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.