”Just like that, you have to love and raise this being that is yours forever.”
Nobody will ever prepare you enough for becoming a mother. Your life changes over night. You spend the majority of your life being you, as a single human being with just your own life to figure out. Then you’re pregnant, glowing, gradually growing a little life inside of you. Strangers smile at you, they talk to you, they’ll tell you ‘good luck’. Then you give birth and you meet your baby for the first time, this tiny delicate human being; you’re a mum now, just like that, you have to love and raise this being that is yours forever. Exhausted already but somehow finding the strength to start this new beginning.
”Society assumes that any difficulties around motherhood indicate a mental health issue.”
Throughout our lives, we will go through natural stages. They’re usually slow transitions and before you know it you’re where you wanted to be a few years ago and you’re looking back at your past, not realising there was any transition. But the transition from pregnancy to motherhood is such a sudden change. The hormones, emotions, fights, periods of self-doubt, body changes and more, they’re not talked about in any way to make you believe this is all ‘normal’. Society assumes that any difficulties around motherhood indicate a mental health issue. Women have unique biological, hormonal, and emotional needs during this period—and that those needs are too often neglected, too taboo and have too much stigma attached to them to be more honestly talked about. Everyone will ask about your baby, they’ll want to see your baby, hold your baby, wish your baby well, but what about mum? Hiding her real rawness not really knowing who she is yet, still slowly adjusting to this new normal, constantly questioning if she’s doing everything right.
”Every birth is different, every woman is different, every baby is different and every woman should know that this is ok.”
People will talk about this instant love you get for your baby. The minute they are in your arms you will feel an overwhelming sense of love. This doesn’t happen straight away for everyone. Every birth is different, every woman is different, every baby is different and every woman should know that this is also ok. To feel numb, to feel too overwhelmed, to feel worried, frightened, to feel like you’re already lost and you’ve only just started. These aren’t bad emotions, but openly talked about and you might get told you’re “suffering from postnatal depression” You’re not depressed, you might think you are because you might not know how you should feel and if you ask your old friend Google you’ll fall under the category of postnatal depression. In most cases you’re exhausted, you’re hormonal, you’re embracing a new life, a new job with no training, a whole new world as ‘us’ rather than ‘me’.
“I’m not doing enough for my baby.”
You’re trying to be the perfect mum in such an imperfect world. Is this the right way? Should I do this? When all you can hear is “try this” “try that” “have you tried?” “I did this, this worked for me” “You need to do this.” You’re surrounded by social media images of new mums, with big smiles, designer (and clean) clothes, beautiful makeup, hair done up and you’ve still got your PJs on with your baby sleeping on your chest, your boobs leaking through your t shirt and you can’t remember the last time you washed your hair. You think these social media images are the way it’s supposed to be. “How has she got out of the house today looking so glam and happy?” “I should be out more” “I’m not doing enough for my baby”. You feel guilty that you haven’t got dressed today and you’re still looking at the massive pile of washing up, the over flowing laundry basket and the now cold cup of tea on the side. Your friends are out again this weekend, you want to join, some adult human interaction for an hour, you think ‘I could wear that dress I’ve had in the wardrobe for over a year’ put some makeup on, feel like you again, but you can’t go, your baby needs you and then there’s the guilt for ever thinking you should want to go as well as the guilt on your friends, ‘what will they be thinking?’ “will they understand?”
”But Mama, here’s the thing, you’re slowly figuring everything out, don’t be so hard on yourself.”
But Mama, here’s the thing, you’re slowly figuring everything out, don’t be so hard on yourself. As much as you might be wishing those long nights and long days away, the years are so, so short. Because one day, and so much sooner than you ever imagined you will wake up with a toddler in your bed, calling you mummy, a whole new personality of fun, an innocent, fearless, affectionate, adventurous, joyful, loving mini you. You will look at them and see YOU, that strong persistent YOU who followed her heart and her gut and trusted the process. There will be no more looking back and wishing you had your old life. This 24 hour job you’ve got right now, it gets easier, I promise, you don’t just ‘get used to it’ like a lot of people will tell you. You start drinking those hot cups of tea again, having a few social hours with friends, feeling beautiful with your new life as ‘us’, rather than me. It does just become the most beautiful and best job you’ll ever do. You’ll be proud of yourself.
I wish I could go back to my first year of motherhood, but go back being the mum I am today. The confident, more assured, happy mum, knowing I will take whatever today throws at me. I have got this.
This article was written by Frankie Johnston. Frankie is a yoga teacher turned full time mum to her son Rafi. Since becoming a mother Frankie is keen to support all woman on their journeys through motherhood and utilizes instinctual parenting and primal practices that can often be ridiculed by westernized society. She teaches that we should respond to our children with love in their worst moments because it is in their ‘unloveable’ human moments that they most need to feel loved. If you would like to get in touch with Frankie, find her on Instagram at frankie_johnstonxx