Overblown expectations was the exact combination of words used on Oprah's show yesterday to describe how many mothers feel, going into motherhood. Bunches of mothers shared their stories about experiencing postpartum depression, not showering for days, not cleaning their kids for days, forgettting to feed their children and the list was amazing and endless. Some shared the simple fact that "motherhood," was not quite what they thought it would be like. It took me back to 10 years ago, about this time, when I was home on maternity leave, and my son was about 6 weeks old. I remember thinking, "wow, this is a little insane."
I know we bonded because I felt like he had a radar on me and he knew my every move before I would make it. He would awake easily and cry if I was out of his sight. He was a greedy little cherub and I had to nurse him about every 2 hours. With all that nursing, he was ballooning into a true cherub which is why he inherited that nickname from me. I remember feeling at that time, that I wanted to be the PERFECT mother in every way possible. After watching and listening to Oprah's show yesterday where all these mothers shared their "horror tales" of motherhood, it came back to me that I was watching Oprah back in 1999 during my maternity leave.
I remember Heather Locklear was a guest on her show and she was talking about having just become a mother herself. Consider that I was not able to tune into anything on TV with my undivided attention because if Miles did doze off for a nap, I would dash and try to take advantage of the moment by grabbing something eat, showering, reading or just taking a nap myself. That day, that show I will never forget because I distinctly remember that Heather was speaking DIRECTLY (life happening on purpose) to ME when she said, "my friends who had children before me truly deceived me because they did not tell me the whole truth about becoming a parent. I have come to learn that once you become a parent, your life is no longer your own. Your priorities are suddenly switched and it's no longer about you."
Well, I screamed out to the TV when I heard that yelling, "Yes!!!! It happened to me too Heather!!!! This is insane!!!" And then Miles woke up again, crying, "feed me! feed me!!" Well... in cry talk!! You know what I mean!
The truth of it all is that I don't have a great many crazy horror tales to tell about early motherhood. The first 3 months while I was home on maternity leave was truly a learning experience. Knowing I had to return to work shortly, I embraced Miles and accepted all that he was offering me (spit-ups, poopy diapers, sore ta-tas etc.). I will say that I quickly learned that though I made a choice to bring a child into the world and thus that meant to care for him to the best of my ability, I also realized that I actually MUST care for myself just as well to enable me to be a good mother to him.