The Reality of Motherhood

Written by Susan Deborahs

I distinctly remember laying in the dark, holding my son and crying. There were probably many moments like that in the first 3-6 months of having him. The emotions were so big and so complex. It felt so ungodly. I felt like I was functioning, trying to survive yet losing who I was. But I became a different person as soon as they gave my son to me.

I couldn’t even pinpoint how I was progressing as a new mum because I was blinded by what I believed were failures as a new mum. I was exhausted because I was trying to fit my old life and habits, into this new life. Some days were good and I laughed and other days I broke down and questioned whether I was doing anything right. There were certainly plenty of days I wanted my mum and envied my friends that had the privilege of calling their mum and asking them “How do I do this?” “Was I like this as a baby?” .

Couldn’t I ask someone else? Sure I could. But I wanted to ask my mum. And I couldn’t and that was painful to accept. Grief has a way of showing up when you least expect it. I felt guilty for feeling so alone. I was meant to believe that God was with me. And I did. But I also wanted to be mothered because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing and needed not only guidance but a hug. 

Parenthood has this crazy way of making you revisit the way you were parented. It’s raw and also uncalled for. It takes you by surprise. For some, they have the amazing privilege of reflecting on their childhood and not having much of a complaint about their upbringing. But that wasn’t my experience. And alas here I was in the dark, crying. Finding it hard to make sense of everything I felt, that I can now put into words to you now. 

Motherhood is beautiful. A gift. But..

Motherhood is hard. 

Postpartum is hard. 

The recovery is hard. 

On every level. In every way. 

I guess I started with me, to normalise it for you. 

Here are a few things to remember as you navigate motherhood:

It can be messy. 

And God is in the mess with you. Your tears are a language He understands. His presence isn’t reserved for perfect moments. His presence is for authentic moments. Those moments in the dark are still holy. Even the darkness is light to Him. Let me say this. Depression is sometimes silent and at times overwhelms us like a tornado. It might hit at the 6 month mark or the 3 week mark. No matter when it does, it’s real. It needs attendance. It does not define you. So don’t let shame keep you in the dark. [Ecclesiastes 3:1-8]

Don’t stop talking. 

Even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when you have moments that you feel good. Capture those thoughts. Dump it in your notes app. If you have time, journal it. Go therapy. Find someone trusted and seasoned. You need space to be weak. You need someone you can unknot your mind with. [Psalm 55:22, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Proverbs 27:9]

Two things can be true. 

You can love and cherish the gift that is your baby and it can also be a hard struggle on some days. You are not ungrateful. You are not looking down on the blessing that God gave you. Yes, you may have waited but you’re also a human who is navigating the most complex role in life. God understands. [Psalm 139:1-4]

You don’t need to reclaim who you were before. 

Yes I know, you were a baddie before. A boss. A superstar in your own right but baby that was just the beginning. Whoever you were before, you are that and more. You’ve evolved and you’re still evolving into a greater version of yourself. You are becoming  and rediscovering who you are, so give yourself time. Your dreams will evolve. What you want out of life will evolve. Keep being curious and ask the Lord to give you the grace to embrace the journey.  [Isaiah 43:18-19]

Be gracious and kind. 

You are worthy of grace and kindness. My therapist once asked me, “if you were sitting in front of you, what would you say?” And I said “I wouldn’t criticize, I’d celebrate me. I’d give context to the pain and the reactions that come from that pain. I’d take me out to eat. I’d give context to what it is that is being experienced. I would exercise grace and kindness.” So what would you say to you? Lean into the grace and compassion that the Lord is extending to you in this season. He understands and desires you to be well.   [Psalm 86:15]

You deserve a routine. 

I had a routine for my son but I didn’t have one for me. My whole life revolved around him and that was inevitable. But I needed a routine for my own sanity. It was important in that routine that I had time for me. Whether that was early in the morning or late at night. I needed a moment when the house was still and I could hear myself think. Working out had to be part of my routine, maybe not everyday but most days. I communicated to my husband what I needed and we figured it out. Your routine will be a routine that keeps changing as your baby grows but what’s important is that, the routine you create is for you. [3 John 1:2]

Sis, don’t underestimate the prayers you do whilst you wash the dishes, while you’re in the shower or in the car on the way to pick up the kids. God hears each and every one of those prayers. He honours the season you are in and the effort you are making to connect with Him. [Psalm 66:19]

For the mamas that are trying to sleep train their babies this site helped me tremendously. The links below explain wake windows and how to gradually build a sleep routine for your little one that isn’t overwhelming. 

Simply click the titles below:

Understanding wake windows 

Baby sleep schedules

Your Baby Week By Week By Simone Cave

The motherhood group 

Women are truly a wonder. How we manage to do it all, is beyond me. However, God’s desire for you is that you are in good health and that you prosper as your soul prospers. So if you’re new to motherhood or your trying to navigate the transition of having multiples, my prayer is that the Lord will give you the grace to walk through what comes with this season, in peace.

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