This year is my first Mother’s Day as a mother. I often get asked, “How does it feel to be a mother?” The truth is, I don’t know. Everyone expects you to change overnight and in some ways you do. You go from being a sort of happy pregnant woman to sleep deprived and annoyed at the world. You have to take the little human with you where ever you go and you have to prepare yourself for tantrums and screaming. Then there is constant contradicting advice and every other stranger telling you what is best for your baby. But other than that, it is all pretty much the same.
Maybe I am still new at it and don’t care for such days or maybe I have been blessed with a wonderful partner who tries and makes every day special for me. Either way, I took the time today to actually sit and process all that has happened in the past year. It all happened so fast and there was so much to worry about. Was I eating right? Did I have everything for our new arrival? Was I prepared for the delivery? How was I to cope if things did not go to plan? Planning all of that left me no time to think about me as a parent, a mother. This was going to be a completely new identity and I never stopped to think even for a moment about how it was going to change my life.
Now I knew it was supposed to change my life because I wasn’t told any different. Every movie and story I came across told me I would give birth and then see my baby and instantly be filled with a motherly love that would be completely different to anything I have ever experienced. Society makes it seem that if we do not experience that then we are horrible mothers and do not deserve our children.
After he was born all I felt was exhaustion and after I recovered from that I then began to panic. I saw the tiny human and the first thought that crossed my mind was that it was hard work pushing out his fat head. I didn’t feel that wave of love and that motherly feeling people talk about. I felt scared.
Then I panicked some more because I felt like I wasn’t feeling the things I am supposed to feel towards the human I just gave birth to. I assumed that I had postnatal depression but then figured out that I did love the tiny human, just not how society expects me to.
I love him the way I love my dogs. I have had dogs since I was a little girl. Back then I considered them to be siblings. We played together and groomed each other. (yes, licking my face every morning till I woke up is considered grooming in the dog world) I also accused my mother of favoritism when she got the dogs special treats or new toys. And if anyone dared mess with the dogs, I would jump to their defense. I loved them to bits and I think about them every day and I miss them terribly.
After three months of trying to figure things out, I love my tiny human in my own special way. It may not be that motherly feeling that I am supposed to experience but I love him like I love my dogs and that is a whole other level of love, something I can’t be put in words.