I remember announcing my pregnancies to people, I remember the smiles on their faces, the ‘you’ve no idea what you’re getting yourself into glares’. I remember the stories of joy…of horror…of happiness and sadness. I remember the lectures on what to do and what not to do…it seemed everyone I spoke to was keen to share words of wisdom, of experience.
But nobody told me the things I’m about to tell you!
Nobody told me that parenting was the hardest thing I’d ever do – physically, mentally and emotionally! That I’d have days so draining, I’d wish it all away…then hate myself immediately for feeling such a way. I wasn’t prepared for such a conflict of emotions, for feeling so much love, guilt, stress, admiration, pride and anxiety…all within the same minute. I still don’t know how to handle this, how to manage my emotions when they become too powerful to distinguish apart.
Nobody told me that I’d doubt myself in ways I never knew possible, that I’d be transformed from a confident, assured person to a dithering, uncertain mess within moments of entering Motherhood…that all the education, study, knowledge and intelligence would go straight out the window and I’d be left apprehensively second-guessing my every move! That I’d feel like a child again myself, needy for others to guide me, desperate for help and comfort but too shy to speak out to get it (like the quiet child at the back of the classroom, suffering in silence – too scared to admit they don’t know what they feel they already should). That I’d look at other mothers and feel envious of their natural sense of maternal instinct, that I’d spend countless moments wishing I knew only half of what they seemed to.
Nobody told me that my heart would shatter a million times each day – through love, through worry, through pride and guilt. That seeing my child hurting could cause my own heart to rupture in so much pain that I’d feel it beating outside of my chest. That it would break over seemingly mundane moments like a kiss on the cheek or an unexpected cuddle. That the words ‘I love you’ even pronounced incorrectly could render me breathless. I wasn’t aware that my heart could ache for something so lovely, that the curve of an eyelash or the creamy colour of delicate skin could make my heart pound with so much emotion.
Nobody told me that I’d spend endless hours anxiously fretting over scenarios which may never (I pray never) happen. That I’d hear stories of loss, of tragedy, of cruelty and heartache and not only mourn for the families involved but for myself as though I was experiencing it too. That my sense of empathy would grow to be so dramatic, I’d be able to place myself in unwanted shoes and feel the extent of pain. That I’d cry over adverts, over fictional storylines, books and news – praying to never know for real…knowing that a life without my children would never feel worth living.
Nobody told me that I’d change so drastically – not through enforcement or circumstance but through want. That I’d want to be a better person, to change my priorities, to live for someone more than for myself. That I’d love in a way which inspired me to grow, to alter, to become more focused. That every aspect of life would change, including my dreams and visions of the future.
Nobody told me of the gratitude and appreciation I would feel towards my own family. That I’d look at my Mother with a confound sense of understanding and astonishment – that I’d eventually feel the depth of her own love for me. That I’d ‘get’ all the worry and the warnings. That I’d want to show her more than ever how amazing I find her, for her strength and support, her love and encouragement.
Nobody ever told me that my children would grow too quickly. That I’d wish them to remain so little for just one more day but urge for them to grow with the same breath. Nobody told me that I’d look back at photos and panic at how rapidly time passes us by…that I’d feel saddened by the moments I missed absorbed in my tiredness, anxiety or guilt. That I’d wish I played more, cuddled more, laughed more. Nobody told me that I’d count down the final moment of each day, desperate for my children to sleep but also clinging to the memory of each bedtime story, savouring every kiss goodnight.
Nobody told me just how much I’d LOVE being a Mother, that even in the hardest moments, I’d love so passionately and devotedly. That the tears, the struggles, the feelings of downright incompetency would be so intensely worth it.
So intensely worth it!
Motherhood is beautifully manic, painfully brilliant… and I guess nobody told me because I’d never have understood until I felt it firsthand.