The Expectations and Realities of Motherhood
Prior to the birth of my now 3 year old twin boys, I was full of expectation and anticipation. I willed the weeks away, eager to meet the two tiny individuals that would take over my life in the greatest way possible. I shrugged off comments of ‘Good luck- double trouble!’ and exclamations of ‘Twins! You’ll never sleep again!’
None of that mattered. I LOVED kids. I LOVED babies. I was born to be a Mum.
Then the twins arrived.
The birth, although unexpectedly early, was a text book c-section. They were worried about twin B who was breach. He was perfect. They both were. I couldn’t believe my luck. Then came the unexpected.
I was not expecting to have one twin whipped away from me suddenly and taken to special care.
I was not expecting to face breast feeding with one and desperately pumping for the other.
I was not expecting to feel so horribly guilty that I couldn’t visit my son in special care because his brother, his closest person in the world so far, was not allowed in the special care ward.
I was not expecting to not be able to hold my tiny baby for days, to feel as though I was failing him.
I was not expecting the pit of my stomach horror of discovering that he had been given a dummy, to comfort him, to stop him crying, because he was put on nil by mouth whilst they investigated what was wrong.
I was not expecting to finally have both my boys home together and rather than feeling elated, feeling dread. Dread for the sleepless nights ahead, dread knowing that I would be pumping or feeding nearly every hour of everyday. The dread of knowing that I would be left alone with them for days on end. I only had one pair of hands, one set of arms to hold.
I was not expecting to silently gaze at my amazingly patient husband at 3am whilst he fed one and I the other.
I was not expecting to want to throw myself around his ankles when he left for work in the morning.
I was not expecting to miss my husband, even though we were in the same room.
I was not expecting to burst into tears every-time a well wisher told me how beautiful they were and how lucky I was, because they didn’t understand how HARD it was.
I was not expecting to wish someone would simply tap me out, tell me that I’d done a great job and take them away so that I could return to my normal life. As ridiculous as it sounds, I was not expecting the permanency of parenthood. Everything else I had done in my life had an end goal. This seemed endless.
I was not expecting to feel so intensely disappointed with my post mum self. I no longer had time for proper makeup, styled hair, skinny jeans or high heels. I was a shabbier version of my former-self and I hated that too.
Then the new born phase passed, the spring came and life very slowly became easier. I got the boys into a routine. I still remember the excitement of my husband and I sharing our first dinner alone whilst they slept upstairs for the first time. They started eating food and I stopped breast feeding. They smiled, laughed, discovered each other, and even patiently allowed me to shower whilst they sat in their bouncers watching. Suddenly, I discovered a whole new phase of things I wasn’t expecting.
I wasn’t expecting the immense joy I felt when they made each other (and me) laugh.
I wasn’t expecting to cry tears of pride when they both learned to walk.
I wasn’t expecting to be completely astounded at the amazing father my husband became. I wasn’t expecting to love him in a way I didn’t think possible.
I wasn’t expecting to be able to get out of the house easily and out and about with both of them alone - but I managed. Somehow!
I wasn’t expecting to learn so much about Thomas and his friends, to enjoy all the nostalgic kids books that I used to love through new eyes.
I wasn’t expecting the emotion of knowing that your children understand Christmas and believe in magic that you had long forgotten.
I wasn’t expecting that the benefit of surviving through the sleep deprivation would allow me to still go out until 3am and get up at 6am and function pretty well!
I wasn’t expecting to lose count of how many times I have kissed their beautiful golden heads -just because I can.
I was not expecting to feel this incomprehensible love and pride that comes with becoming a mother.
I wasn’t expecting to discover that motherhood became, in many ways, everything that I was expecting and more.
So what really have I learned? That the instant ‘in love’ feeling that we expect, doesn’t always come straight away.
That motherhood is really hard and not always enjoyable and it’s okay to say that out loud.
That some phases are harder than others and that every phase passes.
That each of our experiences are unique but the love of our children is, in its very core, the same. Ultimately, that it’s best to expect the unexpected and enjoy the crazy ride. I know I have.