I have often wondered whether or not I was ready to be a parent, and the answer is always no. I read up as much as I could and watched every birth video I could get my hands on, but nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming reality of motherhood. This is the same reality I believe every mother faces, but hardly shares.
My dear friend Alecia Huntley just gave birth to her gorgeous daughter over a month ago. I went to go see her after she came home and she looked like she had it together. Her and Danica (her daughter) were establishing breastfeeding confidence, adjusting to a new sleeping routine and getting used to being a family of three. My husband said to her “don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing this for the first time and we are here when you need us”. He said that because those are the words we kept hearing during the first few months of Baby T’s life. Those months were horrid. We had a baby that never had a consistent schedule and that would spit up food after every feed through her mouth and nose and would inevitably choke. There were days I would cry with her because I had no idea what I was doing.
One night I got a text from Alecia asking me when the decision to get a nanny happened. I told her that if I could, I would have hired a nanny right after we got home. The reason she was asking is that she felt so guilty for how she felt: tired, overwhelmed, stressed and emotional. I immediately felt the difference it made after I told her that I understood EXACTLY how she felt because I felt just like that numerous times. I once got defeated by the pressure so much that I had to call a friend. She was there within the hour and gave me enough time to rest, and I woke up to a sleeping baby and a clean house. I told these stories to my close friends due to fear of being judged by strangers.
Truth is we’ve all been overwhelmed at some point and therein lies the beauty of parenting. Embracing both the good and bad that comes with it. Acknowledging that sometimes you’ll have to sit around in a dirty house because you actually don’t have the time or the energy to tidy up. It is about getting used to sitting in clothes that have spit up because it’s really not worth it to change. Crying with your child because you haven’t slept for 12 hours and you have no idea why your newborn is crying.
Just because you never see pictures of me or other moms being overwhelmed and challenged by their babies does not mean it doesn’t happen.
Your world might feel like it’s falling apart but remember that you are the world to that little one.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me 🙂
Written by: Karabo Motsiri
Edited by: Thando Bella Khoza