Enjoy every moment. That’s what they told me when they discharged me from the hospital after I gave birth and became a mom. That’s what friends and family said as they commented on my photos of our cute little addition to our family. A post full of excitement, yet fear of the unknown. You see mothers on social media seeming to have it all together, getting their baby to sleep through the night and looking incredible. And so we assume, that these moms must be truly enjoying every moment.
And this is exactly why motherhood feels so lonely and so isolating. Because every moment is in fact, not enjoyable. As a mom, you feel so lonely when your baby is up for not just the 2nd or 3rd time that night, but the 4th, 5th or even the 10th time. You are exhausted, every ounce of your body hurts and this little creature that you love more than anything, is quite literally sucking the life out of you. And the feelings of being a bad mom, because you aren’t enjoying every moment, overwhelm you and break you to your core. You want to scream and break down and even run away and never come back. You are consumed with thoughts that your baby will be fine without you, so you sit in your car truly contemplating turning the key in the ignition, because you can’t take another painful feeding or another bout of endless and seemingly uncontrollable crying. You want your friends to reach out and those who get it, get it, but many assume you’re enjoying every moment and so you don’t want to bring up the mental anguish you are experiencing, for fear of judgement of being a bad or selfish mom. To comfort you, they’ll tell you that babies cry, this is normal, but it doesn’t take away the fact that you’ve lost your sense of self, developed a whole new identity that you don’t recognize, that you are overwhelmed from being needed all of the time, that you can’t just get up and leave for the day like your partner can, that rocking the baby to sleep for 30 minutes includes an anxiety and fear about the night ahead like you’ve never felt before, and it definitely doesn’t take away that you’ve lost your mother and are learning how to be a mom, without your mom.
But you choose not to post about all of that. Instead you post a picture of your adorable baby, and plaster a half smile onto your sleep-deprived face and share with the world how you are doing exactly what they told you to: enjoying every moment.
This is the postpartum experience. An experience no one prepared me for. I always knew becoming a mother would be hard, but I didn’t know how hard it would be. No one prepared me to have to physically and mentally recover from pregnancy and childbirth, while also taking care of a tiny human who needs you for literally everything.
And even though I have been tempted many times to put the key in the ignition and never come back, with the support of my amazing partner, the friends and family who just get it, and my therapist, I was able to make the decision to stay. And although it’s been a difficult, heart wrenching, confusing and unknown journey, it’s also been the most beautiful journey I have ever been on. I think what makes motherhood so beautiful is that it’s full of all of these terrible lows that just make the incredible highs, that much sweeter. I’ve learned from talking with so many other moms that no one truly enjoys every single moment, it’s just that no one publicly says out loud how hard this job of motherhood truly is.
So whether you are a mom or not, it is okay to not enjoy every moment. Doing so doesn’t make you a bad mom or a bad person, it makes you human. Embodying any new identity or losing a past identity is incredibly difficult. I have learned that the best thing for me to do is to take things one day, one diaper change, one feeding, one cry, at a time. And as I have done in the past, I strive to find the light in the darkness. So even when my cup is empty and my eyelids hang low as I hold my baby who continues to fight sleep, I look down at this miracle, who I created, who has only given me more strength and resilience, who smiles at me even when tears stream down my face, who gives me hope and ultimately, who has helped to heal the hole in my heart from losing my mom almost a year ago. Those are the moments that I enjoy.
All to say, it’s okay to not be okay. Wherever you are in your journey, know that you are doing your best and that you are worthy of trying again and you are worthy of the experience you have before you. And although you won’t enjoy every moment of your journey, I hope that you allow yourself to feel your feelings and reach out for help when the moments feel hard, and that you celebrate how far you’ve come and how hard you’ve worked when moments feel like magic.
I am a mom. I am a grieving mom. And I am doing the best I can. And so are you, and I am so proud of you.
By shedding light on the real and the raw of motherhood, I am teaching my daughter a valuable lesson about mental health, and that means the world to me.
Be Beautifully Simply You