Nothing prepares you for motherhood. No book, no app, no advice. Even with your rounded belly filled with life, as you sat on your yoga ball, watching birth stories on Youtube, pinning the perfect nursery on Pinterest, adding yet another organic bamboo onesie to your cart, nothing ever ever prepares you for motherhood.
Almost two months ago, I brought together a group of mostly first-time moms part of The Okay Moms Club. Even though it was the first time I had met most of these women, it was comfortable — we joked about pregnancy cravings and heartburn, and recommendations for butt pastes and wet wipes. But through all the smiles and the sheer excitement of talking to another adult human being outside the family, you could feel the hardness of motherhood emanating from these strong women. I sat in a little window of silence and I listened to someone talk about her labour, I looked around and felt that hardness, behind everybody's sleepless sunken eyes, we have all felt that weight. The weight of motherhood.
Pregnancy was different for all of us — I had been vocal about mine, another kept hers a secret until her baby was out, another experienced over 30 hours of labour.
Had I been given a chance to sit across from my scared pregnant self this time last year, this is what I would tell her: If you think that the love you feel right now is incredible, I can tell you this — words cannot even grace the love you will feel for this human being that you made. It is nothing like you have ever felt before — it will be so familiar, yet foreign; overwhelming but so at home. It will fill you, to the very, very brim of your soul, practically spilling over.
The thing about this kind of love is that it can feel heavy. Like you snapped in two like a twig; it's when lines are blurred between exhaustion and depression and the guilt that you experience will rob you from what should be the most tender moments of your baby's life.
He will cry. He will cry so much and you will take him to every doctor, infant chiropractor, anything that you can rely on because settling on the term "colic" is not an option. Your days will end with the saddest wails you will hear — and you will pray to the Almighty to take away his pain, and give it to you instead. This baby doesn't deserve to feel any pain. You should be the one who's punished — give the pain to you instead. You will spend nights walking up and down with the carrier and the baby strapped on you, trying to get him to settle, only to do it again a few hours later.
Your friends tell you it's the fourth trimester that you have to get through, but what do they know, they didn't have to experience a baby with silent reflux. You will feel depleted — every figment of your soul has been ripped apart as you envy the moms on Instagram who get to dress their newborns in organic baby leggings with printed llamas.
There are two billion moms in the world, but you feel like the loneliest. You will feel like you're failing, all trust you've ever had in yourself will be destroyed. How can you possibly be a mother if you can't even mother right?
Did I tell you how much you would cry? Oh my God, how much you will cry over everything. The big things, like how it's so fucking hard to nurse because your let down is faster than what your baby can gulp so you're breastfeeding in this awkward, laid back position. And the small things like how you're still the size of a fucking whale after months of breastfeeding.
But then, somewhere after the 100 days, you see light. He smiles, and laughs and fills a void in your heart you never knew existed. He intestines will get strong, and he will learn to nurse like a pro. Oh, yes, and he will sleep through the night! For a whopping 10 hours, and wake up in smiles and coos and nuzzling you.
Maybe you may not be able to make parenting your bitch (because let's face it, babies will throw as much curveballs as they produce saliva), but you'd get the hang of it. You will figure out a way to wrap that love around yourself, and fill you up just right with laughter and squeals. You will no longer be buried in it.
Your son and you will have the greatest relationship. He will adore the world, as much as you do. He will be vivacious, brave and just unbelievably happy. You will miss him when he falls asleep and look forward to the 5.30am call times he gives you without fail every single morning. His eyes will light up, and his gummy smile will take over his face almost every single time he sees you.
Hold on to that truth.
You will marvel that this incredibly giggly little baby is the very same one that was so unhappy with silent reflux (which is anything but!) in his newborn days.
You will grow, you will feel human again. You will adjust, and settle and then have to adjust again. That's what motherhood is — you find ways through the heaviness to fit more love inside your soul. There will always be something that stretches your capacity and just when you think you cannot do any more, you do.
You are enough. You are one badass mother.