They say motherhood is a journey where you can get lost or experience a sort of death. A death of the person who you once were. The one who took regular showers, binge-watched on the weekends, and slept in till 10am. My journey was similar to many woman; I knew one day I wanted children, and when that day came, I would be ready to embark on ‘mommyhood’. Fairy dust, bunnies and rainbows would follow us everywhere we went. Fast forward many years later, and here I am — where nothing worked out in my 5 year plan.
The ticking time bomb
My journey to become a mom was not easy. It took years before I got pregnant. In my early 30s, I left things to chance, and that chance never came. There was never an urgency to think too deeply about it; that something was amiss or out of the ordinary. I was travelling around the world, focusing on my career and enjoying my life without looking at the ticking biological clock. But then I turned 38, and and I started becoming acutely aware of our ‘no-baby’ situation. After several visits to a fertility clinic, where they determined that there should be no medical reason why we couldn’t have kids, my husband and I were left with more anxiety than answers. But then life threw me an unexpected turn. After two years of seeking medical help, I got pregnant naturally and the bumpy loopy ride for the last couple of years took a free fall.
The sugar-coated lie
I’ve never really taken care of a baby before I had my daughter. Prior to having her, I envisioned life with a baby as a rosy-coloured bliss of quiet naptimes. I thought everything would just work out — that the baby would come along with their own set of instructions and a Diaper Genie. But as I laid there in bed at home two weeks post-partum healing from stitches, I felt that the party on my baby parade had come to a screeching halt. In the first few months after giving birth, I felt utterly numb and exhausted to the bone. Blame it on the hormones or the lack of sleep, but there was a permanent grey cloud in my household where I was less forgiving of myself and of others. Breastfeeding was a struggle. I felt less of a woman and a failure of motherhood on so many levels. Why wasn’t I feeling grateful enough for having a baby who was healthy and perfect in every way? Often times, I wondered how I got hijacked into thinking that being a mom could be considered a life goal. As the months passed, and I was hit with another baby milestone/maelstrom, I started viewing motherhood as a sweet lie. The baby oversharing on social media made the sugar look sweeter than it actually was. Anything with #Momgoals made my stomach churn.
No perfect moms
In parenthood, there are no happy endings. In many ways, parenthood never ends. My daughter is now three-years-old and I’m still pushing through the pain, the foggy sleepy-eyed mornings and occasional sleepless nights. It took a while, but after my daughter turned one, I started to embrace my new identity as a mother. Or more importantly, I learned to embrace my imperfections, my shortcomings of the woman I was once and am now. Despite what Facebook and Instagram posts are showing me, I knew. Deep down, I knew that there were no perfect moms, just perfect ‘mom’ents. The storm has not yet passed, but my daily life now is filled with more meaning in the most unexpected situations. It’s a mom life filled with pink, princesses, and possibilities. I haven’t lost the old me — she’s still there and can be found if she’s had more than eight hours of sleep. The new me, well, she’s just waiting to be found. She’s brave and resilient, and I relish this phase in my life of slowly discovering her.