Six weeks have gone by and I can hardly believe I survived all the chaos of early motherhood.
At the beginning, I didn’t think I would—at least not with my sanity intact.
For nine months, I mentally prepared to share my life unconditionally with a new being. I also did my best to get ready for one of the most anticipated and hardest moments of my life: labour. Looking back, the physical pain from delivering a baby feels insignificant compared to the hardship of early motherhood, especially the first month.
I wondered how could I have missed this and what I could have done to be better prepared for motherhood marathon. But I now realize there was not much I could have done—nothing can really prepare us for this.
During the first weeks I cried often, wondering what would happen to me. I am certain I am not alone here, mums. Not even all I have learnt from yoga in the past years were very helpful I must admit.
The beginning of motherhood was a time when I felt human, completely taken up by my emotions.
I got moody due to the lack of sleep. I felt pain from my body healing itself. I cried when she cried. I thought “not again!” when after 10 minutes from falling asleep I heard that tiny cry all over again. I found myself stripped of any patience, way beyond what I imaged.
Indeed, I thought “Where did I get myself into?”
I skipped showers because of lack of time. I looked (felt) like shit! I had my legs hairy all summer and I had to get used to my new body.
I cried out of frustration while saying “I don’t know what you want!”
There were days when my face did not manifest a single smile. I hated my husband because he could do anything whenever he wanted—shower, sleep, go for a jog—while I had to plan a whole schedule just to brush my teeth, or else do it in ten seconds.
I also resented the fact that he could get back to his normal life straight away and I was stuck at home.
I felt guilty for all of this too.
And then the rewards came. As the days went by, I started to feel happier with tiny accomplishments—when she smiled, when she stopped crying, or when she finally slept. I was so thrilled when we could go through a nappy change without a single tear, when I could put her in the pram and go for a 10-minute walk or pick up some groceries.
I was also deeply grateful when my sweet and calm words could soothe her even if she was screaming her lungs out and could barely hear me.
I also rediscovered joy in the most trivial things—drinking water, having a shower, a tight hug, a quick chat with a friend, sleeping (I was never a good sleeper—oh God how I have changed!), my mum cooking for me, my daughter’s smile and smell.
I love and value these things so much more now!
Ohhh motherhood, the contrast between devoutness and empowerment at the same time. My vulnerabilities gave way to strength and resilience as I realized I was capable of all this. I did not know my body was capable of nourishing her so perfectly. My embrace, my arms and my words can transform the loudest scream into a timid smile.
My smell hinting she is safe changes her face completely.
And all of a sudden, I’m me again. A couple of weeks ago I wondered how quickly this phase would pass, but now I hope it does not go so fast. I am anxiously aware this dependency will soon be gone and I will miss the time when all she needed was me.
I am her world. I am the world. I am pure love.
Life will never be the same, and I’m happy for it.
I am transformed.
Author: Julia Harger
Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: author’s own