Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Complexity of Motherhood

I'm reading a couple of books on my Kindle right now about motherhood & just how many emotions are involved when you're a mom. The books are I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids & I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper. Like it says in the book, motherhood is one of those things that is impossible to picture until it happens to you. Since I unexpectedly struggled so much with postpartum anxiety when Cam was an infant, I can totally relate to this. And even if I wouldn't have struggled with the anxiety, motherhood is straight up hard. You can never prepare yourself with just how all consuming a newborn is. We had everything ready when Cam was born; his room was complete, his diapers were in place & ready to go, the bouncy seat, swing & everything else was put together & in its place. But, that doesn't prepare you for the sheer exhaustion you feel after consoling a wailing infant through the day, constantly being on call & ready to be a human milking device, being pooped on, puked on & then sleeping no more than two hours straight at night. I also think you don't prepare yourself for just how lonely motherhood can be. I went from working full-time & being surrounded at my hospital with patients & co-workers to being confined to my house by myself with no real conversation all day long as Mike worked. And I dreaded the nights, unable to sleep well in the short spans of time Cam would sleep & praying he would fall back to sleep quickly because I was so exhausted I could barely take it.

The book questions, who would have kids if they really knew? Because studies show that it's impossible for the human mind to remember pain or have the ability to convey to our friends what the early weeks of parenthood are truly like. But much of the challenges moms face are because of the impossible standards we give ourselves. We expect to keep ourselves in tip-top shape, have the house looking wonderful, have a well-balanced dinner on the table... and then we feel like a failure when don't meet our nutty expectations. Add the pressures of working outside the home & transitioning from Mom Mode to Work Mode & it can add up to far more than is healthy to handle.

It's refreshing for me to read books like this & be able to identify with other moms in the world so I don't feel like I'm alone in the way I occasionally feel. Being real with what you feel doesn't make you a bad mom.; it's okay to admit if you're struggling or not always feeling the complete fulfillment you expected. But with as many ups & downs that go along with being a parent, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. There are hard parts but there are also so many wonderful parts. And the all-encompassing love you feel for your child is like nothing else you'll ever know in the world.

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  1. yay you finally read it! i should re-read that book myself. they are great.

  2. It sounds like you are reading some good books Allison. The first three weeks with Madelyn were rough for us because the breast feeding wasn't working. I felt like a failure because I really wanted us to be successful. Finally, at 3.5 weeks I started her on formula. Within 48 hours, I had a completely different baby because the poor thing wasn't hungry. By 6 weeks she was sleeping 8 hrs at night and all the stress I felt in those early weeks subsided. With Mikayla I knew so much better of what to expect. Because she was jaundice I supplemented her with formula right away which took so much pressure off me! Mikayla's early infant weeks were a breeze compared to Maddy's. I know how hard of a time you had when Cam was first born but I just KNOW that baby #2 will be so much easier for you because you ALSO will know what to expect and will be more mentally prepared. No matter what, us as Moms are not alone. We all have struggles when first bring our babies home. Unfortunately, the infant stage is just the beginning... at 7 & 3, motherhood & parenting for me is STILL complicated but I wouldn't change a thing! Give Cam a kiss from his Auntie!