I Never Wanted to be a Mother.
I saw motherhood as a restriction. In a cage like a bird, trapped. People asked ”Why don’t you have children?” It wasn’t good enough to say ‘‘I don’t want any.” Their faces changed to an expression of confusion. So my explanations would have to be more in-depth. I had loads of reasons why I didn’t want children. I loved my freedom, and I travelled when I wanted to. All my money was my own, and I worked hard.
So why did I become a Mother? I had hit the age of 30, and without thinking consciously I thought I had to. No, wait a second. There was no thought given to it. I moved to St.Lucia, and I was not allowed to work there. I had managed to get an impressive job in St.Lucia for my now ex-husband. As foreigners, only one of us was allowed to work. I became a mother because I had nothing else to do and it seemed to fit in.
Once I decided I would be a mother, I did everything I could to have a healthy pregnancy. I loved being pregnant. Plus it gave me something to phone home about. Becoming a mother at the age of 30, I thought I had it sorted. I thought I would be calm and take everything in my stride. I would be a natural Mother who has every skill needed.
I believed I was young enough to be active and old enough that I have lived my life. I had the images of my children confiding in me. We were going to have a special bond and closeness. They will gladly take my advice. I will be the coolest Mum ever. I am a perfect age. I’d like to point out that we are close, but they do not always take my advice graciously.
Once the baby decided it was time to make an appearance in the world, I decided it was not a good time. Apparently, the choice was not mine to make. Already the baby is in charge.
My review of giving birth is not the same as most women. I thought giving birth was a doddle. It was easy. I did not have pain relief, only because there was none in the country. It was suggested to go and see the local Rasta for specific pain relief, but my Doctor frowned on that idea. I even questioned why other women made such a fuss? I learned not to question that out loud.
I now had a beautiful baby girl. Yay me! In the hospital, for three days I had it easy. They looked after me very well. Then I went home. The biggest slap in the face I had ever experienced. It could have been a punch in the face but I was so tired I don’t remember.
Seriously, how have I fallen apart and become such a mess? I loved looking at her gorgeous alien innocent face. Having a sense of achievement that I made this beautiful human. But who I was as a person disappeared. Poof, gone. Who I was, flew out of the window and left me. Or maybe she did not even get in the car as we left the hospital. She did not leave a note or a parting gift. So, I could not pull ‘me’ back as I did not know I had left at that point.
I used to work 15 hours a day every day and then go out drinking and look amazing, even if I do say so myself. Now, I look like a ragamuffin and find myself crying because I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth. I am failing, and I don’t understand why.
I recall a mother telling me they could not remember if they brushed their teeth when they became a parent. I laughed at them, while I judged their amnesia. Of course, that will never be, I am a very together person. I was right it wasn’t me. I did it better. I added lots of sobbing and wailing when it was me forgetting if I had brushed my teeth.
Before, I had dealt with clients like they were babies. Because they were very demanding and had tantrums. I had to deal with the biggest kids of all. The egos of famous chefs’. Having my baby should be a walk in the park with all my experience. Now, I have this tiny human looking at me, and I am blank. Standing there blubbering and blank.
I thought if I touched her she would break. I’d take her to the toilet with me because if I didn’t, I was the worst parent on the planet. Where I was good at everything before, I am now the worst at everything. My baby cried less than I did. She cried when she was hungry, I cried all the time. ALL THE TIME. It is still the only thing she cries about 15 years later, food.
I never realised how good I had it until I heard other parents’ stories of their children. My child slept 7-7 from 5 weeks old. With jealousy in their eyes, parents told me that was good. I know some of you are reading this and you are cursing me. So to make you feel better, I will tell you my son was very different. He was my punishment and cried all the time. My aunt named him ‘Victor Meldrew’ from the show ‘One foot in the Grave.’ He was a miserable child.
As much as I loved this little person, the lack of adult connection is an invisible monster. It is invisible because you do see adults and there is a conversation. But you are so tired and drained, and it is all about the baby. You do not exist anymore. People give a smile as their eyes bypass you and go straight to the perfect baby.
You get asked the traditional questions, all about the baby. You know the questions about poo development and sleeping habits. At some point, the questions will graduate to weaning and tantrums. You get told, ‘‘You look tired.” and ” You must rest when the baby sleeps.” We don’t do that, do we? No, because the house ends up looking like a bomb dropped on it.
Who knows who is popping in to see the baby? House must be tidy. Is that your insecurity? Or do you know when the guest leaves, the state of your house will be the first thing they gossip to someone? Passive-aggressively of course. My routine was dull, and it was on repeat day in day out. I hated it. I will repeat that. I HATED IT. It was groundhog day. I never liked the actual film because it was so repetitive and boring.
I craved adult conversation. When I had what I craved, I found it to be monotonous. The same conversations over and over. The same questions, but from different people.
Don’t tell anybody that is how you feel. Because that means you do not have the maternal attributes needed to be the perfect Mum. You must love being a Mum. Why wouldn’t you?
So with everything about the beautiful child, you are now a maid. And no one’s interested in the maid. People start to tell you how you should be doing things. All well-meaning, of course. In your politeness, you smile and nod. For me, inside I was screaming ”Fluff off!’‘ Well, we all know the word was not really ”Fluff.” I had to shout it in my mind for the sake of the baby. Must not wake the baby.
Loneliness creeps in, and confidence starts to leave. I feel completely shit. I complained to my Mum. “All I do is wash clothes and clean up every two minutes. When did I ask for this life?” Sob Sob. Pleading for her understanding. My Mum replied ‘‘You asked for that life when you had kids.’‘ All I wanted was a little sympathy. Sympathy was never in my family’s makeup. I must have been exhausted to have thought sympathy was coming my way.
The thing I wish I had known?
There should be some guru who sits you down before you become a Mum. They should explain a few things. You will forget that you were a person with a personality. You will not recall what you like or dislike.
My fun-loving, active me, who loved adventure had gone. I felt like a nobody. I was a Mum, and that was that. Totally invisible to everyone except for the little child that needed me. Is this it for me now? Is this my life? I chose to be a stay at home mum. Even though I hated everything that came with it.
But I loved being a mum to this little baby. I also love my children more than life. Telling my Mum “No-one will ever love their kids as much as I do.” I know, I know, before you all have a go at me. My mum rolled her eyes at that comment too.
I have re-connected with previous me. We are taking it slow as she has become nervous about who she was before. Am I a selfish person for how I describe motherhood? It is how I saw it back then.
Ultimately I wish I had known how lonely Motherhood is and how mind-numbingly dull it can be. We mix with people we don’t like because their child is the same age. It was not the children that were groundhog day. It was everything and everyone that went with it.
The socially accepted plodding along and tiresome conversations. And all because you love your baby.