The dark side of motherhood

Six and a half years ago I was growing another baby inside me. The person who should have been sharing this experience with me was already dating someone else and couldn’t care less about the life I was carrying. I had to leave a job I loved and had put very long hours into. I had to give up training in artist management in London, aΒ dream I had finally found the courage to pursue. I also had to swallow my pride and move back to my parents’ house after ten years of independence. The picture seems bleak but I was happy. I couldn’t wait to hold in my arms the little girl I was carrying inside me. I desperately wanted to see her face, speak to her and hear her voice. I endured months of physical and emotional pain and discomfort, nausea, loneliness, fear and anger, knowing that they were all worth it. I didn’t care what people said about me and my tight clothes (I had no money to buy maternity clothes) because I was proud of what my body was capable of doing. To everyone around me I looked strong and determined. Inside I was a quivering mess but I was positive and excited about meeting the one person I knew I would be sharing my life with.

The circumstances this time round couldn’t be more different. This baby has been longed for and dreamt about. The person I’m sharing this journey with is as excited as I am about meeting the second little person to join our family. Everything is good and there’s nothing I should be worrying about and yet, I have never been more scared in my life. I am afraid of everything that’s about to happen. Labour doesn’t worry me so much…it’s what comes after that’s giving me sleepless nights and palpitations. Apart from the normal fears of something being wrong with the baby, I am really afraid of not being able to cope with two children. I look around me and many of my friends have two or even three children by now and they are all coping fine. They all assure me that the biggest change is from having no children to having the first but I still cannot imagine taking care of two. It’s not only the practical side of it that scares me but the emotional side too. I find myself crying at the thought of these being the last few weeks Maia will be our only child. There’s only 26 days left of our family being a trio. Everything will change and not knowing what to expect is the hardest part of all this. I used to be a lot more easygoing and optimistic. The second I laid eyes on Maia everything changed. I became a control freak and a bigger worrier than my mother is (which is saying something). I suppose hormones play a large part in my state of mind right now.

Rings on her fingers, bracelets piled up on her wrist...it's hard to remember she's still a baby (but don't tell her I said that).

The other day I was chatting to a friend who’s also mum to three beautiful children. I admire her in more ways than one, not least because her husband spends months at a time away on business and during those months she’s practically a single parent. Her children are so polite and articulate that, hadn’t I had my own, I’d be tempted to adopt them. She suggested I spend special mummy time with Maia, not only now but also when the baby arrives. This might all seem logical and obvious, but my relationship with my own daughter had recently become strained. She was answering back, questioning everything I told her, moaning and complaining all the time and I was constantly scolding her and losing my temper. So I decided to really make an effort and be as patient as I used to be when she was a baby. Lo and behold, it worked! At first I had to keep reminding myself that this opinionated little girl was, not so long ago, a defenseless baby with a poker face who observed everyone but only warmed up to select people. She’s very different now but still the same person who looks to me for comfort and approval. I just wasn’t letting her in, allowing exhaustion and fear to come in the way.

One of the things I do to make her happy is having her friends over...here they're having a homework race. Thankfully I like all of her friends.
It might seem unrelated but this pigeon's unexpected visit to our balcony yesterday lifted my spirits. It's what I call serendipity.

I hope not to allow my fears and doubts take hold of me again. I also hope to write more often and avoid never-ending posts like this one in the future!

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7 Comments

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  1. Having a new member in the family is an adjustment to everyone involved. But having one-on-one quality time with Maia should make the change easier. I’m terrified as well – I used to fear the actual labour. Now that’s slightly gone away, and the aftermath of it all is starting to hit me! I’m counting on family and friends to help me out in the beginning!

  2. Hi Maureen, I think you’re doing a great job! Your worrying and questioning show it all! You want to do it right and you are aware of the difficulties which may arise, that is what puts you on the right track! We do not have an instruction book for motherhood, nor for being good wives. I think that having a clear objective for our life based on love and solid values helps us focus and grow, it is what helps us to actually do the right thing.
    May God bless you and keep you in his loving care! Hugs!

  3. ah honey *hug* I obviously have no practical advice to offer but I’ve heard that same thing your friends have told you so many times too – that the change from none to one is bigger than from one to two and so on. I’d say however that it’s quite normal to be having these worries, especially when you consider how hormonal and emotional you currently are. I am also sure though that things will just flow and you’ll get into the swing of things perfectly and just be the amazing mum you are to lucky kiddo number two πŸ™‚ xx

  4. Hey – first off, deep breath! πŸ™‚

    Second, considering your story of Maia, you’re going to totally ROCK having a family of four. We have three boys, all born within 3 & 1/2 yrs (and all within the first 4 years of our marraige!). There is not a day goes by that I would change a thing. To be honest, there were days when they all were under 5 that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it without killing them or their father. πŸ™‚ But, like all things, that was a season. One is now away at college and the other two are not far behind. It goes fast.

    Savor the next 26 days being the three muskateers, then get ready to celebrate one on one defense!

    Praying for your restless heart πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks to all of you for your words. I am feeling much better! πŸ™‚

  6. Because my husband works a lot of nights, my time with Abby is often just the two of us. She is my constant companion, my mini me. When I think about if and when we want to add to our family, I feel sad at the thought of having to split my attention. So I can totally relate to your fears. But really, you are just giving Maia someone else to love, someone else who will love her. Someone who will understand exactly where she came from when she is grown. I am an only child and I don’t have that. I think it is a wonderful gift to give to Maia. And you are aware of the change and how it might affect Maia, so I know you will a great job!

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