I'm an incredibly emotional person (spirited, if you will). I always have been. I feel things deeply and respond accordingly, often without thought or reason - just emotion. It's both a blessing and a curse. It means I can often muster empathy but rarely grasp rational thought when overwhelmed.
At different times in my life I have sought the help of a counsellor or psychologist to help me work through my emotions until I felt able to process them alone again. One of those times was after the birth of my beautiful baby Zephie, another was post the Lady Baby's birth.
For a long time after having Zeph, I silently struggled with mother hood. I'd had a C-Section and a couple of people suggested that I could/should have had a natural birth. It was demoralising and humiliating and I found myself enraged by the natural v's 'un natural' birth debate. It's hard to start your journey as a mother with a perceived 'failure' on your report card. I guess I was really shaken for the first time - I couldn't control this experience - no amount of exercise, meditation, prayer or stretchy balloon birthing devices could have changed my delivery.
Meanwhile, Zeph was an unsettled little dude and I questioned weather his birth had made him so (ridiculous, i know). He cried a lot, was very alert and had me referencing 'baby love' at least twice a day.
Naturally, I found the demands of being a new mum just as full on as every other new mother does.
Yet when people would ask me if I was loving my new role I would smile and nod and bat my eyelashes before gushing 'ooh yes, it's SOOOOO wonderful'.
And it is so wonderful. Giving birth to that little baby boy changed my life in an indescribable way and he could not be more loved.
But what I really wanted to say at that time was 'are you crazy? I'm exhausted. i've lost my job, my body, my income, my social life and i'm a bloody hormonal wreck AND my boobs leak. THEY LEAK??!!'
Instead I would give the rote answer, cus I didn't want to appear a failure, or weak or depressed. I wanted to be awesome and hot and skinny and have the parenting gig in the bag. So I just pretended that I did.
Privately I was seeing a counsellor. We would talk about parenting, marriage, boobs, babies, self worth, control, value and God's love. I went with the intention of getting myself sorted out so that I could be the perfect mother.
I emerged with a new mantra 'adequate parenting, not perfect parenting'.
But how was I going to convince all the other mothers that I was awesome if this was my mantra? How would I have them believe that my house was always clean and my children were always cute and that I never resented them or missed my old life. How could I do that?
I resolved that I couldn't, obviously.
Hence my desire to share openly here on this silly little blog.
If I present a perfect life here, then I lie.
I'll tell the full truth of being a mother, warts and all. Because if I don't then I perpetuate the problem. I contribute to the isolation. Mothering is hard. So hard and so humbling. But i'm happy to look like a crazy loony if it means that when my own daughter is a mother, she will know that she can be part of a team. Part of community of mothers who lift one another up in their weakness - or even allow the normal to actually be normal- rather than weak.
Just like this community here.
Somewhere around the time that I first started blogging my mum smiled at me and said 'it seems like you've found a really beautiful, supportive community there, Em'. She was right.
* While I'm not really addressing any direct issues from yesterdays post i guess i'm just saying that i'm okay with not being 'okay' sometimes. In fact, I expect it and enjoy it when the goodness returns again.