Motherhood is a very interesting, exciting, exhausting, rewarding and game-changing experience!
I keep talking about, because saying it to myself helps me understand the path I’m on. When I became a mother I was overwhelmed by the range of new emotions and experiences that were happening to me. My world changed beyond all I could ever imagine, and although I thought I was mentally prepared for it, I actually fell into depression.
I was in love with my daughter before I even knew it – probably from the moment when I felt her gentle moves inside my womb. When she was born with an emergency c-section, all I really cared about was if she was well. And with all the love and dedication that I had for her from the very beginning, there was a whole range of feelings that I didn’t know what to do with. There was the exhaustion of the first sleepless nights. There was the stress of hearing my baby’s cry when she had colic and I couldn’t help her settle. There was my wish to be a super mom, to protect her from everything and to provide more than I could. And also, there was my dream to do the things that I used to love doing before.
Am I doing it right?
Slowly, there was that feeling of frustration settling in on me, that I wasn’t doing enough or that I wasn’t doing it right. When actually.. later on I found that it’s just the way it is, and I needed to be patient. Motherhood is a learning curve and every day is different, every week is a new phase, every month has new milestones. The baby grows and her needs change. It’s just a matter of time for things to get easy. A new mama just needs to stay focused and keep on pushing. It really does get easier.
Finding the reason for depression
There was also that factor that I gave birth to her at thirty-four when I already had my professional career and a few hobby projects I was constantly involved with. When I got pregnant I was certain that I would be that superwoman juggling a marketing career, blogging, family, new startup and raising a child on the go. Which – I can say I am doing now – but it took me about 14 months after giving birth to get to this stage. If I had a nanny I might have been able to step back into the working world a lot earlier, but in the same time I wasn’t ready to leave my baby to anyone else. Plus, there was no-one else to leave her with.
A professional doula once told me that we live in a man’s world and that trains us out from accepting what motherhood is. We’re used to having to work full time, to build careers and to compete with men on a professional level. When we become mothers, we feel like we’re not doing enough because we have to concentrate on only one thing over a period of time. That one thing is raising a human being! It’s time consuming and requires our full focus. But it is a very important job.
Learning to accept
I learnt it from my experience. My own Instagram profile and my followers helped me realise I wasn’t alone in feeling so low for not being able to work and for wanting to be with my child at the same time. My work and hobbies used to make me happy before, and I missed doing them, but also I wanted to provide the best start in life for my daughter. There was a fight going on inside of me. When I finally accepted it, the pain eased up. My daughter grew more independent. Right now I appreciate being able to work and look after her.
When I accepted that I will not be able to work at 200% as I used to and I just have to slow down instead of hit the pause button on my life, things came into place. I stopped feeling guilty. My daughter became more independent rather than obsessively attached to me. I became happier and more relaxed, which automatically made her calmer too. I stopped freaking out and learnt to control my emotions. I stopped crying secretly for not being able to work or for dreaming to work.
A mother to look up to
My baby girl learnt to say “mama” and she says it with so much love! One day she was looking at the picture on the package of some tights – a beautiful long-legged woman, she pointed and said “mama”. Another time she saw a magazine photo and said “mama”. A postcard illustration of a woman in front of the Eiffel tower – it was “mama” again.
With all of this my little girl taught me that I have to be strong and loving, motivated to do my things and to inspire her. I have to lead her by example. And for that, I need to be happy with myself, so she can continue seeing the best in me, in order to bring out the best of her!