I’m a new mum.
It’s the most amazing job in the entire world. But six weeks in, I already know that it’s going to be the hardest.
There are so many things they don’t prepare you for when you’re pregnant. Like, the whole parenthood thing.
A friend of mine, also a new mum, was saying the other day that it’s as if mothers everywhere conspire against pregnant women avoiding the topic of parenthood entirely and only discussing their experiences of birth. It’s totally true! Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist but any woman with children I’d ever talked to whilst I was pregnant only ever gave details of their (usually hellish) birth all the while carrying a perfect angel around on their hip.
It’s as if they come out and that’s the worst of it over.
Sure people joke about the sleepless nights and bodily fluid emissions, but those things, even in tandem seem do-able.
A week ago, Nick returned to work and so it was just Ernie and I. The two of us. I was walking around the house with him snuggled in his ergo-carrier and the sudden realisation that this is now my life hit me pretty hard. I mean, I knew having kids is a lifelong journey but I didn’t really “know” that until this little bundle arrived. It was just a concept I had with no experience to back it.
No one tells you that there will be days where your baby will cry and will. not. stop. For hours. And hours.
One day last week, it seemed that Ernie had found his voice and after a particularly sleepless night, Ernie and I had a crying competition. Ernie won, I came in close second. I did everything I should do. Fed, changed, cuddled, added layers, removed layers, tried to settle. Nothing worked. Not a thing. My little turned beetroot red and I had no power to fix whatever it was that was bothering him. He just cried, so I cried. There was nothing left to do but sit on the couch together wailing. It felt terrible. I was at my wit’s end and it felt even worse to admit that to myself. During my pregnancy I had visions of being a carefree and calm mama. Going on walks along the beach, coffee dates, laying on the floor with my little one, gazing at him while he cooed and smiled. So far, none of those things have happened with minimal fuss and my expectations of motherhood have been dashed.
Here is the truth for mums-to-be out there. Being a mum is hard. It’s harder than you ever think it could be. Think of the hardest thing you’ve ever done, then multiply it by itself and you will still not be able to fathom how hard motherhood is. But please be reassured that as long as you have love for your little, you can do this. Surround yourself with support and don’t feel ashamed to ask for help if you need it. Just as you wouldn’t judge another mama for asking for help, we won’t judge you, we will offer tales of our experiences and a hug if you need it. And although this is the hardest job you will ever take on, it’s totally worth it. The snuggles, the smiles when they arrive and the way your baby holds your gaze will be enough to melt away the frustration and the frazzle.
You’ve got this.
I’ve got this.