Parenthood. It’s never easy. Young children will undoubtedly strain a relationship. People never say that because it doesn’t sound pretty. It’s not politically correct to say children are the cause of discourse in a marriage. Children are supposed to be the light of your life, a blessing. And they are. But the truth is, children change your reality, as they should. It’s life altering and comes with many bumps, learning curves and loads of disagreement. When severe exhaustion hits, in the wee hours of the morning with two screaming newborns, you’ll fight. Trust me, sanity starts slipping when you don’t sleep. You’ll fight over how to load a diaper genie and ask redundant questions like “why are they not sleeping?!” and everything your spouse does at that point will annoy every nerve in your body. I’m surprised me and Steve made it. But we did.
Several of my friends are currently pregnant with their first and some who’ve recently had their little bundle of joy. As I watch them navigate the changes their bodies are going through, their emotional ups and downs, I want to reach out to every single one of them a give a big, long hug. Because I’ve been there. Looking back at the whirlwind when the boys were first here, I remember the stress, obligations, and expectations. The anxiety, the pressure. So much pressure. If I could turn back time I would have told myself these things. And with that retrospect, hopefully it’ll comfort some of you.
Trust in yourself. Trust in your instincts. Yes, learn as much as you can, read as much as you can. But honestly, we are all just kind of winging it. Trust in your ability to mother your child how you see fit. There will be so much advice coming from all different directions. By all means heed the advice, it’s usually coming from a good place, from people who care about you. BUT don’t sway when your gut tells you otherwise; stand firm in your beliefs. Ultimately, you know what’s best for you, your child, and family.
Dust Yourself Off. When you fail and you will, dust yourself off. Stand up and try again. There is always tomorrow. Mothers are doing the best they can with what they have. And some days it doesn’t work out according to plan and that’s okay. There will be many days ahead with many learning curveballs. Don’t sit and dwell on the negative, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Move on, stay focused, and stay positive. Brush yourself off and overcome the next challenge that is surely heading your way.
Accept help. And ask for help. This is a big one. Trust me, you will need the help. If there is help around or offers, TAKE IT. Don’t feel guilty. Family and friends who are offering to help, love you. Let them hold your baby while you hop in the shower. Let grandma babysit while you sneak in a 15 minute power nap so you can last the night shift with a newborn baby. It takes a village to raise a child, don’t reject the village. As a society, we’ve become more and more isolated with our nuclear families and have lost that sense of community. We were meant to do this together. So when the chance comes along, offer your help to a new mom and when that offer is returned, graciously accept.
It’ll be okay. I should have told myself this more. I should have believed it. I should have had that mantra playing over and over when I was exhausted, emotionally drained, or worried about everything. Breathe, it’ll be okay. I promise you. They grow older everyday, inching closer to every milestone. Kids don’t come with manuals but if you let yourself relax a little, the journey will be more less stressful. Remember to trust your gut, advocate for your children and your beliefs; remember to breathe, you’ll get there.
Yup, that’s true. I hated pregnancy. When we found out we were expecting, I was overjoyed and excited. We’ve always wanted children and were actively trying. While being ecstatic about the prospect of having children, I was unsure about what to expect with pregnancy. Before we found out there were two in there, I had very bad morning sickness. I could only eat for a few hours during the day. And like clockwork, I would throw up every single thing I ate, if I ate after 4pm. This went on every single day for four months. I remember being so hungry, I looked at a plate of fettuccine alfredo and inhaled it. Two minutes after, I was in the washroom and that undigested plate of noodles was in the toilet looking back at me. It’s my clearest memory of pregnancy. And that’s terrible.
Soon after discovering I was carrying multiples, I learnt in twin pregnancies, the hCG hormone is higher and can trigger bad morning sickness. And that feeling sick is more common in multiple pregnancies. Did knowing that make me feel better? Knowing it wasn’t me and there was a reason for my sickness? No. It really didn’t make me feel any better. I just lay on the bathroom floor crying because I was so tired of throwing up. I didn’t care if it was the high amount of hCG making it so, I just didn’t want to feel that way anymore.
As for twin pregnancies go, I was very fortunate to have a relatively smooth one, I was very mobile up until the end, at 38 weeks. Most moms of multiples head for bed rest and in my one good friend’s case–hospitalized bed rest. So all in all, I was lucky. But that didn’t turn me into a woman who “enjoyed” their pregnancy. There was no bumpy bliss, there was no glow. Unless you consider sweating glow. I didn’t sit in a rocking chair staring out a window imagining what my baby would look like. I went on with my daily activities as normal. I was happy to be carrying life but I did not have that “connection” to my unborn children. That connection came after (and strongly) when the boys were born. Maybe I’m a visual person, I need to feel and see my baby to build that connection. Who knows?
Regardless of feeling all these seemingly negative things, I’m proud to say I don’t feel bad about it nor will I ever apologize for it. It was how I felt and how I still presently feel. I want all the moms-to-be know: if you are having a tougher pregnancy, a high risk one or you’re just not enjoying the process as much as you thought you would have, IT’S FINE. YOU ARE NORMAL. However, I do recommend rounding up a support group. Friends, family, and professionals. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns it might be a more serious issue, such as Antenatal Depression.
I did not have antenatal depression but when I did feel down or felt the hormonal imbalance, I forced myself to get up and do something I enjoyed. I met with my girlfriends, I took a bath, sitting on the porch and got some air. I made myself do it even if I didn’t feel like it. And once I got my foot out the door and going, it made my day better. Find something you love to do and focus on. It helped me and I hope it helps you!
So I’m just here to tell you, if you hate pregnancy and want to punch anyone who tells you to “enjoy” it–I understand. I really do. And there is nothing wrong with how you feel. Making tiny humans and being a baby factory is hard work, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for feeling the way that you do. You’re body is changing, your life will definitely change. So you are allowed to have hesitations, reservations, questions and concerns. Calling pregnancy a life adjustment is an vast understatement. Try to seek out healthy coping mechanisms and always talk to someone.
As always, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a 9 month tunnel but you’ll get there! And try not to punch anyone in the process. 😉