By Zahra @makingmumories
When I Was asked to write about my journey as a mum, I thought back to the first time I felt like I was a mother. Giving birth makes you a mum yes… but that is not necessarily the first time you will actually feel like it. You see motherhood is not state. It’s not a one time feeling or a phase. You feel it, you think it, but you may not acknowledge it till you are struck by that one moment that makes you think ‘ wow, this is my child, and I am the parent he needs’.
If I look back to my beginning moments as a mum, I was all over the place. So much was happening, and nothing made sense. I wanted to breastfeed, but there was no supply. I wanted to express milk, but the demand for milk was way too much. My son would cry, -and there could be so many reasons why. The self doubt would always point me towards the things that ‘could’ go wrong. Maybe he was in pain? Maybe he was hurting? Maybe he had an unheard of illness? Maybe the midwives missed something? I never even thought that oh, it was because he was hungry, and that is just what babies do. It was draining. My first 2-3 weeks were an absolute shatter for my self confidence on this journey I thought I would be so excited about.
We forget though that you have not only given birth to a child, but in many ways, have been reborn as a mum. A new you. And that comes with many emotions and hormones that make you feel so much, all at once. One minute I felt jealous that someone else held him and soothed him and I didn’t. The next minute there was this sense of innate fear when I looked down at something so tiny that was such a big responsibility. There were many times where you found yourself ‘wanting’ time to yourself, but when you got it, you were still there… staring, looking over, or at your baby’s face just to make sure they were breathing okay, while they were just well… being themselves.
The silly thing about all these instances was that it felt so naive to talk about them. You felt silly even saying, ‘oh I’m so scared… or what do you do now? You think’ oh but I read about this, oh and I learnt about this when I took that course, and so I should know how to do it ( say whilst trying to breastfeed your child), so why is it ‘not working’.
Children are not robots, and motherhood cannot be treated like a manual. Books define science, and the science behind motherhood and its triumphs and falls, based on research but no, it cannot define the connection you establish with your child. Yes it can tell you what influences the child, and it’s learning and development, but again, it cannot tell you how things are going to be, what they will eat, how much they will drink, or what they will like and dislike. That is for you to figure out. I say it now, like I always knew it was meant to be this way… this journey. But I did not. The moment I realized that I was my sons mother, and my son needed me was when I saw him lift his head, follow me with his eyes, longing for me to pick him up. I realized I was his mum when I became comfortable enough to hold him, caress him, shower him, and sing to him and know that at the end of the day, I am in fact capable of taking care of him. Embracing my connection with Isa, gave me the confidence I needed to overcome the fears of all The things that ‘could’ go wrong, and focus on all The things that I had actually done right.
My journey as a mum did not begin when I gave birth to my son, but in fact started when I accepted my own rebirth, now as his mum. It allowed me to understand that his connection to me, is as important as my connection to him. My journey as a mum became reality when I learnt to revolve, evolve, and establish new grounds, that once was my bubble, now our bubble. I needed to understand him, and to do that, I needed to fully know that no matter what, I was what he needed to feel safe.
Now when you think about safety, you think, trust? You think comfort? For those things to be achieved, I realized that the child needs nothing else but to spend time with me. And let me tell you this; just this realization made leaps of changes to my time with him. Because I stopped thinking of the bazillion other things I ‘could’ and ‘should’ be doing. This was my reality. My son needed this time to get to know me, and my husband, and our family. So for us to create a dynamic, everything else needed to wait! We laughed, we cried, we played, I became his mum, his carer, his play date, his buddy, his best friend. That’s when I knew I was a mum.
It’s something that is unsaid, maybe because it’s just an expectation. But as. First time mum, when everything is new to you, you overlook the obvious and focus on the complicated, the things you need to unravel, when all you really need to do is to slow your life down, and focus what is in front of you. Your time with your baby is your best friend. That’s what I learnt, and that’s what has taught me everything I needed to know to be my baby’s everything!