I still felt broken. But only some of the time.
I still can’t believe it’s been two months. Two months of being a mum. Two months of a little soul sleeping so close to me every night, I can hear her breathing in, and out. In, and out. A rhythmic sound that now comforts me to sleep, knowing she’s alright.
Saying that my whole month was only filled with comfort however, would be a blatant lie. It’s been a trying month, with some glimpses of perfect moments where time stood still and everything around me was picture perfect.
Thinking back at the month that’s passed, I already recall very little of the trying moments as my brain quickly hashed them out, making space to highlight those picture perfect moments instead.
Catching a glimpse of those daddy-daughter moments when Benn held Emma close to his chest at 4am after a feed, or kissed her forehead while rocking away in a chair – so cheesy, but picture perfect.
Axel’s tail wagging like crazy after dropping his tennis ball on Emma’s legs while she’s fast asleep in my lap; eagerly waiting for her to engage in his favourite playtime – bit premature, but picture perfect.
The sparkle in grandma’s eye, on a video call, while making plans for the first time she’ll finally meet Emma face to face. Whenever travel will be allowed again – so sorrowful, but picture perfect.
It’s moments like this that kept me going this month. And I suppose it’s what keeps any new mum going.
We’ve learnt a lot in the past month. We’ve sorted feeding and figured out how to put a nappy on so that it doesn’t leak. We created feeding shifts through the night, and witnessed Emma’s first smile. The first toy that she grabbed. The first time she laid eyes on Axel and how intrigued she was looking at her new best friend.
However, we’ve also argued over silly things; things that we would have not even noticed previously, in the days when we both got enough sleep.
And I’ve still been overwhelmed by the feeling of not doing enough as a mum, of not being enough myself. The guilt of admitting that I needed a break from her. Did it mean I was doing something wrong? That I didn’t love her enough? Do other mummies ever need a break away from their own babies? Took a while to convince myself that they must do. But I’m now convinced that it’s a normal feeling. It’s still a new role, and it’s exhausting.
Thinking about it, a new job comes with a six months adjustment period. So why would being a new mum feel totally normal after just two months? Why would we expect to be a natural know-it-all and totally in control when we still have so much to learn?
And it’s the learning that takes its toll on us. Just like that new job where we’re learning new things every day. It takes a while to feel in control and even longer to feel like we’re any good at it. So why would motherhood be any different?
In the past month, the most important thing I’ve learned is to allow myself to feel these feelings. To allow myself to ask these questions, to think these thoughts and to accept it all. To accept that nothing’s wrong with me, that I am still new at this and that it’s a hard job. A job that I will get better at, in time, as I learn more. A job that brings more satisfaction that I can understand for now. And a job that pays in more smiles and giggles than could be fitted on a payslip.
So, looking back at the past month, it’s been trying and we’ve made great progress. It’s been trying, and I loved it.