Once again, I’m behind and, once again, I’m playing catch-up with my blog. Continue reading
Yesterday, I successfully navigated my second Mother’s Day. My own mother is lovely and R, despite not even noticing the occasion until a morning radio segment brought it to his attention, came through in the end and picked up some flowers and chocolates for me on Mr K’s behalf.
I feel like I’m reading a lot more analysis of the whole Mother’s Day phenomenon this year, in defense of it and criticizing it. I suppose that’s unsurprising, given society tells us that mothering is the bestest, most important job in the whole world while simultaneously devaluing it at every turn. I wonder the whole working/stay at home thing is such a mindfuck.
A lot of it has been frustrating to read, on both sides. I wish we could all just accept that parenthood is a big deal but not the only, all-defining deal. That mothers are people, no more and my God, no less. That working rights and sensible hours would be good for everyone, parents or not. That Mother’s Day is hard for some people and the reasons for that might vary greatly and be intensely private. That most of us know that it’s an overcommercialised load of bullshit, deviating far from its humble origins and that an epilator or – I’m looking at you, department stores of Japan – an apron are not the greatest gift ideas.
But I’ve had only a handful of good nights of sleep in the last two years, wiped up a lot of body fluids and juggled a whole brunch of things that become a lot harder when you constantly have to work out what to do with a very small, dependent person in the mix. I just want to enjoy my cheap flowers and nice chocolates.
I think that I am maybe possibly settling into this life as a mother now. Give me one afternoon where Mr. K cries and cries and cries and or, God help me, another “growth spurt” and my firm belief in my own incompetence will reassert itself completely, but when I am outside those hellish moments, I can start to think I’m getting my head around all of this.
The last month and a bit has felt longer than I could have imagined yet if I get thinking about October 29th, it still feels like something that only just happened.
I read an article a week before Mr. K was born about the things that one could do for new mothers that would actually help, the things she actually needs, and yes, it’s true. I’m so grateful to the people who have helped me so far and who continue to help me, who show their support in all these little ways and help offload some of the pressure I tend to heap on myself.
Becoming a mother is shocking. I have no doubt, especially after observing R, that becoming a father is as well, but actually birthing a baby, becoming its primary caregiver and having it gnaw at your breasts more times a day than you really want to count and transitioning from the haze of pregnancy to not-quite-back-to-normal and forever a bit sleep-deprived is tough.
There are quite a few stories I could tell about all of this, things I need to get out of my system, but grabbing the time to sit down and do so is still hard. All of this is hard.
I’ve read more articles than I can count, trying to work out what the line between maternity blues and postnatal depression is so I can try to fix myself accordingly because yes, I’ve struggled. I feel like I may have crawled through the worst of my own emotional issues, but I’m still not sure. I read this by Yumi Stynes nearly a month after Mr. K was born, and even if I haven’t gotten to the point where I need anti-depressents myself, it still felt strangely validating to just know that I wasn’t the only person not feeling okay and struggling to admit it. Once I did, though, and acknowledged that there were good reasons for not being fine, that it was a difficult pregnancy, that R working six days a week was not ideal, that I was 8000 kilometres from home and that was tough in itself and perhaps I needed to just go a little easier on myself… that was when things started to improve.
I’m getting there, anyway. Finding new little things to do, taking time to myself and not feeling bad about it, and having largely physically recovered from the birth now… all of this helps. I may even start to improve the blog post rate soon?!