Mummies, do you remember when you first got pregnant? The feelings of happiness and elation, so high up that you felt invincible? But also the slight, nagging feeling of fear? I felt that. I was happy beyond words, however a small part of me was terrified. I was scared of this huge step which would see us leap into the unknown, and somehow we had to not only survive, but do a brilliant job at it as well.
For however planned and wanted a baby is, no mother and father can truly know and fully comprehend the changes parenthood brings with it.
Having said that though, the most amazing thing of all is the immediate change the moment of birth brings to the neo-parents. An invisible switch is turned on, and without knowing it you are in full parent-mode. One morning you may be worrying about the hideous roots which need to be taken of immediately after the baby arrives, and by that evening you could be a mother who prefers to stare for hours at the new sleeping baby rather than catch some much needed sleep. And of course weeks could go by before you tend to the now-terrifying state of your hair. Having a shower at that point is a luxury as is.
A couple of months down the line with a second baby, I ask myself, “How did we get through some moments?” There have been a couple of overwhelming times, episodes which have left us drained and emotional. I have had both children sick and have had to take care of them whilst battling a fever myself, we had Cesca playing up in the first few weeks after Bettina arrived, and many other episodes which may not seem much to an outsider, but having passed I do ask myself, “How did we get through them?”
And now I’m enjoying my last few days with Bettina at home. I very very soon start work again, and as many of you mothers know, it’s a heart-breaking decision. I am highly strung at the moment, I feel as if I’m cheating this little sweetheart, especially considering I stayed at home with her sister for many more months than with her. She gives me these wide-faced gummy smiles which melt and break my heart at the same time.
Mothers do not have it easy.
So how do I do it? As much as I loved my two years alone with Cesca, I was never cut out to be a stay-at-home mum. I need to wake up in the morning, dress decently and head out to work, meet my work colleagues, challenge my brain with problems other than how to juggle a baby and going out to shop on a rainy day. I need the drive, I need the change and I need to feel useful outside home.
At the moment, I hate myself for it. I want to be satisfied with staying at home, being a housewife and occupying myself with planning dinner menus for the week. But I am not. That was never me.
So somehow I have to learn the routing of being a working mother of two. I have lots to learn still.
Most of all I have to learn how to leave a newborn to go to work.
But it’s not impossible. I know hundreds of working mummies with young ones who give me strength and courage. I know it’s not an easy ride, but it’s one I chose and one I will live by.
So my apologies little Bettina. I won’t be with you for all your feeds, for your messy food times, and your stinky nappy changes. I will miss our time together, laying next to you on bed, cooing and giggling together, practicing tummy-time, watching you discover your hands and fingers and realizing you can now grab and hold things. I will miss those little moments together.
But know that I’m doing this for all of us. A content mummy is a happy household. And although I will miss you like crazy, and I will feel as guilty as ever for not being with you 24-7, it is the right thing to do. I will feel more fulfilled and the time we have together will be a hundred times more precious.
How do we do what we do? We do what needs to be done. We believe in what we do, we look ahead, we move forward one step at a time and we never, ever give up.
That’s motherhood for you.