In one of earlier posts, I wrote how my motherhood has been bliss – “If this isn’t bliss, then I’m not sure what is!”. Oh, it sure is. But I forgot to ask you to read between the lines. Since time immemorial, motherhood has been made out to be this state of eternal bliss of some kind, which obviously it is not. It’s time truth be told and myths be busted. Is motherhood bliss a truth or a big lie? Let’s find out.
There will be days when your world will be full of love and laughter, while on some days you might even regret having decided to have a child. Motherhood does come in seasons after all. Some seasons will be full of festivities and celebrations while others might be passing by in hope and wait for the festival. Life can seem pretty difficult when it feels to be tangled in knots that can’t be undone.
Motherhood bliss – The Dream
Sometimes I even find myself wondering and questioning if motherhood bliss is even real. Before being a mother, I had read and heard people talk endlessly about it in plenty, and that was one of the reasons why I was eager to become a mother, rather I was desperate to become one. I mean, who doesn’t go gaga over those chubby cheeks, want to coo over those rosy lips and tiny fingers or snuggle and cuddle those cute little bundles of softness. Well, I wanted to, to have my own to hold and love. Not wanting and having children is still not a thought Indian women are familiar with and is considered distinctly odd even for the Western women. But, hold your thought right there, I certainly do not need a child to fulfil my womanhood. I am complete the way I am. Read my take on feminism here.
Motherhood bliss – The Reality
I delivered this miraculous baby love for whom had been building the instant I knew I was carrying him. And I can’t emphasize how much I love him. But, it was after the initial cooing and giggles subsided that my eyes opened to this less talked about side of motherhood – the downside – the physical draining, sleep deprivation, whacky-frenzy hormones, postpartum blues, anxiety, sadness, irritability and crying incessantly for no apparent reason.
But I could not find a single person who could soothe my worried soul and put rest to that dull lingering feeling of sadness that ran on the back of my mind. Nobody talks about these. Even my friends pretended motherhood to be fabulous. But, I don’t know of one new mother who sleeps peacefully even for a couple of hours, let alone for long hours. It’s been 16 months I haven’t been able to sleep for a stretch of 4 hours straight. Sleep is probably the first sacrifice that a mother needs to do for her baby. Talking about hormones, my feminine hormones have been pretty much whacky since the time I entered into womanhood, then the pregnancy hormones wreaked havoc and again postpartum mood swings were the final blow. And who had to take the brunt of it all – poor Mr. Husband (Read my letter of gratitude to him here). I am not going to lie, there have been days when breastfeeding hurt and left me whimpering in agony and feeling terrible. Those days I kept reminding myself of the beautiful pictures and the wonderful feelings of motherhood that I had read about and imagined during my entire pregnancy. It’s tough not being starry-eyed with all the picture-perfect images you see on Instagram and Facebook, but, I have come to realize how impossible it is to visualize and imagine what motherhood is actually like until you delve into it.
Motherhood bliss – The road less travelled
Shaarav is a happy toddler, I absolutely adore him and never in my entire journey of motherhood have I ever wished I hadn’t had him. But when he was little, I did use to wish, that I got some off days and didn’t have to look after him all the time. Sometimes, I do it even today when all of it seems a lot to contain, even if it is just a fleeting thought, to stop everything for a bit. I like to be open about my experiences since I feel it not only helps me vent out my feelings but at the same time might even be helpful to plenty of other moms-to-be and new moms who are struggling and overwhelmed with their newfound responsibility. How I wish I could get the road of motherhood all mapped by the mothers who happened to forage the road ahead of me.
Motherhood bliss – The Acceptance
I so wish there were an apprenticeship for motherhood because at times the tending gets converted into toiling which becomes torture and leaves you frustrated. The sleepless nights of the demanding baby, day after day, was driving me berserk. And if I am being completely honest, some days were hell. My thoughts and feelings came as a shock to me as well and it made my heart swell with a sense of guilt for having a thought like that, even if it was momentarily. But I prefer to be rather open and talk about it than being demure.
Motherhood bliss – The myth of the bliss or the bliss in the myth
I do not deny the fact that I am in total awe and utter love of the magic that has been transforming my life into something that I could never have imagined was even possible. And here I am spending my days just staring at my baby sleeping peacefully; blissfully unaware of the turmoil my life has turned into. I love my son to bits and not in my dreams do I want to miss out on the tiniest minuscule moment of watching him grow, but, it would be wrong if I say I am lustily obsessed with him. Somewhere in the deepest corners of my heart, I do feel the slightest glimmer of sadness emerging from time to time for how my life has taken a drastic turn- how the things that were my top priorities once do not even make it to the list now. My bookshelves which consisted of romantic novels are filled these days with books of Eric Carle and Peppa Pig. Do you see what I am trying to get at? Some would argue that I could still keep those books, oh yes I can, but where do I find time to indulge in the luxury of reading my own books when my booklover son wants me to read the book where “the very hungry caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly” a hundredth time? So what if it has begun to get boring? Those looks of spark and twinkle in my kid’s eyes make me read to him once again. It makes me wonder where I lost the old me and sometimes even question if it even existed.
Motherhood bliss – The Challenge
Privacy has become the thing of the past. I consider myself lucky if I get my 2 minutes in the loo without my toddler peeping from below, banging the door, sticking out his leg inside the door or inserting whatever toy he finds from below. Forget about enjoying those long leisurely baths I once used to do. Most of the time I am busy planning and plotting for finding or devising ways to sneak in and out of the loo without getting noticed by my all-the-time-alert toddler. But all in vain (sigh)! I have become so busy that I don’t even find time to grieve for the things that once used to give meaning and definition to my being. They now exist just in memories. But yes, this lurking sadness is definitely undeniable and pops its head every once in a while. Many choose not to talk about it, but I, on the other hand, choose to acknowledge it and be vocal about it.
Motherhood bliss – The Realization
Here, I am not questioning “motherhood bliss”, but, as a matter of fact, I am trying to portray its true meaning and what it actually encompasses. I am not afraid of admitting my fear and apprehensions thinking they make me any less of a mother. I am ready to embrace the true motherhood bliss with all its seasons, including the tending and the toiling, and to delve deeper into the motherhood bliss unwrapping the cornucopia of things it has to offer. I have come to understand that it is okay to miss the old me, but, not get too overwhelmed with it. I have also come to the realization that rather than ignoring the drastic identity makeover, acknowledging the unfathomed loss and embracing the profound meaning of motherhood brought me closer to myself and my baby. It made me love motherhood more and that too, guilt-free. If it gives you some relief, just know that every mother has to go through these challenges only some are candid about it though. You are not alone in this and I hope I could be of some help.
Let’s observe this International Women’s Day by celebrating the change rather than ignoring it and enjoy the true spirit of motherhood the way it was intended to be – “a little more of privilege and a little less of sacrifice!”