You have been pregnant for roughly 9 months (8 months in my case), you go through childbirth (be it natural or C-section, drug-free or knocked out) and then you end up with a baby that you are now completely responsible for – You are a Mum. A helpless little human that you have grown and now need to keep alive
and help them thrive. There is the initial elation that you finally have your baby in your arms, and then the shock hits you. I don’t know what the hell I am doing.
One of the first hurdles for Mums to get over is breastfeeding. This is one hurdle that I couldn’t conquer. Please don’t judge. There were so many contributing factors to this, and in the end, the medical advice was to formula feed as my baby had zero blood sugar after a stressful labour. I still have guilt about this, but it was the best decision for us at the time. I think my failure to breastfeed was when I realised that after a terrible pregnancy and rough childbirth, things weren’t about to get
My next memory of a ‘holy shit’ moment was when we got home from the hospital. I laid my son in his rocker bouncer thing, looked at him and then looked at my husband. All I could think was ‘what now?’. I didn’t know what I was doing. That feeling didn’t change for some time, and at 19 months down the track I still often don’t know what I am doing. It’s ok. I’ve realised it is totally normal and we all feel this way with our first baby.
I think the ‘why did I do this?’ thoughts came in after a few weeks of no sleep and the exhaustion really hit me. The constant crying of my baby who suffered from colic and other digestive issues, the complete lack of sleep combined with the confinement of recovering from major surgery (I had a tiny human ripped from my belly after all) really made me question what I had been thinking. The mere act of questioning this major life decision left me feeling like the worst mother in the world. Looking back, I know that it was OK. I still question my decision today, but I know I can’t change it, and in all honesty, I wouldn’t. I would do things differently yes, but I wouldn’t change becoming a Mum.
My ability to openly talk about these feelings and the realities of becoming a Mum that is so often left unsaid has a lot to do with the fact that I sought help. I spoke to my GP and told her I was struggling. I was diagnosed with ‘adjustment disorder’ and referred to a psychologist. My sessions with her were brilliant. The first few I was largely just a teary mess because I felt like I was a terrible mother and failing at life. The next few sessions I was starting to see how hard I was being on myself
and how unrealistic my expectations of myself were.
My struggles with becoming a Mum and the change that seeking help made has inspired me to write my blog. To share my experiences and let other Mums know they are not alone. They are not the first person to question why they did this. They are not the first mother to want to go and drop their
baby on the Hospital steps and drive away. I want other Mums to know that they don’t have to say anything if they don’t want to, but its OK that they are feeling that way.
You are not a bad mum. You are a normal mum. You are a real mum. This shit is hard. Yes, it is harder for some than others, but you can do it. And when you feel like you can’t, reach out to a friend, a family member, your GP, or even a stranger like me who gets it. It will get better, or so I’m told. I am still waiting 19 months in.