While all my friends were stressing over which university to get into and what to study, I was stressing that for some unknown reason my body wouldn’t be able to produce a baby.
I know right?
Apparently most 17 year olds don’t think about that kind of thing. But there I was, broody as, well, something that’s incredibly broody. A rabbit or something.
Obviously it didn’t consume me – 17 year old me might have been considered crazy, but she wasn’t completely irrational you know?! I just had a pretty set plan – get married and have babies. Thankfully Seth was on board with those plans and we were married when I was 20. As most couples do, we sort of set a “5 year plan”. You know, 5 years to establish ourselves, get settled in our lives together and then when we’re financially stable and emotionally ready, we’d pop out the babies.
Well, the 5 years turned into a 1 year plan. Mostly due to the fact that just visiting friends with babies would have me in tears, my heart aching to have a little baby of my very own to love and look after.
We were able to get pregnant rather easily – as it turns out we can basically just look at each other and have a baby. This is something I have always been so thankful for, considering how much of a fear of mine it had been and how I have heard of others heartbreaking struggles.
So we had a baby. A beautiful baby girl.
I finally had a sweet smelling little bundle to cradle in my arms to love and look after.
It was all that I had seen in the movies and more.
Until it wasn’t.
Yes, I got a little person who needed me like I’d always wanted. As I’d always imagined, I was the one to give them what they wanted, stop them from crying with a kiss and cuddle, get them to fall asleep peacefully in my arms, laugh at the cute faces (and later silly jokes). I soaked up all the snuggles, the smells and the kisses. I felt all the feelings of intense love, unfathomable sense of protection and overwhelming joy.
But I wasn’t quite prepared for all that came along with that beautiful little bundle. I knew the lack of sleep, the pressure of sticking to exactly what all those baby books told me to, dealing with mommy guilt about like, everything, how often they need to be fed etc would be hard (and it was), but what I wasn’t really prepared for is how much they needed ME.
Along with a tiredness that you never even knew to be possible, comes this knowledge that it’s all down to you. If you have the blessing a partner that is actively camping out in those trenches with you (as I do), then it helps to share the load, but the stress of being a parent is still there.
There is no off button. There is no getting off this ride once you’re on it.
You are it.
Those smooshy little cheeks and sparkly eyes belong to a little person who needs to be molded into a human being that’s not a chop. And in the World that we live in today, that seems to be increasingly hard to do.
Sometimes I sit and let these thoughts/feelings wash over me in full force. I let the anxiety take hold and I let the voices in my head tell me that I’m not good enough – that I’m failing them as their mother. I think we all do.
The real challenge is to acknowledge those feelings as just that. A bunch of feelings.