The Bittersweet Reality of Motherhood: How I Embraced it

By Karen Al Annan

Why Motherhood Is Bittersweet : Identity Loss, Postpartum Depression & loving my babies in between

Motherhood! Wow. One word, three syllables, infinite dimensions. My name is Karen Al Annan. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am what feels like a spider trapped in this huge Web of bittersweetness.

Somewhere from the sweetest little hugs and kisses you get from your children that God knows you need those the most to the other end of the spectrum of wanting out most of the time. Wanting out of motherhood, wanting out of parenthood, wanting out of marriage. Wanting to be free.

Motherhood is bittersweet. By bittersweet, I don’t mean the sweet moments surpass the bitter ones. Let call a spade a spade.

Let me explain it.

bittersweet reality of motherhood

I love my kids. I love every inch of their body. I love every strand of hair on their head. I love every nail on their fingers and toes and I will hurt whoever lays a finger on them. I give myself an A+ on my role as a mom. I do it all. I’m all the professions. You name it and I’ll confirm it. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean I haven’t had my fair share of PPD (Postpartum depression) and identity crisis along the way.

The Untold truth about motherhood

We were brought up and raised to believe that motherhood is what completes you. It is that missing puzzle in your life that you will come to find when you become a mom. They brainwash you with those fantasy stories of how just remarkable it is and how there is nothing more beautiful than motherhood. They told us our lives will change, but they kept one tiny part hidden; that our lives will stop and will take on a whole different form.

the reality of motherhood. the struggles and joy of motherhood

Those little creatures dictate your lives for a long time. While that has beauty you will probably see when they are older, the form you should be ready for now is a form you had no idea existed. That’s motherhood. It is being ready to fire back from an empty vessel no matter what you are bombarded with.

Motherhood Identity loss & how I eventually dealt with it

As an expat mom with currently no help in the house, both our families don’t reside in the same country and a mom who is trying to get back into the corporate world that was the best part of her being for 5 years, you can imagine how challenging juggling motherhood is for me.

I lost who I am the first time I gave birth trying to balance between all the roles now (friend, mom, spouse, daughter, you name it) I realised that something in me changed and I couldn’t seem to point it out clearly because I did not want to be misunderstood. I did not love my baby when he came out. I did not have tears of joy. I was not that mom. I did not feel anything. I wasn’t the mom in the movies/stories. Was it the responsibility? Was it the baby himself? Was it the hormones? Was it the extra weight I couldn’t wait to lose? Wait..did that mean I couldn’t go out and stay up all night anymore being stupid with my friends? I realised at first it was all the above so i kind of lost my identity trying to figure out all those.

Up until my first child was a year almost, I had realised that motherhood helped me put life into a whole new perspective after I thought I was losing my mind like I was not well. Even my husband attested to that. “You are not okay. Go be okay and come back to us” He once said. With all the blues and depression, trying to be a perfect mom and person on all fronts whilst acing my game, I still found a sense of liberation (not full) because it opened my eyes to everything else.

My second pregnancy

I got pregnant the 2nd time around and I thought I was done with the Postpartum depression and baby blues, finding myself again kind of journey that was the first pregnancy’s trigger, only to realise that the second time around, that new life perspective was reaffirmed and it hit harder. I guess for confirmation reasons. I realised that I was more and more liberating myself from all those societal, cultural wrong ideas and ideologies that we were indoctrinated with from when we were little girls. 

second pregnancy and postpartum depression

Every mom has a different journey and every mom’s journey probably shaped her differently. Me? I realised what attaining a percentage of mental liberation is and losing your brains along the way.

One thing that keeps us going; knowing you are not rowing this boat on your own. Many of mommy friends can be helpful just by being in the same chaotic mess with you and a lot of mommy friends can surprise you by adding indirect/direct competitive pressure on you. Stick to the ones rowing the same boat. They seem to be firing from empty vessels as well and acing their game whole they’re at it. They’re you.

Read more honest journeys of real mothers that will definitely relate to yours.

Maternal health

Post partum depression

Defining motherhood

Identity loss

Postpartum rage


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