I just wanted to let you know you’re doing great, don’t compare yourself to others, just do you and let the rest be.
I’m in the Mammy game three and a half years now, four if you include the pregnancy I suppose.
I’m still learning and I know I will be for a very long time yet. I learned very early into motherhood, 3 days to be exact, to ask for advise or help.
You see, I didn’t have the introduction to Motherhood like the one I’d seen in magazine, TV, online or heard lots of mams describe. I found it really really hard, I struggled emotionally, physically and mentally.
I wrote about the Baby Navy’s, as I called them, I wrote about it here
Oisín arrived in the early hours of a Monday morning, my waters broke late Friday night, so it had been a long weekend and an arduous labour. Let’s not go into details about the labour, no Mamma to be needs a horror story, so save them.
I was a really shell shocked when Ois arrived, I remembered being so overwhelmed with emotion getting ready to leave the hospital. I cried the whole way home. Two hours after arriving back to our apartment, I was just so hormonal. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I wasn’t the picture perfect new Mam who was staring blissfully at their new arrival.
I was so overcome with emotion, what was the problem? What’s wrong with me?
This is when I learned the valuable lesson of talking, asking for help and advise. I rang one of my closest friends, she is a Mam of two, she knew the deal.
She answered cheerily and asked how I was, I tried to open the conversation in a upbeat tone, but my emotional state decided to intervene and I made whale like noises down the phone, as I tried to control them, the tears flowed.
Take a breath buddy, you’re okay, I knew by the way she spoke that it was okay, she understood I wasn’t ungrateful for my new arrival, I was just a mess.
Finally, when I had slightly composed myself, still sobbing I asked;
“What’s wrong with me, why do I feel like this, what’s happening?!?”
“You’re okay, its totally normal, you’re very tired and your hormones are raging, it’s okay. It’s all very overwhelming.”
“Will I be back to normal tomorrow?! I’ve never felt like this before” I asked her, praying that I would wake up the next day full of the joys of my new role as Oisin’s Mam.
“No, it might take a few days to adjust and if you don’t, don’t worry we’ve got you. You’re going to be okay.”
We talked for awhile, I sat into bed still full of swirling hormones but a little less overwhelmed.
My pal called Joey, my husband, that evening. She checked how I was, gave him some support and checked how he was doing too, it’s not just us Mam’s it’s hard on.
That night my mother in law called in with bags of food, clothes for Ois and a bag full of goodies for me, cosy clothes, bits and bobs. I was really thankful. She sat at the side of our bed holding Ois, I sat the far side crying.
“Don’t mind me, I just can’t seem to control this”.
The next few days that followed were not those of a celebrity magazine shoot of a mother and new born. They were more survival of the, well parents.
The hormones got better over the days and weeks while my body began to heal. I began to get a handle of things.
Do you have a song that reminds you of a time and it fills you with emotion?!?
“Do you want to build a snowman” – In the weeks running up to Oisíns birth my nephew was obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, we all were. I put it on, as I normally would having a shower a few days after Ois was born.
Sobbing! In the shower, sobbing, thinking; Poor Anna and Elsa, their parents died on a boat. Joey and I are NEVER getting a boat. She just wants a hug from her sister, Elsa stop being such a bitch and get over yourself.
Knock on the door “You okay in there Suz?!” Poor Joey, he ran the emotional gauntlet with me, daily.
I still get tears when I hear it, which is unfortunate due the weather we’ve been experiencing and the fact Oisín is now a fan. He’s taking to knocking on the doors, Anna style and I’ll be honest, I’m just not able. As I write this he’s standing in the kitchen watching it on his phone.
Anyway, as the weeks turned into months I got a handle on being a new Mam, the challenges it brought with it and the new relationship with my son, my son, how mad is that to say?
It took some time for it to sink in, this little person, who in the first few days felt like an intruder who had moved in with all of his things – and he had a lot of things – completely consumed every inch of our home and even more so, our lives.
We both got to know each other, I didn’t experience that instant overwhelming gush that so many mams speak about. I knew I loved him, I knew I wanted him so much but it just took time.
Oisín was figuring out the world and I was just figuring out, well, everything. I followed strict schedules, and that worked for us and for me mentally and emotionally. Ois followed routine really well, his sister to follow wouldn’t prove as easy going. But Ois was chilled and as naff as it sounds, he helped me out.
I don’t remember exactly when it happened but do remember when that gush of all consuming love filled me as I watched him sleep one afternoon. I had been in such a daze, it lifted and I saw my beautiful little boy.
Two years later, Hannah arrived and joined the madness. Her birth was gentle and she gave me those precious days I had missed in the haze of Oisín’s arrival. She doesn’t stick to schedules, rules and is her own person. The learning begins all over again.
I think of the little things my Mam did for myself and my brothers growing up, the warm towel on the radiator on a cold day to wrap your hands when you came in from school. The multiple dinner options, so everyone was fed, the pancakes on a cold day to warm your belly and the squeeze of a hand to let you know that they’re right beside you. I take my lead from the little things she did for us so that when you put them all together they become a bigger picture of being a Mam.
So, I’m not the picture perfect Mam. I’m sure my neighbours have heard me loudly shouting “Oisín don’t hit your sister” or “Hannah, get down” but that’s okay. I daydream of a full nights sleep and someone actually listening when I say “stop that, your breakfast is on the table” or understanding how they can change their minds in an instant “you asked for porridge, oh in the space of making it, you now hate it, right!?!”
So here we are Oisín is three and a half, I want to freeze time it’s whizzing by too fast, meanwhile his little sister can buy and sell us and she’s only one. I see trouble ahead!
So Mam’s; take today to contemplate the moments when you couldn’t catch your breath, the temper tantrum you survived, the long nights with teeth, temperatures and lack of sleep or the hiding in the toilet for two moments to just be silent.
Then stop, think and celebrate every moment you get with these children, however old or young, that call you Mam, Mammy, Mum, Mom, Mamma because; they’re the ones who make Motherhood ever so special.
Happy Mother’s Day.