrible for me), the kind of support the mom receives and general condition overall.

    I am glad Kade is there in your life – and he is such a beautiful and precious little boy.

    I am sorry for all the friendships that were compromised in this journey. I think I know one of the ladies you are speaking of. I am so sorry.

    Take Care.

    xoxo

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  4. Hey Sam,
    I, for one, battled in the first few weeks; more than I realised I would. It was not as if I shunned people from my life (which many accused me of), I just was not coping well at all and wanted to be alone. People made insensitive comments at me – things were said which I didn’t need at the time, added to my own stress. Thing which surprised me…
    While I do agree with you that whichever way you become a mother, NOTHING prepares you, I can and will say that becoming a mother through adoption and only having one week to prepare for her arrival is more stress than I could cope with. Imagine finding out you are pregnant and then 1 week later, your child is born. Imagine having to deal with all the excitement of finding out you are pregnant, all the other beautiful moments, babyshowers and so on in just a few short days. I had nothing for Isabella. Not a stich of anything. And her room was far from ready. And I had a week to prepare for it. Once everything was done and ready and I was satisfied that all was as it should be for her arrival, it was Sunday night and only then could I relish her arrival. When I received the phonecall – yes, I was terribly excited, but then reality kicked in and I stressed about the fact that I was not PHYSICALLY ready (i.e. cot, nappies, etc) for her arrival. Emotion had to take second place at that time – and that is why I battled to cope in my first few weeks.
    We are all different in how we deal with the first few weeks of motherhood and I think that it is something that is easy for others to comment on. I will be the first to admit that I had many, many delusions of grandeur; inviting every Tom Dick and Harry ’round to ‘see our baby’ and fully intending to get back to gym, etc etc etc – but I had NO idea JUST how badly I’d cope. I can’t tell you how many people I turned away – both family and friends.
    I am by no means trying to say that as a mother who has adopted, I have had it “the hardest” – because there are surely women who have carried their child for 9 months, out there who have suffered more than me. People probably think that I use the fact that Isabella is adopted as an excuse for certain things. It just was really hard. That is all. And we definitely all do deal with things differently.

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  5. I can’t comment on this because my sweetheart isn’t here yet but what I can tell you is that you were always there for me honey, even in your sleep deprived state.

    I have seen you grow, I have seen you blossom and it makes my heart so happy because I have seen how motherhood has completed you my friend. Here’s to motherhood, it’s challenges and it’s complete “awesomeness” (and to our babies growing up together)

    Loads of love Xxx

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  6. Sam, I am so glad that Kade has brought such joy to your life. It is truely fantastic to hear that. I hope to experience what you are experiencing very soon, and I have spent some time wondering about how I will adjust to motherhood. While I can’t comment from actual experience I have got a few opinions on the matter of the transition from pregnancy to motherhood versus adoption to motherhood. I’m not saying that one is harder than the other, because I don’t know that for sure….. and I will only get to experience one of the senarios. I do feel there are some fundamental differences between the two though, and they must be acknowledged.

    The nine months that a pregnant women has is precious. There are so many wonderful experiences. Feeling the baby move, having a baby shower and allowing yourself to fall completely in love with your growing child. An adoptive mom never gets to experience that. Waiting to get the call is dam hard, lonely and painful. You never allow yourself to completely let go and believe that you will be a mother, because the scary reality is that maybe you won’t. Of course there are the rare private moments where you let yourself dream, but they are nothing like nine months of pregnancy.
    Then there’s the sixty days……..a very stressful time to say the least. This will never be experienced in the pregnancy to motherhood senario. Adoption is about joy, but its also about grief and loss, effecting all elements of the adoption triad. Post placement depression is very common.

    And so I feel that there are differences in the two. No, nothing prepares you for motherhood. But each senario has different circumstances indeed.

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  7. Hey Sam it sounds amazing and I hope one day to have the experience you’re having either biologically or through adoption again.

    Adopting Jaden at 15 months was the singular most difficult thing I could ever do and i would never do it again. As much as I love Jaden and wouldn’t want it any other way I absolutely would never do it again. Ever.

    Having said that in those darkest months (and yes there were about 6 months of agony) I found myself turning to my friends more than ever before. I relished their advice and assvice as a way of making me feel normal. Perhaps because he was older i didn’t have that time issue, I made sure to go out to lunches – sometimes with him and sometimes without him – to make sure that I still felt normal.

    I think people deal with things differently for some moms (bio and adopted) they choose to become all-consumed with baby without actually wanting it to be that way. I see perfectly normal people morph into momzillas in an instant and they do kind of seem to make it more challenging for themselves.

    of course I’m an outsider looking in and I can’t really judge having never had a newborn baby. The one thing I can say with conviction is that the worst thing we can do is judge a persons parenting skills because the reality is that as in a marriage no one really knows whats going on until they’ve walked a mile in your shoes.

