I expected a lot from motherhood. Mostly the well-known ones: sleepless nights, checks if the baby is breathing, tension, euphoric collapses of every baby smile, etc.
Yes, everything you’ve heard is true. Sleep turns from a natural unconscious state of the brain into a fairy-tale dream, tension is absorbed into the bones, the baby’s first smiles make a seemingly normal person scream on a falsetto that this is the most wonderful thing he has ever seen.
However, some things came suddenly. For example:
Do I become more agressive when I’m pregnant?
It is said that maternity humanizes. However, tell the mother who hasn’t slept for 4 consecutive hours for about a year. Tell her the moment a group of noisy teenagers walk along the alley in the park, picking up a frantic jungle with their roller skates, or another reckless mother who pushes her screaming kid near the sleeping angel’s stroller. You will see that motherhood does not humanize. The fresh mother is ready to pass a distressed kitten on the road, because it can bring an unknown infection to the baby; she does not like other children because they may be carriers of a virus; she is ready for a fight at any moment when someone or something threatens her baby’s sleep and peace. Good mothers are bad people.
Family responsibilities after you give birth
Of course, there are cases where women earn crazy money and men take paternity leave, and there are mothers who decide that motherhood is not their “cup of tea” and quickly switch to digging in a career or go directly to Mexico to fix their lives.
Still the classic case, however, involves a woman on maternity leave and a man who goes to work and earns money. In everyday life, this means that the young mom’s husband, although devoted to the family and deeply in love with his wife and the baby, in simple terms, “is gone all day.”
You think that a man will be a parent as much as you are, but that is simply not possible. If you are breastfeeding, you will get up at night to feed and calm the baby. If you don’t breastfeed, you’ll probably get up again, because he has to get up early in the morning and struggle with deadlines, demanding bosses, difficult projects, or whatever. In the morning he will put on a shirt or at least some clean clothes, and you will send him away with a nightgown smeared with milk and with strong envy in his eyes.
As long as it provides the opportunity to buy purees, a new car seat, a cot, anti-chopping cream, etc., you are left alone with the baby. Which leads us to…
In recent years, maternal forums, groups and societies have erupted like volcanoes of information exchange.
If you have the Internet, you also have the opportunity to share every rash of your baby, to tell your peers every feeling you feel, to ask for advice on everything that worries you. However, this is only at first glance.
Social networks create the illusion of inclusion and understanding to and from a mass of strangers about whom we know nothing but the fact that they have children as old as our children. When you ask a question in a parent group, you will get dozens of answers, but you can’t be sure if the answers aren’t given by people who failed fourth grade or by those who are internally convinced that children should be slapped gently with a leather belt as soon as they are 10 months old. ( creeeepy, going a little too far haha.. sorry)
Motherhood is a lonely period. A period in which you spend most of your time alone with a creature to whom you feel an irresistible, painful love, but who cannot respond to you. Communication, especially in the first months, is one-way, which makes it virtually non-communication. And in the empty space that this one-way communication (oxymoron) opens between you and your baby, there is too much room for questions.
Questions like “Am I a good mother?”, “Am I doing well at all?”, “Do I have a stable relationship with my baby?”, “Did my mother feel like me with me?”, “Do I love him enough?” , “Will my relationship/marriage withstand the tension?”, “Why do I want to run away at times?” Any questions you can’t ask in the Facebook group. Those who are between you and…. you.
You may have run marathons. You may have been in the plank position for 40 minutes. Have studied for an anatomy exam for a month without sleeping. Have you worked in a carpet laundry factory with round-the-clock shifts? You may have been extremely exhausted.
Still, the fatigue of looking after a baby has nothing to do with all this other fatigue. It does not come from changing diapers, from feeding, calming, falling asleep, etc., no. These activities are not even unpleasant. However, the emotional fatigue of being responsible for the life of someone completely dependent on you drains your psychic forces like a dementor. The good thing is that with a little rest you recover very, very quickly. Probably the reason for this is…
Love is just a feeling, but it tends to make everything around it complicated. Even if you take an “ordinary” love affair, it never brings only positive feelings. Falling in love often entails jealousy, insecurity, confusion, desire for power, nausea, anxiety and what not. Motherly love is different, it is unappealable, and jealousy and power come at a later stage. However, confusion may be present again. What to do with this sudden love that has poured out of you out of nowhere? Especially when its object is initially unable to give any feedback.
Gradually, with care and time, the love for the child is tamed and takes on a shape acceptable to the human brain. In the beginning, however, she looks like a wild beast, which with one swipe of its paw rearranges the priorities that you thought you had arranged neatly before. Love for the child is an evolutionary guarantee of the efforts that mothers make to ensure their well-being, but it is not very tender to the mothers themselves.
On the contrary, in the first months, maybe a year, of the baby’s life, love sharpens the mother. It can make her suspicious, over-vulnerable to remarks and criticism, strong as she never thought she could ever be, but also fragile, in a very special emotional (dis) balance, for which the still booming hormones do not help.
Love can and most likely will turn you into devoted protectors, but in the beginning it is a newborn instinct that makes a woman confused and insecure.
With the power of love you can overcome everything
And when your baby smiles, you realize that none of the above matters. Because you just haven’t seen anything more wonderful, really.