Before I had my first child, I doubted that I would ever have children due to having Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS). I experienced terrible periods, often every two weeks, and I bled a lot.
Doctors told me it would be hard for me to conceive naturally. So you can imagine my surprise when suddenly at age 33, I found myself pregnant to a man I had only just started dating (and we were using contraception).
Though the circumstances were not ideal, I was totally in love with this little being growing inside of me.
I had a 36-hour home labour with a doula and a midwife that turned into a hospital birth requiring a caesarean.
When I saw my daughter for the first time, my eyes filled with tears. How on earth had we created this perfect little human being?
I ended my relationship with my daughter's father just three weeks later. My infant daughter and I moved into our own little place and I enjoyed falling in love with this little being every single day.
I found caring for a baby easy. I co-slept and carried my daughter in a sling. We were so close all the time. And I was a relaxed new mum, despite the personal challenges I faced with my daughter’s father.
I always knew I would love my child more than anyone or anything in the world, but what surprised me was how much this beautiful girl loved me. For much of my childhood, I had felt unloved and unlovable. Having the love of this child was very healing for me.
Time moved inevitably forward. My child continued to grow and explore the world, first on her belly, then her hands and knees, and finally her feet. Mischief followed! Books were torn from the bookshelf. Cupboards emptied. Food was smeared all over her and me. But it was fun.
When my daughter was two, she started to express her strong-willed nature. She would argue about what to wear, what to do, what to eat. The battles were endless. And it was exhausting. And ten years on, it continues to be exhausting. I say up, she says down. I say light, she says dark.
I recently experienced an incredibly challenging and sad time as a parent. I am not able to share with you the details as I want to protect my child’s privacy, but suffice to say, these past few months have been hell. So much so, that for the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure I could survive what I was going through (I wasn’t suicidal, but I didn’t know how I was going to keep going).
I have never felt so much despair and hopelessness. I sought help for my child. I sought support for myself. But it has been so hard, I’ll be honest, it has nearly broken me. Things are still challenging right now. The future is uncertain. I can only hope that love, along with professional help, will get us through this.
Throughout my parenting journey, I have envied mothers who seem to find parenting so easy and fulfilling. I have one friend who finds parenting joyful and satisfying even though she has five children and works. I look at her and I feel sad that I don’t find parenting as joyful.
I love my children, but I don’t find it easy, enjoyable, or satisfying, much of the time. It’s scary to share this with you. I feel tears in my eyes and a tightness in my chest. Will you judge me? Will you think something is wrong with me? Or, do you sometimes feel this way too?
If you are struggling as a parent, please know that you are not alone. So many of us see ideal examples of motherhood that makes us feel less than. I am not a perfect stepford mother. I am terrible at baking. I don’t sew costumes. I’m not on the school committee.
I make plenty of mistakes. But I am doing the very best I can. Sometimes my best is crap. And sometimes, I do really well. I am human, I am a mother, I am a woman, and I am perfectly imperfect.
Some of My Motherhood Photos
Struggling as a mother?
Journalling can help...
I created this journal for reflecting on your motherhood journey. It can help you be real about your experiences. It focuses on the joys while acknowledging the challenges.
Research shows that journaling is a powerful tool for transformation. My wish is that it might help you appreciate yourself more and make the journey easier!
This is a downloadable PDF that you can print and fill in.