After getting married, the next biological and expected step for many is children.
Motherhood looks easy to an outsider. It looks like a beautiful, life changing event that will come naturally and it is expected that instincts will take over, creating a superhero mum. I imagined mornings would be spent with flour on our noses, giggling as we made shortbread. Whilst afternoons would taken up by long walks in the park, rolling around on the grass and picking daisies. The perfect family! Now, don’t get me wrong, these things do happen, but it’s certainly not part the weekly routine I thought it would be.
When my first child was born, I felt the instant love that people often describe; I knew that I would die for this tiny pink human. But once the sleepless nights, family visits, sore boobs and exhaustion set in, the bubble soon popped. It didn’t take long for me to feel like I was rubbish at being a mum or that I was doing everything wrong. I didn’t have time to bake, I couldn’t iron all the clothes with a baby in my arms and at times you could write your name in the dust on the mantel. Hardly wife or mum of the year material.
Doing what I thought was best for my child, I decided to breastfeed my little one. This looks to outsiders to be a beautiful connection between baby and mother. In reality, I found it somewhat different. The pain when you begin breastfeeding is almost too much to bear. Thankfully after a few days this eased just as the pain of overfilled boobs replaced it. A week in and I was starting to understand why dairy cows look so sad. I felt like all I had achieved was to feed my baby, every 30 minutes 24/7. Between growth spurts and teething; baby’s first year is a stressful time for everyone.
It wasn’t all dark and I certainly don’t regret my choice to have children. The first time my baby smiled and it wasn’t gas, the first time they crawled, those first babbles; they were all beautiful footprints on my life that will never fade. But looking back, I think that the world portrays an unrealistic view of parenting. I thought I needed to be Nigella Lawson, Kim and Aggie and Mary blooming Poppins. Those role models are no good for anyone’s self esteem.
I just wish that I had seen motherhood for what it was before I was a mother. I would have appreciated silence, been thankful that the only time I went to the loo with another person was my girlfriends in a nightclub and I would have cherished those Sunday lie-ins.
Being a Mum is just so different to the life I had before and so different to how it is portrayed that I felt lost for a long time, I still do now a lot of the time but thanks to social media and other Internet users, at least I know I am not alone.