WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOTHERHOOD JOURNEY THUS FAR?
I had my first child when I was 24. I met my husband just 8 months prior to getting pregnant, and got engaged just one month before that. I always knew I wanted kids, and I always wanted to have them young. Now, I have two beautiful, spunky, wild gingers who are no longer babies, and with them being older I find it easier and easier to give the advice "have them young, and have them close together" but there was a time that I struggled with that decision. I was so naive when I got pregnant and gave birth to my oldest. I sometimes think that ignorance is bliss, and it made it easier on me in some ways. Being so naive though did not prepare me at all for how lonely I would began to feel. I moved 2 hours away from all my friends at family when my son was 3 months old to follow his father’s job. We wanted to be closer so we would have more family time. I quit my job as a very social hairstylist. I went from being surrounded by people I knew and loved, to being a stay at home mom in complete solitude. I would go to early years centers and play groups trying to make friends, be social, make connections, all while trying to sleep train a baby and keep it together with a husband who worked around the clock. I look back and it makes me sad. I felt like I was the only one who didn’t like having this baby. All the other moms would just seem so happy, and I was just in this state of un-fulfillment. My friends would say things like "you've changed" "You’re not like you use to be" which made things in my mind worse, because I knew a lot of the old things about me were gone, and gone for good if I wanted to be a good Mom. I felt lost and no one I knew could relate to me. None of my friends were having kids. None of them were getting married or settling down. All the moms I met seemed happy!
I tried everything to keep myself busy, from teaching myself how to sew, going for walk after walk, even befriending an older Indian woman who invited me over to her house almost daily for homemade Chai Tea. Long days turned into months, and before I knew it I was married and we had baby #2 on the way a year later.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO NEW MOTHERS?
Honestly, I could write or talk for hours about this topic because it evokes so much of every emotion in me. Being a Mom is the hardest thing I have ever done a part from quitting smoking. My advice to new moms would be to have a support system in place and make sure you use them! To find forums like this to know that you are not alone with any of the feelings your feeling. Not being happy in every phase of your child's life or even about every aspect of your child is OK! I can openly admit now what I couldn't before, that I did not enjoy the baby stage, I struggled. Find mom friends and be open, brutally unapologetically open!! Say the stuff that makes you sound like a horrible mother " I can’t f**king stand my kids today I'm about to chuck them out the window" and then bond - because your mom group will become your soul sisters! Being a new mom is exhausting and rewarding and suffocating and breathtaking and lonely and empowering. It can take you to the highest high and drag you to the lowest low. It will scare the hell out of you, but make you feel the most alive you have ever felt. Be open, be honest, and be you, and know that there are so many women out there that was have thought or did or felt the same way
It’s a wild ride, good luck!