    I say this having judged others and been judged myself (relentlessly by well meaning momzillas) – at the end of the day all we can do is love our LO’s and enjoy them as much as possible without worry ing about what other people say and do.

    Motherhood is the ultimate experience and part of that experience seems to be losing some people along the way – as difficult as that may be.

    I am so glad that your little blessing is such a joy to you and your family

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  8. I think we all experience motherhood completely differently whether we adopted or had a biological child (single or multiple)!

    Not only did I have to transition to becoming a parent without the hormonal “balance” a pregnancy would have given me but my son had to adapt from being removed from an orphanage where he had been cared for for the first two months of his life, where he had bonded with a variety of caregivers to being placed with us who had only met him 2 days before! He was obviously extremely resilient in that he took a week or two to adapt! But not all babies are able to adapt to a new home or to being out the womb immediately (especially if the birthing is traumtic or premature), as experienced by my sister and my cousin. My niece had severe colic & reactions that by the end of the first week my sister was soo depressed she cried non-stop and withdrew from everyone cause she couldn’t cope & felt useless! My cousin spent the first month in a hospital bed next to her son who was deathly ill to the exclusion of all else in her life, she lost her fiancee during her 4th month of her pregnancy and completely excluded all of us!

    A baby that is also adopted from birth has to adjust to not hearing the voice she has heard & bonded to for the last nine months, that voice goes silent and she then needs time to learn her new care givers voice. The same goes for a new mom through adoption, I suffered from a bad disengagment/disconnect for a while made worse by the last few weeks of our 60 day waiting period, I was too scared to bond in case I would lose him to…

    Motherhood is sooo differently experienced and I think we need to respect that it’s not the same for everyone! Not everyone is able to cope, not everyone has a resilient baby, not everyone is in the right space, not everyone has the best support system…. there are just too many variables for us to compare our experiences or hold it against someone cause they didn’t cope like we would’ve expected them to!

    I think all we can do is be sympathetic and rather be supportive of someone experiencing it harder than we did and if we can’t be sympathetic to extract ourselves carefully and move on!!!

    I am soo glad however that you’ve found motherhood easy to cope with, it took me a couple of weeks before I found my groove but would never change any of it for anything! I love Adam more than my own life!

    And I’m sure Kade is going to bring you endless joy for ever!!! xxx

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  9. Sam thank you for a thought provoking post. I too lost a friend who’s response to motherhood shut out everyone around her and it hurt like a sonofab!tch! I am not sure I will ever understand what happened or why. I am not sure that I can relate to reacting like that, but as some have said everyone’s experience is different and maybe once these little tykes are born I too will disappear into my shell.

    I just want to say how I have cherished your friendship and how your support of me through your pregnancy and still since Kade has been born is awesome and wonderful and how even though we have never met I would count you as one of my special friends.

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  10. On motherhood; I had it easy the first few weeks. I had wonderfully supportive family and friends to help me through. I was very focused on Alex but I hope I was also there for anyone else who needed me.

    On friendship; we can’t expect to understand our friends all of the time and it is the closest friendships that hurt us the most. I also lost a friend on her transition to motherhood and I still can’t understand why.

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  11. I wasn’t going to comment on either post (yours or the response), but decided now to put the same comment on both posts… In our Landmark Advanced (kind of life coaching) course, the leader told us something fascinating. He has done the forum in prisons, with huge groups of prisoners. And do you know, that not one single person he ever worked with in the prison system believes that they deserve to be there? Including a guy who was driving with a friend, disagreed with him, put a gun to his head and shot him. He feels that he was right, and therefore ended up in prison because of a misunderstanding, and not for a murder. And that’s how it is with all human beings, all of the time, without exception. We feel that our decision/thought process/concepts about a situation are the right ones, and other people are mistaken. And so it is that friendships/marriages/communities/fair democracies end. Because nobody is prepared to drop their stance and accept that we as friends/partners/a nation have created the situation we are in! You are both special to me and I won’t take sides. There’s a breakthrough for you both to be had… and the possibility of taking the friendship to a whole new level.

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  12. You know Sam, I fully agree with you that motherhood changes your life completely. And no amount of time could ever prepare you for the journey you are about to embark. I think (I personally found) that I had a totally different image / idea in my mind and the reality turned out so incredibly different.

    I am pleased for you that you are able to enjoy this journey. You worked so hard to get to this point.

    Sure not all friendships will stand the test of time. It is really sad, but such is life unfortunately! We thought we had lots of friends and family on our side and then when our daughter became ill they all suddenly disappeared. The last we heard from some of them were way back in 2007 shortly after we let them know that Bianca was ill. It is hard when you are suddenly left to deal with traumatic things as it would have been with your dad’s passing. The sad thing is that sometimes you only realise who your true friends are when you go through an incredibly difficult and traumatic experiences.

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