Lessons from the trenches on surviving motherhood

Motherhood, a journey that is often romanticized and idealized in the media, is an experience that can be both overwhelming and fulfilling.

When a mother has a baby with a busy partner, the realities of this role become even more pronounced. It is a journey that requires immense sacrifices, challenges one’s freedom, and tests the limits of self-identity.

While it is undoubtedly a rewarding experience, it is crucial to acknowledge the complexities that lie beneath the surface.

My experience as a mother was met with a sudden sense of obligation and responsibility. I first saw this tiny human being and at that moment I realized that my entire universe had just shifted. Days and nights were blurred with tending to this person’s needs. I become insanely alert and extremely anxious.

My whole being lived for them. This can actually be a very scary experience because you are responsible for a breathing being. Just try to imagine always being taken care of by someone and now you have to do the caring. Nothing awakens you quite quickly. Overnight you become an adult.

Most mothers receive a lot of support from family during this season especially when it’s your first baby. My journey began with a surgery and very little family. For the first week, it was my partner and I fumbling through the reality of our lives. Navigating learning how to wash someone and powering through the pain of a C-section was a trip.

Then the worst happened and we lost my father-in-law during this time. This meant that my partner had to leave and I was left with a newborn, wound and grief. Trying to be there for your small baby and your husband who just lost his dad makes you shelf yourself for a moment. You tell yourself to wait.

At that moment, nothing else matters. You have to step up. And time passes and you wake up one day, and due to the busy existence of a mum, you have shelved yourself so far you cannot find the person you were before underneath the cobwebs.

I digress. This is how I understand being a mum, feeling a pull to a complete stranger. Looking at them and knowing them in ways unimaginable. Feeling shifts in your soul that shake you to the very core. Realizing that you can go to war for this person.

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The unsettling sensation that from the moment they breathed the air on this earth, you have signed yourself to great joy and great pain at same moment. This is the one person who has the ability to completely break your heart. You smile at how much sacrifice you are willing to make for them. It’s absolutely insane.

Despite motherhood being this amazing experience, I feel that it is a very multifaceted journey. The expectations of managing the household and raising a total dependent to a woman can be extremely overwhelming.

Finding that coveted balance becomes tricky and most of your needs as a woman take a back seat. That “me-time” concept becomes a luxury. Some days I used to feel as if my son knew when I was just starting to breath. Because that’s the exact moment he could resume the screams. I laugh with my mum friends when I tell them I cannot wait to breathe again. This however might be a pipe dream. Once you become a mother, do you really ever breath again?

As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, the reality of motherhood can begin to set in. The constant sleep deprivation, the eye bags, the never-ending diaper changes, and the endless feedings can start to take a toll on a mother’s physical and emotional health.

It’s not uncommon for mothers to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and even depressed during the first few months of their baby’s life.

Personally I was met with this deep loss of individualism. I felt a death of self. On one end I was rewarded with this great love and on the other end, my autonomy was fading fast. I had this sense of guilt every time I thought about doing anything for myself.

How could I leave this small helpless person to go out and watch a movie or take a bath. The endless debates in my head and tugging within me never stop. How can I learn to silence the noise and realize that I have to choose me in order to be better equipped to raise him?

The media often portrays motherhood as a time of pure joy and bliss, but the reality is that it can be a very challenging and difficult experience. It’s not uncommon for mothers to feel like they have lost themselves in the process of raising a child.

They may struggle to find time for their own interests or they may feel like they have lost touch with their own identity especially when you look at the father and nothing much seems to have shifted. You question the fairness of that title? You have moments of deep regret, sadness and then other moments of complete rhapsody.

Ultimately, the reality of motherhood is much more complex than what is often portrayed in the media. It involves sacrifices, challenges, and hard work, but it can also be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. The great debate is however, can you find that midpoint where you are still you and still a great mother?

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