I honestly think that everyone is expecting super mums, who do all the magic stuff and babies sleep beautifully, they also eat so well and they still manage to make the house sparkling clean, so clean you could almost eat from the floor directly. Expectations are so high, that anything below the perfect standards and you are left to feel like such a bad mum.
Once baby is born, everyone will tell you: “oh if you need me, please just ask for help”. I guess it’s the polite thing to say, but most would expect that you will be a super mum and get on with it.
So I think we need to start to talk more about the realities of being a mum (doesn’t matter if just the first baby or many of them). It’s really hard! I thought I could manage stress and difficult situations, as I have a really stressful job, but nothing had prepared me to the perks of being a mum.
The first days I had the baby blues, we were both listening to lullabies and crying like babies at home while staring at her, her perfection and how she was the result of our love. Then reality starts to kick in. The growth spurts, the days with less than 3h sleep in total. I had a few days without any sleep at all as I suffered from insomnia (I believe that was a side effect of my birth trauma and from the general anaesthetics – you can read more here) but ah, the worst was yet to come.
Before I go into detail, I would like to add that because I thought myself of being really resilient and that I could handle pretty much everything (at least on the surface) I never ask for help. I’m the one who typically goes and helps. But maternity changed everything for me. Sometimes we need to admit we’re only human and ask for help.
That situation arrived when he ended up being hospitalised with appendicitis when she was just 3 weeks old. I remember my despair when he called me to stay he would have to stay in the hospital and I wanted to run and meet him there. I was so worried, on the other hand I was at despair because I was not yet ready to take care of her on my own. I still remember that night when I was trying to enter the bus with her pram so I could take some basic stuff for him at the hospital. Had to ask a nurse to look out for her while I would go inside and kiss him. Then returning back home and feeling so powerless. I had tears in my eyes all the way back home. When next day I told a friend about what happened, she offered to come in the afternoon and prepare some food for me. Old me would say, no thank you, I could manage, but new me said for the first time ever, yes please! I was so grateful for her help. No words really! 1 day later, I had to ask for help to another friend so she could help me at night as I had not been sleeping anything and was afraid I would let her fall from my arms. She stayed overnight with me, and was making baby sleep while I was resting in bed until the next feed. Again, no words can describe how this was so important to me and baby.
So yes, in the end we’re only human and it’s ok to ask for help and to admit we need it!!! Any stories you would like to share?