So this morning I had a friend around for coffee. It actually turned into a baby free coffee as she left her one year old at home with her husband and my baby went to sleep just before she got here and woke up as she was leaving. We had a great chat, and it reminded me again how we all (us mama’s, parents, family etc) all need to be supportive and open with each other.
She is a first time mama, as are a number of my friends within the last twelve to eighteen months. I also have a few second time mama’s and a few more third time mama’s within my little circles. We were and are all different, in our expectations before the baby arrived, and when the baby arrived to now. Its very interesting how we all feel and think about this whole parenting thing, and how not one of our expectations turned out to be reality.
When I was expecting my second child, I was petrified. I had a wonderful little girl who was three and a half years old, and was so clever, active and independent and I couldn’t work out how I was going to manage with a baby again, how I would handle two children. Well along came no. 2, and it was fine, I was fine. Everything worked out, and I managed. Now on that point, I must point out that my other half did all the night feeds (I don’t manage well without sleep!) and my sister-in-law called to me most days and helped out with the baby and the housework, both of which made such a huge difference. I did have a bad “not coping” period that began within the first year of my little boy, but thats a story for another day.
On my third pregnancy, I was completely fine, I now had a busy household with two wonderful, relatively well behaved, mannerly, lovely and “good” children, seven years old and almost four years old. I had the attitude of “ah sure the baby will just have to fit in to the household”. And then when the baby arrived, I basically freaked out and wasn’t ready for her. Literally wasn’t ready – I didn’t really have somewhere for the baby to sleep. But of course, here we are seven months on and she is just fitting in. But I found the first few months much harder, I was much more anxious on her, I wouldn’t leave her with anyone, not even the people who had my other two children from a few weeks old.
I talk about these things, and these experiences. And the fact that I lose my temper, and my mind, a lot of the time. That I get upset with myself for losing my temper. That I feel guilty at the end of some days with what I did, or did not do with my children that day. That I have days that I feel like a bad mother. That sometimes my relationship with my other half suffers sometimes, because I sometimes take things out on him when I’m tired or annoyed with myself over something. That I sometimes feel that I have disappeared, that I am just a mama now.
I talk about these things because they are things that we all experience, to different degrees. And when no one talks about them, and you are going through them, you think that you are the only one going through them. You think you are the only one who is struggling in this role. And within the past two weeks I have had four different mums tell me that they’re finding things harder than they expected right now. It just goes to show that every one of us will have good days and bad days, but that if you can tell someone you’re having a bad day or week or month, and they can turn around and say oh I understand because I’m going through it or have gone through it too, then you are no longer alone. And when you’re no longer alone, it’s no longer as bad. Because you don’t have to beat yourself up that you’re the only one not able to cope with certain things, not the only one who wonders is this my life now, not the only one struggles to keep on top of everything and you’re not the only one looking around wondering how does everyone else seem to manage to do it all. We are all in this boat together. You are not alone.