For the last few months, a year maybe, I’ve had the strongest urge to start writing. I’ve never been a writer. I’ve never even seen myself as much of a creative type, but this need has crept up on me, slowly. Gently nudging me, always at the back of my head. If I really had to think about it, maybe it started when I became a mother for the first time. Perhaps it was then that I first came alive to the idea of my own words on paper.
After all, the birth of your first-born child is a moment that changes you forever. New urges kick in and old habits are booted out! Maybe it was my need to make sense of all the chaos that surrounded me. In between all the nappies, the expressing, the salt water baths, the burping, the swaddling and the countless cups of cold tea, I can remember being drawn to my diary in an attempt to record all these feelings I was experiencing. And what a whirlwind of emotions it was.
But mainly it was the question I kept asking myself. Wasn’t I supposed to be good at this?
Since I could remember I dreamed of becoming a mother. In fact my husband often teases me that this is all he was good for. We met when I was 20 and he says I was broody and desperate for babies then. I studied part-time after school and started working with children as an aupair at the very same time. Having studied early childhood development and child psychology, it was my intentions to become a preschool teacher, however I became aware of how much more I valued the one on one interaction that came with aupairing. After a few too many practical hours at one to many nursery schools, lets just say I threw in the towel. The large group dynamic and classroom environment left me with little to be desired. I still am amazed and take my hat off to teachers who have embraced this as their passion. Its brave I tell ya.
I went on to aupair for over 15 different families, always drawn to the ones with babies and toddlers. I worked with children between the ages of 3 months and 16 years. It was always the jobs with very small children that kept me coming back for more. So yes, I think its safe to say, I’ve always loved babies. In 2007 I married the man of my dreams and inevitably that’s when everything changed. I no longer wanted to look after other people’s children. I wanted to make my own. Raise THEM. Invest in THEM. I worked one more job, which lasted just over two years before falling pregnant with Noah. I left that job with the intention of going back after 6 months maternity leave, but we all knew the truth.
My days of caring for other people’s children were over. I was desperate to be the best mom I could be and in truth really felt this was part of my calling. I had longed for this forever and I welcomed this new season with open arms!
Well, those open expectant arms soon became clenched fists that went hand in hand with a clenched jaw, when after 4 months of Noah’s birth I still hadn’t found my feet. There the question echoed through my ears like a loud speakerphone in a hollow cave. Wasn’t I supposed to be good at this?
Surely I was supposed to take to motherhood like a duck to water? Surely I, with all my experience had earned my right to handle this new situation with ease? I had expected this sweet transition into motherhood. What I got was a rollercoaster ride of madness and uncertainty. Someone needed to turn down the crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I was overwhelmed with such a deep love for my baby and I bonded with him the second our eyes met, but I just couldn’t seem to get a handle on things.
For one, breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure. For something so natural, I found absolutely nothing natural about it. The need to sleep for a week and drink a bottle of wine every night? THAT was natural. For a woman’s nipples to bleed and crack?? There aint anything natural about it. Every time I latched him on I would cry. Sometimes quiet whimpers, sometimes gasps of agony. It wasn’t nearly as romantic as I had envisioned it to be. Breastfeeding, in my opinion isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No pun intended. With that being said, I ended up persevering and breastfed my son for 18 months!!! Something I miss to this day.
But then, in those early months, there was the colic, the relentless crying from 6pm-2am, the waking every 2 hours, the feeding on demand, the vomit, the not knowing what to do to ease your child’s discomfort. The deep sense of failure. In hindsight, I wish I HAD written it all down on paper because then maybe I would look back and see how far I’ve come. Maybe writing would have allowed me to make sense of such a crazy time and more so, helped guide me with my second child. The very least it could have done was given me an escape. But hey who am I kidding? Finding the time to write with all that going on? I had more chance of returning to my size 8 jeans overnight.
So yes ill say it again. I’m no writer. I’ve got no major psychology background or years of parenting experience. I’m no great story-teller (though my two-year old may argue with anyone on that) and I’m certainly no Mary Poppin’s. But I want to write. I want to record some of my stories and hopefully share them with some of you. We are all on this exciting and unpredictable journey called motherhood. We are all strong and capable. Not perfect. Not invincible. But we ARE heroes. We, my friends are mothers.
Welcome to The Mom Diaries.