“If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not” said Aslan to Prince Caspian.
It took me a long time to have my son. I’d desperately wanted to be a mother, for many years, and had always felt it was in my destiny, to parent. It turns out, I’m one half of an infertile couple, and it was only after multiple cycles of fertility treatments, a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy that, four years after starting to “try”, my wonderful, miracle boy was born.
I’d suffered a lot of grief and anxiety, bitterness and depression during, what we now refer to as, “the dark days”, and I’d expected it to disappear, in a poof of the magical, all consuming, glittery love I knew I’d experience, upon becoming, at long last, the mother I’d been desperate to become.
Yet it didn’t.
Yes, I’d become a mother and, as incredible as that was, it was also unnerving. I’d spent so long being an infertile; living each day to a schedule of drugs, injections, scans, procedures and pain, now, finally, here I was living a life I’d struggled to believe I’d ever have: and I felt like a bit of an imposter.
Like many mothers in the world, with assisted or naturally conceived children, I was scared. I felt judged and was desperate to become this unrealistic, impeccable, and, oh so, accomplished parent, I’d promised my unborn child I would be.
Since having my son, I’ve gone through stages whereby I’ve felt like a terrible parent, believing I’m doing everything wrong, from food, to sleep to how I deal with tantrums and the stomping of those chubby little feet. When I’ve sat and cried, feeling guilty that I don’t know what to do, that I’m completely overwhelmed by love and guilt and a huge mixing pot of other emotions too. When I look around my home and see only the negatives; mess, a dirty floor, unfolded laundry and the remnants of a nutritionally unbalanced meal. Days when I feel insufficient.
Yet I’m not.
I might have felt as though I was continuously letting myself down, but that’s what’s key here; letting myself down. Myself. Not my son. Myself and the unrealistic ideals I’d created, in order to provide him with my ideas of a perfect, idyllic and enviable childhood. Anything less, and it felt as though I was failing.
And I was failing. But I was failing myself. I was allowing the shadow of self doubt to creep up behind me, to sap the joy out of life, and stop me from mothering in an intrinsically natural way. No one else was judging me, other than myself. No one else thought I was inadequate; just me. And no one else believed I was undeserving of my child.
Becoming a mother is a beautiful, breath-taking and awe inspiring experience. Watching a child grow, develop and become a real person with thoughts, an imagination, feelings and a sense of humour, is humbling and inspiring. And absolutely not easy.
It’s tough, doing a good job, on limited sleep, or feeling like we’re succeeding, especially when dealing with an ever-changing, contrary, child sized CEO. But we are.
We have bad days and good days. We have stressful times interjected with, one or two, tranquil moments. But there’s never a dull day. Each hour, sometimes thankfully (!), brings about a one-of-a-kind situation. Each minute differing completely from the last and, with each second, we’re experiencing our own unique brand of chaos. Whether that be a child in the dog basket, leaves in the washing machine or the Fat Controller in the soup; it’s ours. It’s individual. It’s life.
And I think that’s truly wonderful!
Here we stand united in our mother’s love, for our children, agreeing, unanimously, that we don’t want to fail them and yet, even with all of that common ground, every child’s upbringing is unique; not wrong, not insufficient, but simply, exceptional. It’s what makes the world an interesting and exhilarating place to be!
So anxiety might lurk, in the dark recesses of my mind, trying to sneak through the, beautifully colourful chasms, of happiness, because I’m not the mother I thought I would be. But I’m trying not to care, or judge myself too harshly. Instead I’m telling myself that, in reality, I’m doing a better job than the mythical version of myself ever could: I’m real, I’m me, and this is my own unique brand of chaos!
That’s what life is all about!